Sikhs and the City
There are enough Sikhs in Britain to fill the Royal
Albert Hall one hundred times over.
Many wear brightly coloured clothes, play loud sacred
music and never cut their hair, yet little is known about their teachings
Narrated by Goodness Gracious Me star Kulvinder
Ghir, Sikhs and the City offers a rare and entertaining day-in-the-life
snapshot of one of Britain's biggest, but least understood, faith communities
as they celebrate the 400th anniversary of their holy book, the Guru
Striking a balance between a Sikh identity and a British
one is an issue that affects scores of Sikhs in western society every
Sikhs have a strong moral code and an identity which
is exhibited through what are known as the five K's - long hair, a comb,
a sword, the wearing of a bangle and a specially-tailored undergarment.
For some this strong identity is at the heart of their
Sikhism while others take a more relaxed approach, believing it is what
is on the inside that counts.
PC Harvinder Singh Rai, an officer with West Midlands
Police, thinks he has got the balance just right: "I am fiercely loyal
as an officer to West Midlands Police but I am equally at home with
my faith. They are in perfect harmony."
The programme follows PC Rai on his beat as he deals
with troublesome schoolchildren and as he gives his fellow officer a
taste of the Sikh faith at a local temple.
Radio journalist Sonia Deol's version
of Sikhism is far less strict than her mother's. She cuts her hair and
wears modern clothes but for her being a good Sikh is all about the
values she holds within.
This is also true for Sikh scholar Jeevan Singh Deol,
who says his identity is western but his religion is Sikhism.
In contrast Sikh comedian, Sody Singh Kahlon, believes
abandoning the Sikh identity is going against the teachings of the faith
For others being a Sikh in modern society doesn't mean
abandoning one for the other.
As a 93-year-old marathon runner, Fauja Singh is a traditional
Sikh. But he is also a 'poster boy' for the latest Adidas campaign.
The twin artists Amrit and Rabindra Singh reflect in
their work the dual cultural heritage that many British Sikhs have grown
The programme also explores the saint-soldier tradition
which is at the heart of the faith, the reason why Sikhs carry short
swords and why all Sikh men are given the name 'Singh' - meaning lion.
Having started the day at 5.00am with prayers, the programme
closes as the Guru Granth Sahib - which is treated as though it were
a living guru - is placed tenderly back into its four poster bed for
Sikhs and the City - BBC ONE, Thursday 2 September at
11.30pm (to be confirmed)