Wednesday December 19, 2018

Sikhism in Iran – a part of cultural diaspora

Iran was a secure country so, they started to do business in Iran.

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Sikhism, Image source: Wikimedia commons
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Iran is a predominantly a Muslim populated country. The majority of the population that lives here are Muslims. In fact, Islam is the official religion of Islam. But there’s a lot more that Iran has to offer in terms of its cultural diversity.

Watch this video on Sikhism in Iran:

  • Besides Islam, there are several other minority religious groups living in Iran such as Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrians, Hindus etc.
  • Sikhs in Iran are sort of a closed community. The first Sikhs came to Iran from Punjab before 1947 via Zahedan border. Iran and India were neighbours and Pakistan was not yet established. Iran was a secure country so, they started to do business in Iran.
  • Sikhs are monotheists. They worship only one God (almighty). They believe that God brought them to this world to learn and follow his orders and also to build our lives according to his teachings.

Related articleIndia seeks enhanced economic ties with Iran

  • Sikhs men wear Turbans and women wear Indian traditional dresses. Everyone cover their head inside Gurudwaras as a sign of respect. There are even schools attached to the temples which are opened to non-Sikh students. Occasionally Langars (community kitchen) are organised in which pure vegetarian food are served.
  • There have been rumours that Sikhs were inspired by Iranian flags. Some speculate that the new Iran’s flag looks a lot like Sikh symbol.
  • Initially, nearly 5000 Sikhs were settled in Iran but with the Islamic revolution population of Sikhs declined significantly. Presently in Tehran (Iran’s national capital), nearly 60-100 families live.
Sikh community, Wikimedia commons
Sikh community, Wikimedia commons
  • Sikhs have been in Iran for more than 100 years. Apart from some occasional repressions, there hasn’t been any major violence in Iran against Indians (especially Hindus). Iranians love the Sikh community and same goes the other way round. Sikhs living there love Iran. They consider Iran as their homeland. Pleased with the government they feel safe and happy there.

Prepared by Pritam

Pritam is  a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata. Twitter @pritam_gogreen

 

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    So good to hear about how pleased the Sikhs are with Iran. Really happy to know that people are understanding the shift caused by industrialization

Next Story

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran Hold Meeting To Counter Trafficking of Opiate

The United States has spent more than $8 billion in the past 17 years to assist Afghanistan in eradication efforts.

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Opium
An Afghan man works on a poppy field in Jalalabad province. VOA

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran have pledged to increase cooperation and information-sharing for effectively combating the trafficking of Afghan opiates.

War-shattered Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium, though the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime noted in its latest survey the opium cultivation decreased by 20 percent in 2018 due to a severe drought and reduced prices.

The illegal opiates are largely smuggled to international markets through Pakistan and Iran.

Need for more initiatives 

Afghan, Pakistan and Iranian counternarcotics officials concluded their two-day UNODC-facilitated interaction Wednesday in Islamabad, where delegates underscored the need for more efforts against the massive flow of illicit drugs.

Participants at the “Triangular Initiative” meeting called for timely sharing of information and conducting simultaneously interdiction operations along their shared largely porous borders.

oPIUM CULTIVATION
In this April 11, 2016, photo, farmers harvest raw opium at a poppy field in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan. VOA

The forum was established in 2007 with a mission to promote regional cooperation to reduce the poppy cultivation, trafficking, and consumption of drugs in the region and beyond.

Officials acknowledged that despite Afghanistan’s political tensions with Pakistan and Iran anti-drugs cooperation largely continues.

Renewed attitude 

Cesar Guedes, UNODC representative in Pakistan, noted the three countries attended the Islamabad meeting with “a revived attitude and role”, raising prospects for more effective counternarcotics efforts in 2019.

“More needs to be done because the level of [Afghan opium] production has also increased. They need really to coordinate closer in their joint efforts,” he told VOA

Guedes also called for increased international assistance, saying Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran alone cannot curb the menace of drugs.

opium
FILE – Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, May 10, 2013. VOA

“This has to be done in the framework of shared responsibility. All the countries, producers, consumers and transit need to join the effort,” he said.

Despite many challenges facing the government, the head of the Afghan delegation said authorities have taken significant steps to eradicate drug trafficking.

US assistance 
Director General for Policy Planing at the Afghan Ministry of Narcotics, Mohammad Osman Frotan, said 89 percent of poppy cultivation this year has taken place in the Afghan provinces most hit by insurgent activities. He said counternarcotics authorities during 2018 have seized more than 433 tons of different types of drugs, and arrested and prosecuted almost 4,000 suspects.

Also Read: Pakistan In U.S. Blacklist For Religious Freedom Violations

The United States has spent more than $8 billion in the past 17 years to assist Afghanistan in eradication efforts. But the effort has failed to stop opium production, which increased to record highs and stood at an estimated 9,000 tons in 2017. Critics blamed insecurity, rampant corruption and patronage by influential Afghans for the unprecedented growth. (VOA)