What do Sikhs carry the Kirpan?

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Kirpan is a ceremonial symbol worn by Sikhs who belong to the Punjab state in India. This tradition was started a long time ago to defend themselves against untruth. Kirpan is worn by the Sikhs who are initiated also known as Amrithdari, a little like being baptized. Once they go through this ceremony they have to carry one of the 5 things required, according to the tenth guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobindh Singh. The 5 things being, kesh(hair),Kanga(comb),Kara(iorn bracelet),Kachera(a certain style of cotton underwear), Kirpan(a curved sword). In the modern world as people travel more often to different countries, Kirpan is a harder things to carry on oneself as it is considered as carrying a weapon and could be charged guilty. Many people around the world are not aware of the religious significance of Kirpan. Though most of them do not wear a Kirpan to schools abroad excepting schools in regions of Canada, it is constitutionally  allowed in India. 

 

What is a Kirpan?

A kirpan refers to a small sword that is worn in a sheath on a belt which is to be worn by Sikhs who are intitiated in a special ceremony are supposed to always carry it on them. The word kirpan comes from two words "mercy" and "bless". The Kirpan should be used only for defence. Mostly the Kirpan that the sikhs  is not considered a weapon, or sword or a dagger. It is all about faith. Sikhs consider the kirpan as a benevolent gift that was given by their Sikh Guru. According to sikh religion, you cannot separate kirpan from your body as it is considered to be an integral part of their religion, Sikhism. It is an object that will help an individual to serve, protect and respect the human beings and to have self respect.

 

When did the Kirpan Originate?

The carrying  of Kirpan started from 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru of Sikhs,  said that every Khalsa Sikh must have the five Ks( kes: uncut hair, kanga: a wooden comb worn in the hair, kara: a metal bangle or bracelet worn on the wrist, kachhera: loose, long underwear, about knee-length, and kirpan) to symbolise their commitment to the  sikh faith. It was  a time of Mughals and conversion to Islam in South Asia was pretty rampant. The Sikh community as any other community at this point of time in India were being forced by the then ruler Aurangzeb to be converted to Islam or be killed. Sikhs until then being a peaceful non-violent community resisted this. Their Sikh guru Arjun Singh became the first Sikh Martyr. After the death of his father, his son Hargobind Singh dressed as a warrior and thus started the new reign of protecting their faith against persecution by the Islam to be converted and the Sikh community took an oath to defend their religion. Thus was born the 5 kakars with Kirpan being one of them which was put into effect finally by Guru Gobindh Singh who was the tenth guru. 

 

What does the Kirpan Represent?

Kirpan shows the force of God, the force of Good that shall ever strive to protect truth and weak and the destroyer of evil and tyrant. Kirpan has saved almost millions of lives in last 350 years. Kirpan is mixture of two words : Kirpa ( mercy ) + aan ( brought forward ) . So kirpan is "mercy of God brought forward in form of a sword". Kirpan will help all people who have suffered, poor and helpless. It shows the force of God against the evil. Guru Gobind Singh compared Kirpan to the goddess Chandi who is a violent form of Durga and is believed to be destroyer of all evil.

 

Should the kirpan be banned?

Kirpan is already banned in some place in Canada after a school incident  where one Sikh student threatened another. The Quebec National Assembly has banned completely the kirpan, if any Sihks wearing in or around the kirpan in Quebec city, they will be punished. According to Canada, though The kirpan is a religious symbol, it is made up of metal, which can be sharpened anytime. If this thing is simply symbolic, why not have it made of soft plastic? Can't sharpen that. But Kirpans are allowed in the federal chamber and at least one Liberal MP wears one on a daily basis. The issue took on a more personal twist in Ottawa when Liberal MP Navdeep Bains emerged to say he wears a kirpan and that it had never caused any problems with colleagues. He expressed sadness that the Bloc was trying to make kirpans an issue. With the laws changing in many countries after the terrorist attack on countries, it is a harder thing to carry around without facing charges and delays. 

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