Firstly, congratulations on your forthcoming marriage.
I was interested to read your mail as I currently have a boyfriend who I met at university and who is a non-practising, very English hindu from Carolla. I am not sure if marriage is definately in the cards, but it is something I have thought about. One of the main issues for me was the fact that I am religious and he is not Sikh. However, he is likewise eager to learn and even convert into Sikhism, as he admires its value system. I have stressed that I do not want to force convert him, although I will not marry a non-Sikh (I have withheld this information from him to ensure his interest and faith is genuine). That he will respect and participate in my religion and accept that any potential children will be raised only as Sikhs, no hair cutting till they are old enough to decide for themselves whether or not to remain the Guru's Sikhs is extremely important. I am glad that your future husband is keen to learn about us.
As regards the communities response, I have had a different reaction. My friends and peers as well as relatives have not commented negatively and the reaction when I took him to the Gurdwara was not negative. I can however, understand the fear people have of intermarriage: there are only around 20 million Sikhs in the world and the drop out rate is high, with over 500,000 young Sikhs being killed in wars with Pakistan, by the British and as targets of the Hindu government who have responded violently and excessively to the Khalistan independance movement. The inward turn of the community is somewhat understandable and more often than not induce by fear based on real experiences. I think the fear has more to do with the person marrying out losing their culture and religion and their children doing the same, rather than any intrinsic racism. Additionally, they may feel that this sends a negative message to the youth who may not understand your choice was considered and that you intend to practice and contin
ue in your faith. What is needed is probably more open discussion on the issue as it is only through knowledge and understanding that fear/insecurity is conquered. I hope, however, that your negative experiences don't push you away from the community and that you see it as an opportunity to stand your ground and patiently address the issue. It will take time. I also have three half white cousin's who are full Sikh's and who are completely accepted into the community. I hope you stay with us to work through these issues.