Thursday, April 27, 2006

Should Sikhs be allowed to carry kirpans thru airport security?

This is another one of those questions that was flowing thru my mind during commute this morning. I am not sure what the current TSA (Transportation Security Administration) policy is regarding this, but my thinking on this is that TSA should allow Sikhs to carry kirpans thru airport security. I don't wear a kirpan myself yet, but I think there are actually several good reasons for doing this and the benefits outweigh the restrictions. Traditionally, Sikhs are known all over the world and have historically held high values for defending themselves and other against terror, dying to defend their and other people’s faith and peace, asserting their will and right to live peacefully among various non-Sikh societies. These values of Sikhs for policing, securing and defending for peace, justice, freedom and security of others along with themselves goes along well with this war on terrorism. I would think Sikhs with kirpans would be a nice addition to a U.S. Marshall on an airplane who also shares the same values in serving and defending public. A Sikh with a kirpan would be like having an extra policeman or a U.S. Marshal at a site that needs securing or defending. Only if TSA could understand this? comes to think of it, I may actually write to the TSA chief regarding this, and may be it will click with them that it is not a bad idea after all. It would be a win win situation for both TSA and Sikhs. What is your take on this?

4 Comments:

Blogger Shinda said...

Although the idea is a good one and I by no means mean to discourage you from writing (which I still think you should do), but we need to look at this from a realistic perspective:

1) Allowing Sikhs to carry Kirpans, opens up holes such as terrorists posing in Sikhi Banaa. You would then need a system that would discriminate against who is a Sikh vs who isn't. Almost like the Nihang liscence in India.

2) How many Sikhs who weild Kirpaans actually know how to use them? Weilding a weapon that you yourself can not use is basically giving your oppenent a weapon with which they can kill you.

3)The quality of most Kirpaans. Most kirpaans that I see sikhs these days wearing are very impractical when it comes to being used for defense, and are worn as mere symbols more then anything else, so for such Sikhs the idea of having to defend and use there kirpaan is pretty impractical.

10:21 AM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger Sikhi Seeker said...

I happen to agree with Shinda ji. Although I hadn't thought of pt. 1 yet, but pt. 2 and 3 have always haunted me, especially about providing others with an opportunity to hurt us and others. We are Sikhs, but not all of us are super-heroes, it's just not possible to be physically stronger than everyone, which creates an opportunity for others to maybe use it for the wrong deed.

...It's hard to decide on this issue. Because, I can understand its significance for those who wear Kirpan and what deal it shall be for them to be restricted on carrying their identity intact.

...an iffy topic.

6:25 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger Prabhu Singh said...

My kirpan is not allowed by my kara is. I wear two and they are both solid pieces of metal which can be used in defense and for striking if necessary. I don't really know how true it is to ever find a terrorist on a plane, but if I ever found one, I would certainly do nothing short of give my life fighting for righteousness. I would face four people with box cutters with my two karas. Facing guns on the other hand requires more than the willingness to charge the enemy.
Shinda Singh brings up 3 very valid points.

10:57 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Shinda Ji and Seek - you both have very valid points. Indeed it is a difficult issue since defending for peace, justice, freedom and defense themselves fall in a big grey areas and there are misconceptions among non-Sikhs and even some Sikhs regarding its use and purpose. I feel the purpose was to defend against the ruthless enemy of the times and nothing more. Since all peaceful means can fail and only go so far and if the idea is to develop and keep the most powerful weaponary of times to deter enemy, then why not even go nuclear or some other high weapon?

The thoughts of point one had occured to me several times as well. Even not just terrorists, but also governments or entities that would be bent on to harm Sikhs and Sikhi in some form or other or to minimize the effect or tarnish the image of Sikhs.
I think the other problem is that as Sikhs, sometimes our leaders or we in general are not consistent when it comes to defining Sikh values or identity. Even though I don't wear it now, but I don't think of Kirpan as ceremonial that some Sikhs seem to be defining it as such. Guru Gobind Singh Ji did not wear it for a ceremonial purpose. The latest one I heard was this court case somewhere in U.S. where judge declared that Kirpan is just like wearing a Chritian cross.

And yes! Seek Ji, I agree that Sikhs should not ever think of themselves as super-heroes or other imaginary Hollywood or Bollywood characters.

11:39 AM, April 28, 2006  

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