Sarika Watkins-Singh Away Each Hour Of Hiraeth

What a storm in a teacup. But perhaps Sarika Watkins-Singh’s words on the courtroom steps, delivered in pure Valleys brogue, will soften the hard hearts of those lurking with their legal micrometers and geiger counters, searching for every possible infraction, inconsistency, permutation, logical conclusion and slippery slope.
“I just want to say that I am a proud Welsh and Punjabi Sikh girl.”
How many other religions demand that jewellery be worn? Christianity doesn’t, so they can all pack their moaning bags for a start. Either all state schools are secular, in which case everyone knows the score, or you have to accommodate the clear demands of the faiths involved. And since the government has caved in to superstition and made schools include ‘an article of worship’ in the curriculum, accommodations have to be made. In this case, the wristband is not in fact jewellery, but a spiritual handcuff, as the judge understood.
If the rule is there for H&S reasons it would be different, but if the rule is about adornment and the slippery slope to harlotry in the back of the class, this religious tag doesn’t qualify. It is not adornment, it is a sign of faith.
In fact, it would be educational for young minds to be faced with this nice distinction, and be tutored towards an understanding of it. This would make the school experience more rewarding, and less confrontational. Teach them what the word ‘nice’ means, for a start.
They might also pause along the way to note that the culture of the Aberdare Valley, and much of industrial south Wales is partly the history of a once-banned non-conformist religious sect in the shape of the baptists. This is inconsequential enough in itself, but does at least demonstrate that history doesn’t stand still, and that we are always a part of it.

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