Saturday, January 26, 2008

India must protest French ban on Sikh turban with Sarkozy

India must strongly take up the ban on Sikhs wearing turban in French public schools during the visit of President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy.

It is true that France follows a different secular model. But the Sikh religious identity is also unique and for them turban is an essential part of their identity. Ironically the fact that we have a Sikh as Prime Minister, who may not be able to assert his religious identity because he is on a constitutional post.

The government and other top functionaries can make a strong case. But the Sikh community must not be made pay for it. If Manmohan Singh feels uncomfortable, his government and other parties--or a joint delegation, can present the case.

It's an emotional thing, which most of us understand. And, at least, the Sikh children who grow up in France, shouldn't get the feeling that their religion is not in sync with rules of the modern world. Sikhs have fought in France in the World Wars and the adherents of the religion are now more spread across the world.

If India takes up this issue, Sikhs in India will also feel proud of the decision. All of us irrespective of our caste and creed, understand the problem of French Sikhs.

If India can take exception to lot of things going on in other countries, we can definitely speak about this issue and make them listen. Of course, it will be there decision in the end.
Photos: First photo shows Sarkozy and Manmohan
The second photo of La Chapelette cemetery, Paronne, in France where the Sikh soldiers of First World War rest in peace)