The Sikhi community is outraged by what they consider blatant ignorance on part of Judge Sajid Khan when it came down to his verdict on a Gatka Performance done on the Stage of India’s Got Talent. Judge Sajid was outraged by the idea of 5 year old playing gatka and the fact Sikh community starts weapon’s training at such a young age. So needless, to say the outrage was mutual on both sides. Both sides were so outraged by what went down on stage on July 31st; that they refused to see the bigger picture. Now the SGPC is involved asking for an apology and the removal of Judge Sajid. As everyone is gearing up for a fight, we need to stop take a deep breath and relook at what happened.
Bir Khalsa Group from Tarn Taran left the audience confused they didn’t know whether to cheer or to just stare in disbelief. The performance involving youth young as 5 to about 30 or so was splendid, they articulately combined the different age groups to show a complete picture of what is Gatka. They showed the audience beautiful sword play that should be known by even the youngest members of the Khalsa force. The sheer strength of Khalsa was shown by the breakage of cylinder blocks or piece of woods (not very clear in the video) with hand and with the head. The bravery was displayed by eating of fire by the oldest member of the group. The group finished with a beautiful display of their fighting skills of everyone in the large group fighting in such a coordinated fashion that even with so many people on stage and so many weapons going, no one was hurt and no one missed a beat. Both the female judges (Sonali and Kiran) were left speechless and Judge Sajid in disgust (he had pressed the reject button half way through the performance).
Judge Sajid had pressed the reject button when the five year old Khalsa started his sword play with another member of the group. Judge Sajid didn’t like the idea of a five year old playing with swords; it just did not sit well with him. Earlier in the episode he had shown his displeasure of watching a young girl dance and give expressions he didn’t feel were age appropriate. The fact he earlier reprimanded that young girl shows that his displeasure was not based on the fact he has anything against Sikhis. Judge Sajid just seems to have a firm believe that kids should act their age and there is nothing wrong with that. But having a firm believe does not given someone an excuse to be ignorant and not listen to an explanation or try to understand. Judge Sonali does not have much knowledge about Sikhs or Punjabi’s and she stayed respectfully quiet as Judge Kiran tried to explain to Judge Sajid what Gatka is all about. Judge Kiran tried her level best to explain that Punjab is going through a drug crisis and early involvement in Gatka and similar groups keep kids out of trouble. Also that it is part of the Sikh religion and it is taught as self-defense. With her limited knowledge on Gatka and its background Judge Kiran tried her hardest to explain things to Judge Sajid and Judge Sonali (both of whom had raised the topic about involvement of kids). Judge Sonali understood and voted in favor of the Gatka group and Judge Sajid didn’t and he voted against it. The difference between the two Judges? Judge Sajid refused to listen and he should apologizes for not having knowledge of different things he was asked to judge and then refusing to listen when they were explained to him.
Judge Sajid wasn’t in the mood to listen and it felt that Bir Khalsa Group was not in the mood to explain. There was much lacking in the explanation given to Judge Sajid by the Bir Khalsa Group. They needed to explain to Judge Sajid that we start teaching our kids Gatka at a young age because our history tells us of the youngest sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji were buried alive in a wall for being Sikhs. That we have a history of Sikhs, young and old being prosecuted for being Sikhs. That 25 years ago in 1984 the Indian Government got thousands of Sikhs, young and old, killed just for being Sikhs and to date the people behind it have not been punished. We are Sikhs, the saint-soldiers, and we protect ourselves and the oppressed. Furthermore, he should have explained that at a young age our children are mostly trained to defend themselves and that they are taught never to pick a fight. Sikhs are trained to fight at last resort; after all other means of fixing a wrong have failed. That too show Gatka on TV is a reminder that it is important to have the ability to fight but it is even more important not to abuse it. That you’ll never see a Sikh trained in Gatka involved in a fight without a cause. Judge Sajid needed to be explained Gatka doesn’t start a fight, it ends it but the group was unable to do it.
The Group failed Judge Sajid and Judge Sonali that day. Judge Sonali made a comment about the members of the group looking scary and the reply made was ‘we are scary’. That was a big mistake on the part of Singh Veer Gatka Master, he should have explained her that they should only look scary to people that do wrong deeds and that to the world this is a look that is supposed to mean, we are going to stand up for what’s right. Sikhs are supposed to be fearless warriors, protectors of the weak, not someone that anyone that hasn’t done a bad deed should be scared off. Singh Veer Gatka Master said that our children our born into a world of swords, that gives the wrong message that we condone violence. He should have explained that we are born into this world where we raised as saint-soldiers. Our children are taught how to spend hours in mediation and still be able to raise a sword when the time comes. Singh Veer Gatka Master and other members of the group could have done so much more to introduce the world to Gatka.
The time for Singh Veer Gatka Master to explain things better has passed but the time for Sikh community to show their understanding has not. The Sikh community should ask for an apology from Sajid for his unwillingness to listen and understand. But we should not discredit him as a judge because he was not unfair on how he judges all contestants equally. Please as you look at the video and decide where you stand on the issue remember the actions of people on both sides. Remember the sweet gesture of Gatka group of giving the judges all gifts even after the disagreement. And don’t forget the smile on Judge Sajid’s face as the young Khalsa gave him the gift and his awe at the cuteness of the young Khalsa. Let us work to understand both sides and not create more misunderstandings.
This incident was a reminder to all Sikhs that we need to be well versed in use of weapons and our words. Sometimes our words can do the trick that our fighting skills can’t. Let us make this a better world and not fill it with hard feelings.