Me and my religion

I was born in a liberal Sikh family of clean shaven Sardars. My earliest associations of my religion all date back to the childhood memories of having sat by the side of my father in the Gurdwara. I used to be on the look out for cues as to when to bow and when to fold hands for the ardaas. I would, however, pitch in with unabashed gusto when the congregation would vociferously affirm their faith with ‘Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh’. Another distinct memory is that of studying at the eleventh hour for the school exams with the octogenarian village Granthi’s soporific, early morning drone, from the distant Gurdwara mike, for company. These childhood memories apart, I would have consciously and sub-consciously picked up values from my community but I never gave the issue any thought.
Today, when I am the father of two inquisitive daughters I am forced to give it some serious thought. What does being a Sikh mean to me? What are the core values that I would like my children to imbibe? After much thought, I have reached a tentative list.
A Sikh is a lover of freedom. Freedom to pursue happiness. The Gurus struggled all their lives for the freedom to pursue a religion of their own choice. They struggled essentially on behalf of the larger community of different faiths.
A lover of freedom has to be a liberal man. Freedom for oneself and freedom for everybody else. Sikhism is thus the very anti-thesis of Fascism. Sikhs are egalitarian in thought.
A Sikh is a lover of justice and truth. In his pursuit of justice he is never daunted by the odds. A Sikh thrives in situations where the odds are pitted against him. He is the champion of the weak and the powerless and is always ready to take up a public cause in the interest of justice.