We bank with HSBC and we have done so for years. I remember when the bank was part of Midland Bank which may age me a little or a lot depending on how you see it. In India my bank is small but friendly and a little unusual so I want to tell you about it. It is a shop front in a busy shopping precinct and to see my account manager I have to go down a fire escape.My first office was down a fire escape in Cyprus so it brings back sweet memories.
My account manager is a spirited and efficient Sikh. She comes to the office dressed in western dress but she invariably wears her Sikh kirpan, her ceremonial sword and her bangle. She does not cut her hair as is the Sikh tradition and she bears a very Sikh name - Kaur, but which marks her origins and religion.
The branch recently celebrated Diwali, the coming of the new year, so it was decorated in all its traditional finery with lights and banners but also the more traditional rangoli drawings on the floor.
You can see the fire escape at the back
You can see her bangle and the small sword
She very sweetly gave me some additional information about Sikhism which I am including here as this is one of the religions I admire.
"Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region of INDIA, by Guru Nanak Dev which continued to progress with ten successive Sikh gurus.Sikhs engage in social reform through the pursuit of justice for all human beings. Sikhs embody the qualities of a "Sant-Sipahie"—a saint-soldier. One must have control over one's internal vices and be able to be constantly immersed in virtues clarified in the Guru Granth Sahib.
A Sikh also has the courage to defend the rights of all who are wrongfully oppressed or persecuted irrespective of their colour, caste or creed.
Sikhism advocates the belief in one pantheistic God (Ek Onkar) who is omnipresent and has infinite qualities. Sikhs do not have a gender for God nor do they believe God takes a human form. All human beings are considered equal regardless of their religion, sex or race. All are sons and daughters of Waheguru, the Almighty.
Sikhs defend, safeguard, and fight for the rights of all creatures, and in particular fellow human beings. They are encouraged to have positive, optimistic and buoyant view of life.
It is every Sikh's duty to defeat these five vices: ego, anger, greed, attachment, and lust in his/her being with contentment, charity, kindness, positive attitude and humility."
I can honestly say that she is espouses all the above and I see the work that the Sikh gurdwara does in my neighbourhood. HSBC has a well known campaign about the importance of local knowledge and how they apply it. Perhaps this is a good example of it.