On Wednesday 8th May, we had the pleasure of welcoming Cloud Singh to EMS. Cloud spent time working with Key Stage 3 RE classes across the day.
He began each session introducing himself: “I am Cloud Singh. I am a Sikh. I’m no-one important, I’m no-one special, I’m not a teacher. The only reason I am here is to tell you that I’m a Sikh and to tell you what that means to me and to tell you about my religion.”
After that, students were given an open forum to ask questions about him, his faith and his beliefs.
The session we popped into contained some very inquisitive Year 7 students who questioned him about everything from the food he eats, his dress, his turban into the finer details of his beliefs and religion. They also asked him about what is means to be a Sikh, how much he has to pray and the rules he has to follow (or lack of them)!
Students were amazed to learn that every Sikh are equal. There is no hierarchy. There is God, Guru and then people. Every Sikh, man or woman are equal in every way.
He told us there are approximately 21.5 million Sikhs in the world and they are all different, however, around 10% of Sikhs have gone through an initiation process and make vows between themselves and God. He doesn’t eat Meat, Fish or Eggs. He doesn’t take Alcohol, Tobacco or Drugs. This includes anything containing or cooked in these elements.
He also wears five objects (the five Ks) which shows he has been through this ceremony. You can look more into these if you wish, however, the three that the students were particularly interested in were:
Kesh, or hair. A devout Sikh has to always keep all of the hair on their bodies. This is the same for men and women. “We were all made by God and we are perfect how he made us. We don’t change that in any way.” He told the students.
Kirpan, a small sword that is carried on a strap. This can be carried but never taken out of its case unless there is a threat to life and the Sikh needs to respond to this (he also made it clear that carrying the Kirpan is legal but to use it is not).
Kara – a plain steel circle he wears on his wrist. You may think this is a bracelet, however, he told the students that “A bracelet is jewellery. This isn’t a piece of jewellery; it is a symbol of my faith. Like God, there is no beginning and no end. This is reflected in the continuous unbroken circle.” A poignant analogy.
After the sessions were finished he joined students in our RE club and continued the questions and answers and told them a story of a hook and a key.
The story in brief: Sikhs visit a Gurdwara (door to the Guru). A man was tasked that when he was the last to leave he must lock the door to keep everyone safe, however, in Sikhism, should anyone knock at the door of a Gurdwara, they must be let in and no-one is turned away. The man had no idea how he could do right as it was impossible to achieve both outcomes. He ended up closing the door and locking it to keep everyone safe and then leaving the key on a hook on the outside door so anyone could let themselves in.
Cloud explained to the students “I know that story is mad and it makes no sense, but the man did the only thing he could do, he did his best.”
From everyone at EMS, we thank Cloud for spending the day with us. Thank you to Mrs Denning in the RE Department for organising and we cant wait to have him back.