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From then on, the Khalsa (baptised) Sikhs were required to carry five articles of faith at all times: uncut hair, a sword, comb, clean clothes and a metal bracelet.
Most British Sikhs I have spoken to feel shocked and embarrassed that weddings in the UK are being disrupted in this way, but are usually too worried about the backlash from fundamentalists to say so openly – and it is a very British phenomenon.
The controversy has barely affected India, home to 90 per cent of the world’s 20 million Sikhs, where interfaith marriages (especially to Hindus) are common.
One might, then, conclude that this issue was about race and the diaspora – but the experience of North America, where nearly a million Sikhs live, says differently.
In 1950, Sikh scholars and priests in India agreed on a code of conduct, after multiple attempts, to define what it meant to be a Sikh and what obligations should be placed on followers.
It stated that the Sikh wedding ceremony (the Anand Karaj) could only take place between two Sikhs of the opposite sex.
They stormed upstairs to the main hall and demanded that the priests end the ceremony, hurling insults at people who objected.