Development of Hinduism and Sikhism in Canada

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Date Submitted: 10/22/2010 10:34 AM

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Religion plays a crucial role in the daily lives of millions of people. This is even more evident in India. Sikhism and Hinduism are two very prominent religions in this nation. These two religions are closely linked but also have many distinct practices. Issues of the position of women in society, attitudes towards the caste system and methods of worship are critical aspects of both religions. The introduction of an eastern religion in a Western country is a unique occurrence and can contribute to a religion’s development. This essay will outline the differences and similarities between Hinduism and Sikhism in regards to women, the caste system and worship as well as, describe Sikhism’s development in Canada. The first section will provide a brief background on the origin of both religions. Subsequently, various methods of worship and differences in beliefs and rituals between the two religions will be discussed. The influences of both religions on the status and treatment of women in society are described in the third part of the essay. While the fourth section compares the attitudes toward the caste system in India. Finally, the development and practice of Sikhism in Canada will be examined.

With the majority of the Indian population adhering to its traditions, Hinduism is regarded as the oldest world religion (Rinehart, 2004, p.1). It derives its influences from a combination of the Indus Valley civilization and the Aryan culture (Viswanathan, 1992, p.21). Hinduism does not have a single founder or an exact date of origin unlike many other world religions. On the other hand, Sikhism is one of the newer religious traditions founded by Guru Nanak Dev in the state of Punjab during 15th century A.D (Sethi, 1998, p.4). The faith was developed by the teachings of ten gurus who conveyed the living word of god and it is believed that the soul of Guru Nanak was transferred to each successive Guru (Sethi, 1998, p.5). Although Sikhism is believed by some...