Wednesday, 5 June 2013

A Singh In Space

When I trained as a Secondary School Religious Education Teacher at Manchester Polytechnic in 1981-'82, I visited two Synagogues and one Gurdwara (Sikh Temple). I was shown around the Gurdwara by Daljit Singh and his wife whose surname is not Singh (Lion) but Kaur (Princess).

More recently, I demonstrated against racism with a comrade who was a turbaned Sikh. He addressed a rally and spoke about Muslim-Sikh unity. I understand that there is now a Gurdwara as near as Preston. Sikhs are part of British society. My google search for "Sikh" images found pictures of Sikhs on British streets and one picture of a uniformed Sikh standing behind the Queen. In Leicester, we bought Indian food from a Sikh shop to bring back to Lancaster where our neighbours are Muslims, not Sikhs or Hindus.

It is good to know that there will be a Sikh community in the Terran Empire. When a Terran Naval spaceship is almost destroyed in battle with Merseians, Commander Ranjit Singh in Section Two assumes command - becomes acting captain - unless and until a superior officer turns out to be alive. Ranjit orders Ensign Flandry in Section Five to man a gun in case the enemy returns. Flandry replies, "'Aye, aye, sir.'" (Ensign Flandry, London, 1976, p. 203)

Later, the text confirms that acting Captain Ranjit Singh is bearded. Correct, uncut hair being one of the five Signs of Sikhism. That is all that we are told but it is enough to confirm that, like the Mahayana Buddhist Sangha and the Jerusalem Catholic Church, the Sikh Khalsa thrives under Emperor Georgios.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

Yes, I remember Commander Ranjit Singh from reading ENSIGN FLANDRY. Given the warlike traditions of the Sikhs, it's no surprise he entered the Imperial Navy in his youth.