Analysis: Skipping Sikh gives us a smile in the pandemic

By Minreet Kaur

It all started off with a simple video of my dad skipping at the allotment one day during lockdown.  I tweeted it — and by the next day it had gone viral.

People were inspired — they couldn’t believe a 73-year-old man skips the way he does. His skipping and exercise videos have made him an international superstar known as the Skipping Sikh,  making people smile all over the globe.

My dad, Rajinder Singh from west London, is my role model.  He has always been into skipping, his dad inspired him and now he’s inspired the world sending such a positive message: stay active and healthy and stay safe and stay home.

He wakes up in the early hours to pray and then is constantly on the go. He is full of energy and he says: “My faith gives me my strength and to serve others is in my blood.”

As Sikhs, we were not able to celebrate Vaisakhi this year because of the lockdown, but dad would like to raise money to give back to the amazing NHS heroes and sees it as his duty to serve others, which is a key principle of Sikhism.

He’s set about fundraising for the NHS and is hoping to reach £13,000, which is more than double his original target. This is because the number 13 is special to the Sikh community — the word means “yours” in Punjabi and the festival of Vaisakhi is usually celebrated on 13 April.

So far he’s raised £9,200 and he wants more people to join his challenge by exercising, tagging him in the video and then donating anything towards the cause. He wants to exercise to encourage the elders or anyone he can to join him in staying fit and healthy.

My dad has a lot of faith and belief. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, said we should live your life through these principles:

  • Naam Japna — to meditate
  • Seva — to serve selflessly
  • Vand Ke Chako — to share your earnings with others
  • And to always wish for Sarbat da bhalla — wellbeing for all

This is how my father lives his life.

Guru Nanak travelled the world and spread the message of Sikhism and my dad’s story has travelled the world spreading light and positivity. This is the message of Guru Nanak to love and help all. Never think of anyone as different and we are all one.

Her are some of the people he has encouraged:

Taz Parvaz, Run Birmingham, the Active Wellbeing Society: I took on the challenge nine days ago while watching a video of him effortlessly skipping 140 times a minute at the age of 73. Today I did my personal best with 70 skips in 50 seconds so I’m still way off but it shows how quickly you can progress when taking up a new hobby or challenge.

Gurwinder Jass, Southall: My daughter and I bought skipping ropes just to take part in the challenge. We found it really challenging to skip for 30 seconds let alone a minute, which is what Skipping Sikh can do and he skips daily! He is so inspirational and we thank him for the motivation.

Harjinder Panesar, Harrow Sikhs: “I was inspired to have a go and do 100 skips. I realised that I could do it. Your dad made it look so easy and I found that I could do it as well!”