read more - King Richard III in Leicester
A SIKH REFLECTION ON KING RICHARD III AND HIS LEGACY
Much of King Richard’s life is filled with political intrigue, from an early age to his ascension to the
English throne, culminating in his demise in battle. He remains a controversial figure with opposing
narratives of his life. It is fair to say that history is influenced by those in power, which often has a
distorting effect on the truth. This is well known by Sikhs who have seen history written by tyrant
regimes and foreign invaders for their own political ends.
Sikhs believe that authority should not be derived from force or right of conquest, as claimed by
Henry Tudor, nor would Sikhs give much credence to Richard’s hereditary claim to power; privilege
does not exist in a Sikh’s view of successorship; we are all born equal and judged by our conduct and
virtues, as established by Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539). Sikhs believe that those in authority should
be guided by the egalitarian principles he set out, with popular support and good will.
Great Sikh leaders like Banda Singh Bahadur and Nawab Kapoor Singh were chosen for their qualities
and loved for their integrity and honesty, their commitment to truth and justice, their compassion
and generosity, their valour and humility. Observing Richard’s life there are a many qualities that
Sikhs would view positively; his personal piety and generous donations towards the opening of
religious foundations, his fair-minded administration and provisions for the poor, as well as his
chivalrous attitude and heroism in battle; all would be commended as signs of a good leader.
But if history has taught us anything, it is that authority and power are too often obtained or
maintained at the cost of human suffering; the pursuit of power has often been the cause of
inhumane and heinous crimes; whether at the behest of Richard III or Henry Tudor, two young
princes were murdered in the Tower of London.
If there is one thing a Sikh will take from the Richard III; it is the introspection of our own lives and
consideration of the legacy we leave to our family, our community and our world.
Kartar Singh Bring
Leicestershire Sikh Alliance