Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Hinduism and Sikhism in the British Society

September 7th, 2009 · 2 Comments

What I have gathered from visiting both the Hindu temple and the Sikh gudwara is that Sikhism is all about the equality of people from all classes, races, genders, and backgrounds, while Hinduism is founded on the idea of the jati, or caste system. Also, in the practice of the Sikh faith there are very little rituals and very few gaudy symbols, while Hindus use numerous rituals and symbols in their worshiping practices.

In most ways it is more difficult for Sikhs to adjust into British culture than it is for Hindus. With their five Ks, or the five physical symbols that Sikhs have to symbolize their faith, the Sikhs stand out a lot more than the Hindus. Since 9/11 and 7/7 there has been a lot of hostility toward South Asian individuals who wear turbans and have long beards, since then ignorant individuals have tormented Sikhs because they associate them with terrorist activities. Also, some work places do not permit their employees to have unshaven faces and uncut hair. Living in England also forces the Sikhs into a unequal class society that is not compatible with the Sikh’s belief in equality.

Hindus have an easier time adjusting to the British culture because they do not have any spacific visual keys to thier religion that could create a social backlash or hostility. They also have a strong understanding of the British class devisions because of their understanding of their own caste system. However, the fact that Hinduism is a polythisit religion might create some agressive actions from the primarily Christian British society.

Tags: Rebecca