By: Amrita Sandhu
We have all heard about the trouble that misbehaving youth cause in their teenage years when their decision making skills and priorities are not quite where they should be. However, what about an entirely different group of people whose problematic behaviour often goes unnoticed? What happens when there is repeated shameful behaviour being exhibited by the seemingly innocent and harmless senior citizens of our community?
To make matters even worse, in the Indo-Canadian community (as with many others) it is very common for our elderly to take on a religious image for themselves when they reach a certain age. This is why problematic behaviour such as; being publicly inebriated, engaging in various unlawful activities, or being enactors of domestic violence has become a real issue in our local community which requires dire attention.
These individual’s behaviour may remain undetected for quite some time because they are posing to be a member of a religious group which actually strictly forbids the types of behaviour they typically get away with. On the rare occurrence, these scenarios may catch the public’s attention when serious criminal acts are involved. This can be seen with the case of the Sikh temple leader who is facing attempted murder charges because in a fit of rage he ferociously beat his wife with a clothing iron – bringing her close to the brink of death. A religious hypocrite such as this man is the epitome of what is wrong with our male-dominated culture. He is a sole example of what can go wrong when one assumes he is superior to all female counterparts. It could be assumed that this type of daily entitled behaviour has lead him to act in a viciously violent manner – that too at an age in which wisdom is meant to have come naturally with experience. One could summarize that if one lives his entire life believing himself to be entitled to demean and victimize women, then this mentality only sharpens with age – it does not subside.
This becomes a real issue when young impressionable eyes are watching as their fathers and grandfathers act in such a manner which could one day lead to a woman being hospitalized and fighting for her life. At what point will the psyche of our men develop into that of what is expected of them by the founding fathers of the religion they pose themselves to belong to? Surely there must be a turning point of some sort in which this all finally comes to an end.
We read these stories – and we feel enraged. We share them on social media and members of other communities click their tongues with disgust. We feel shame and perhaps even guilt at the thought that a supposed member of our own faith has acted in such a barbaric manner.
Certainly exhibits of behaviour similar to that of Baldev Kalsi (the Sikh temple president) are not the norm – it is only a select few individuals who are at fault. The majority of people of all ages who belong to the Indo-Canadian community are not contributors to this growing shameful social image. This is why it is in our power – those of us who are capable of recognizing such problematic behaviours, to work together to save the reputation of the culture for which we are responsible. The next time one sees an elderly member of our community acting shamefully – make it be known to them. Perhaps at least identifying the problem may spark the change which needs to occur in order to prevent such occurrences from being repeated.
Amrita Sandhu is a Manager at Prabu Foods Incorporation. She graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Psychology. She enjoys utilizing social media platforms to raise awareness about socially and culturally relevant issues.