Normative Definition: A Sikh is someone born to Sikh parents. A person may also convert to the Sikh faith, and feel himself/herself a Sikh, if accepted by the Sikh Panth. Such a person must change his or her name by deed poll to Singh or Kaur as the second or last name. If desired such a convert may accept Amrit and join the Khalsa Panth as defined in Sikh Rehat Maryada. Sikh faith does not encourage conversions. It is not a proselytising religion. All religions are equal in Sikh ideology.
In Sikh faith, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, the religion of the father decides the automatic faith of the offspring, but a Sikh mother may decide to bring the child as a Sikh and follow the naming ritual as in Sikh faith. The Sikh Panth will readily accept such a child as a Sikh.
The Sikh Courier, volume 56 No 108, page 11
In the first of the two articles on the above definition of a Sikh I discussed it in more general terms, this time we will have a look at the detail.
Being born of Sikh parents does not make you a Sikh. Not only is this against the Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM), but it is also not true. Guru Nanak’s father was not a Sikh, Guru Nanak was a Sikh, Guru Nanak sons’ were not Sikhs. In the 2010 UK sons and daughters of real good Sikhs follow a different path, and not so wonderful Sikh parents have very good Sikh children.
I do not think you convert to Sikhí, and Sikhí is not a faith but a dharm, a way of life. How you get accepted by the Panth I do not know.
Only when you want to take amrit (undergo Khande di Pahul) you have to add Singh or Kaur to your name and adopt a first name that starts with the fist letter of the Vaak taken. Changing your name by deed poll is only possible in countries that have adopted the Anglo-Saxon law system.
People are very welcome to join the Sikh Panth, but we do not believe that you go to hell if you do not become a Sikh or do not take Amrit.
The sentence about various religions and fathers makes no sense, and neither does the second part about mothers bringing up children as Sikhs. This sentence is based on South Asian cultural practices, not on Sikhí.
You are not a Sikh because your parents were Sikhs, you are not a Sikh because you come from Panjab, and you are not a Sikh because you have a brown skin. Sikhí is about some very basic beliefs (like One God, One Humanity) and practising Guru’s teachings in your daily life. From the Sikh point of view it makes no difference whether you were inspired to become a Sikh by your father or mother, by other family members, by friends or by the Guru Granth Sahib.