Whatever your view on the outcome of the Sikh girl Sarika Watkins-Singh’s court case to win her right to wear a Sikh bangle to school, what l found most poignant about the matter was Sarika’s happy willingness to call herself a “proud Welsh and Punjabi Sikh girl” in front of the High Court.
I think we have become accustomed to some people defining themselves simply by their religion, without taking into account other key aspects of their identity – in reality we have many other dimensions to our identities, ethnic and civic for example.
Our sense of who we are and where we are from can also be relative – depending where in the world one is. For example, the place where l feel the most British is whenever l am in the United States.
The fact of the matter is you can be all or any facets of your identity at any one time and Sarika’s statement illustrated this well. And this is something a secularist like the Indian, Amartya Sen, has always indicated in his writings.
So, while most other commentators have noted the significance of the case in the papers over the last few days, l would suggest that Sarika’s comments in front of the High Court are probably much more important than the actual verdict in the case, illustrating well that young people can deal with multiple identities, more so than is usually acknowledged.