Brown Skinned and British – #Manchester

I’m brown skinned and British
That’s what I am
Don’t label me by colour
Just see me, if you can
Don’t question my religion
Beliefs don’t mean a thing
Cos in the grander scheme of life
I’m jus’ a human being
So I may pray quite differently
And eat other types of food
But to label me a terrorist
You know that’s kinda rude
Get to know me, talk to me
And then I guess you’ll see
That there ain’t no difference
Between you an’ me
We need to live in harmony
And celebrate our quirks
Jus’ please don’t judge me
By the deeds of other jerks

Ritu 2015

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I’m lucky I haven’t experienced racism because of the acts of terrorism around the world, but I know of many innocent people who have been labelled, who have suffered because of their colour, and beliefs… Beliefs that don’t condone the acts of those who use the name of God to destroy lives.

These are just my words in solidarity with the majority of brown skinned British, who are just as horrified as their pink-skinned countrymen.

After the attack on Monday night in Manchester, we have heard of many acts of ‘revenge’ on innocent muslims who are just as horrified by the goings on of that night. But they are just like all the other Brits out there…

DON’T JUDGE FIRST….TAKE TIME TO LEARN A LITTLE… THEN MAKE YOUR JUDGEMENTS.

Peace out Peeps 😊

A poem from my book, Poetic RITUals, that is extremely apt this week… (available myBook.to/PoeticRITUals)

Author Zone, Ritu Bhathal, Poetic Rituals, Writer

Lantern #writephoto

Sue’s #writephoto prompt this week.

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In the darkness, all seemed hopeless. What was I supposed to do?

I’d done what I had seen done in countless films, gone to the confessional in the church.

I’m not a church-goer. I don’t know whether it would help me, but they always seem so relieved in the movies, like a weight lifted off their shoulders, then something miraculous usually happens and all is right again.

But nothing did happen initially. I came out, after pouring it all out to whoever was behind that curtain, still feeling full of guilt.

Sitting in a pew, I looked up at the cross ahead of me.

The night was drawing in fast, the setting sun casting long shadows across the whole of the church.

I closed my eyes. I wanted to cry. Maybe I just needed to shut my eyes forever.

That’s one way the guilt would go.

I opened my eyes again.

The whole church was shrouded in darkness.

How long had my eyes been shut?

Suddenly, a light shone in from outside.

Looking up, I saw a lantern illuminating the church with a dull glow.

Then I looked back at the cross.

I don’t know why but something lifted from my shoulders.

Maybe things actually would be ok…

 

writephoto

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 76

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“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Reinholt Niebuhr

Warning, it ended up being a long post!

This week I was saddened by an event that happened at my childhood temple.

Some of you who are FB friends may have already read a bit about this, but on Friday, my parents were out and about. They were on the phone to me as they were travelling to the temple to pay their respects. This is a temple that holds many memories for our family. We have been going for over 30 years. Obviously, since I got married, I don’t go as often, but my parents do. In fact, my Pops goes 3-4 times a week.

On this particular evening, when they got there, a ‘security person’ was in place. Nowadays they need security to turn away cars, as the carpark gets closed in the evenings, due to people parking there for reasons not related to the Gurdwara.

My parents were asked, “Are you part of the Jatha?” [Jatha is like a group/army/flock of like-minded Sikhs who go to the temple, and in this case, I believe are fully baptised, or amritdhari]

My parents are not fully baptised, but this doesn’t mean they are not religious.

My Pops said that he has been coming there for many years. All they wanted to do was to pay their respects, then leave. The man continued in the same vein, that if you are not part of the Jatha, you are not allowed in after 8.45pm.

I have never heard this ‘rule’ before, and neither had my parents.

“What do you need to be to be part of the Jatha?” My Pops asked. ” I have never filled in a form, but I believe.”

He even told the man to go ask someone inside… My Pops is known there to all the regulars.

My mum was getting really frustrated. She urged Pops to just leave.

(I was listening to all of this as they hadn’t ended the call.)

A woman came out, and recognising my Pops, said to him, to go in and pay his respects, no one can stop him. Her son was also getting annoyed at the man preventing entry into the Gurdwara.

In the end, Pops asked the man, “Just tell me, will you allow me to come in?”

He repeated, ” Are you part of the Jatha?”

“No,” Pops said, “I asked, yes or no, will you let me in?”

“I say no.”

And that was that. They calmly turned away, and went home.

I was fuming! Our family are known to the temple. The gentleman who is associated as the head of the Jatha is a family friend, and has been lauded publicly by the Queen, and the Pope, and various other associations, for his work with keeping Religious peace. Behaviour like this would damage not only the Gurdwara’s reputation, but his too.

I know this is not his saying or doing.  And rather than playing the “Who I know” card, there should have never been a refusal of entry to anyone to a Gurdwara. It is a place of worship where everyone is welcome. This is the reason why a Gurdwara is meant to have entrances in all four walls, North, South, East and West, to welcome all.

Surely behaviour like this, allowing only amritdhari folk (which I assume is the main criteria for being a member of the Jatha) into the temple at certain times, is totally against the rhetoric, and beliefs of our Gurus?

My mum phoned someone she knew, (part of the Jatha) who was horrified. She phoned Babaji’s, (the main man) wife, who didn’t know anything about this ‘rule’.

My cousin, who is also part of the Jatha called my Pops, to get more details. There was an apology from the gurdwara, and the guy who was at the door was spoken to.

I, of course, popped a post on FB. My Pops was initially upset at me. He didn’t want the Gurdwara to be put to shame. But you know, this wasn’t about the temple, it was about the people who think they can make their own rules. Are they doing some sort of Sikhi cleansing, and only allowing baptised Sikhs in? I was never aware that Gurdwaras had guest lists?

My Pops was initially upset at me. He didn’t want the Gurdwara to be put to shame. But you know, this wasn’t about the temple, it was about the people who think they can make their own rules. Are they doing some sort of Sikhi cleansing, and only allowing baptised Sikhs in? I was never aware that Gurdwaras had guest lists?

Then Pops thought, maybe some good would come of this. We are taught to believe that our Gurus could come, in any form, to our doorstep, be it the temple or home. You should treat all visitors the same. Who knows if Guruji chose a specific form to come to visit your home in? If you treat people the same, there is no worry, but if you differentiate, you are creating the very problem that the Gurus tried to erase, by casting aside the caste system, and creating equality between genders too.

We are taught to believe that our Gurus could come, in any form, to our doorstep, be it the temple or home. You should treat all visitors the same. Who knows if Guruji chose a specific form to come to visit your home in? If you treat people the same, there is no worry, but if you differentiate, you are creating the very problem that the Gurus tried to erase, by casting aside the caste system, and creating equality between genders too.

The Gurdwara management are now holding a meeting on Monday, tomorrow, to discuss this very issue now, on the back of this incident. My Pops has been asked to submit a written report. Apparently, there have been other complaints of a similar nature. If the seniors of the Gurdwara hadn’t enforced this rule, then they need to work out who thought this was a good thing to do, and then nip it in the bud.

I just hope it all gets cleared up. I hate to think that the place I got married in, where I spent a lot of my childhood, will have its memories for me tarnished by an incident like this…

Now for all or you, have a blessed Sunday Peeps! May all your dreams come true!

 

My interactive peeps!

Peeps are reading in…

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