Between Martin and Malcolm

Today across the country, many Americans, but by no means all, will come together to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. (true, others will just enjoy the day off). Many Sikhs, undoubtedly, will attend interfaith functions, make promises for more interfaith functions, and never talk to those people again until next years MLKs holiday. martin.jpgOn the other hand, Indians will pat themselves on the back as the media will use MLK to link it with the life of Gandhi, though as a Sikh the Gandhi hagiography as well as the movies portrayal proved hollow many years ago.

However, in critically reflecting on Martin, I cannot help but think of Malcolm. Maybe the era of my youth coincided with X hats or the powerful performance by Denzel Washington in Spike Lees movie, but the place of Malcolm for me has always been equal if not higher to that of Malcolm Martin. Traditional history and mainstream media takes a freeze shot of the two without looking at both mens changing lives and worldviews, making them polar opposites. While in someway I am going to continue with this simplification for the purpose of this blog entry, the reality should not be forgotten. I merely wish to make a comment for other activists to reflect upon.

Revolution or evolution? Maybe they shouldnt be posed as choices, but rather as a relationship. Most movements begin by those that call for the replacement with the old with something fresh and new. However, most movements succeed (but not all) when a more conciliatory tone makes change more palatable, or possibly even inevitable.

Revolution or evolution? The problem with this approach often comes when I see that two groups that have the same general beliefs will fight each other like the worst of enemies, despite their general agreement. Freud calls this the narcissism of minor differences. It seems to plague many activists.

Revolution of evolution? The way out, I think, is to recognize who you are. Know thyself. Are you taking an evolutionary or revolutionary stand (I HATE the terms moderate and extremist)? Recognize the value in those that may be fighting the same fight, but taking a different path.

Just a thought and reflection. Maybe even a reminder for myself. Other thoughts?


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7 Responses to “Between Martin and Malcolm”

  1. Tanmit Singh says:

    nice post. and a very good point made. People seem put Malcolm and Martin on two different sides of the extreme when the reality is that they were both very much alike. They both had the same mission and vision, just differed in the way they went about it. One could compare the same with Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh ji. They were one in the same by all means, but people seem to claim otherwise.

    my 2 cents.

  2. Tanmit Singh says:

    nice post. and a very good point made. People seem put Malcolm and Martin on two different sides of the extreme when the reality is that they were both very much alike. They both had the same mission and vision, just differed in the way they went about it. One could compare the same with Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh ji. They were one in the same by all means, but people seem to claim otherwise.

    my 2 cents.

  3. Maestro says:

    While both Martin and Malcolm became towering icons for the African American community, their vehicle of dissemination for influence was vastly different and their purpose also. I like the parallel Tanmit Singh's drew between Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji and the need for individuals to separate the Gurus and their work when ultimately they are One and fought for the same principles. But did our Guru's have such different ways of fighting for Sikhi or was it just a testament to the changing times and varying challenges they had to deal with.

  4. Maestro says:

    While both Martin and Malcolm became towering icons for the African American community, their vehicle of dissemination for influence was vastly different and their purpose also. I like the parallel Tanmit Singh’s drew between Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji and the need for individuals to separate the Gurus and their work when ultimately they are One and fought for the same principles. But did our Guru’s have such different ways of fighting for Sikhi or was it just a testament to the changing times and varying challenges they had to deal with.

  5. Mewa Singh says:

    The parallel by Tanmit and Maestro are interesting and the analogy is understood. However, specifically and ONLY in the context of our Guru Sahibs it breaks down.

    While Malcolm and Martin both had the interests of blacks at the forefront of their concerns. They STRONGLY disagreed with one another and made comments to the media of the futility of each one another's vision. I think the point that Jodha is trying to make is for activists that might still disagree with anothers' vision to still see similiarities and not violently oppose one another, despite differences that do occur.

    With Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh, for a Sikh, there is NO difference in their message. In fact there is no difference in their spirit.

    Rai Balwand and Bhai Satta in the Guru Granth Sahib encapsulated this same spirit when they wrote on panna 966

    Jot oha jagat saee seh kaaia pher palteea

    The same light of world, the king (merely) changed his body.

  6. Mewa Singh says:

    The parallel by Tanmit and Maestro are interesting and the analogy is understood. However, specifically and ONLY in the context of our Guru Sahibs it breaks down.

    While Malcolm and Martin both had the interests of blacks at the forefront of their concerns. They STRONGLY disagreed with one another and made comments to the media of the futility of each one another’s vision. I think the point that Jodha is trying to make is for activists that might still disagree with anothers’ vision to still see similiarities and not violently oppose one another, despite differences that do occur.

    With Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh, for a Sikh, there is NO difference in their message. In fact there is no difference in their spirit.

    Rai Balwand and Bhai Satta in the Guru Granth Sahib encapsulated this same spirit when they wrote on panna 966

    Jot oha jagat saee seh kaaia pher palteea
    The same light of world, the king (merely) changed his body.

  7. The educated teacher always there to help the students of the society because they know the importance of the society and the educated people. Without the help of the teachers the people cannot able to become successful.