The Light We Give: Book Review


In all my life, of all of the books I’ve read, not one of them has had my last name on it. Books have been important in my life, but for one to bear the name of one of my own family members is truly a privilege, or just of any Sikh. Sikhs are members of the religion of Sikhism, a religion that believes in one god and equality among all people and originates from Northern India in a region called Punjab. Simran Jeet Singh’s The Light We Give is one of the most gripping and provocative pieces of literature I have read. It takes several genres and artfully incorporates elements of each. The memoir with anecdotes and Sikh ideals woven throughout is without a doubt one of the most thought-provoking books. 

Simran Jeet Singh is a historian and theologian, and his expertise is apparent throughout the book without it feeling esoteric. His book contains anecdotes from his entire life, all the way from third grade to today, and from his classmate giving him a brownie all the way to death threats he received after the events of 9/11, Singh manages to address some of the heaviest topics of our time and dive deeply into the effects and thought process behind racism and hate. In spite of this, the beautiful thing about the book is that it is written in terms that anyone can understand and relate to. Singh reaches out to the humanity within people, to their very souls, as he conveys how hate inspires the entire idea behind all forms of discrimination. He speaks to the human nature in all people, and this reflects one of the main concepts of his novel: Ik Oankar, the concept in Sikh religion of the oneness or divinity within all humans. 

Singh’s objective is not only to inform people of the Sikh religion, but also to explore how the values, ideals, and morals within Sikhism relate to people of all cultural backgrounds. He explains how Sikh wisdom reflects upon hate and discrimination and methodically shows how hate is battled and kept at bay. But the book isn’t entirely centered upon Sikh wisdom, as Singh breaks it up with his own anecdotes and life experiences as well as those of others. He manages to lighten the book by incorporating humor into it while keeping the book grounded and is always keeping the purpose and idea of the book in mind.

This book is special to me because it takes a religion that many people don’t know exists and applies its principles to everyday life. It takes the negative concepts that are, unfortunately, built within our society, such as hate, and provides an approach to it that is deep and well thought out. The book really engages with the reader’s emotions and makes them laugh, cry, yell, and start to think about concepts that are difficult to really completely understand, like hate, discrimination, and love, but are some of the most basic and common within our lives. On a lighter note, Singh explains the pain of running a marathon and the excitement of his high school soccer games. The conversational tone that he uses really makes it much easier for the reader to be engaged in and relate to the writing. This book is meant to inform, self-improve, and really just question the ideals discussed, and Singh’s usage of his own voice really portrays these objectives. This book is a crucial read for those looking for a new, fresh perspective on life and are really working for self-improvement or for those who just want to witness a new outlook and try to understand the reasoning behind it. The Light We Give is a true masterpiece that never fails to have a deep conversation or drop a witty remark to make its reader laugh out loud.