Due to words ‘shame’ and ‘honour’ constantly present within the South Asian culture, admitting that you are homosexual is no mean feat. So when Manjinder Singh Sidhu not only told the world he is gay, but also had his mother Mrs Kaur sitting alongside him and supporting him in a YouTube video, it was not a surprise when they went viral on YouTube.

The fact that talking about such a topic is taboo, and many times it goes unspoken, is precisely the reason why I invited Manjinder on to Zee Companion. I wanted to inform audiences about homosexuality, and show that other parents can also speak out against the grain of society, like Manjinder’s parents, and put their child’s happiness first.

Manjinder defined ‘homosexuality’ as ‘neither genetic, environmental, nor biological’ but rather it is ‘kudrat’ which means natural. It is when a male likes a male or a female likes a female.

I questioned the notion that some argue it is something you are born with but Manjinder argued against this viewpoint by stating that we do not know the reason for it, but it is a choice.

At the age of 8, Manjinder’s body began changing and at the age of 11 he realised he was attracted to boys. At 13-years-old he acknowledged and accepted it but was afraid of what his school friends, society and parents would say.

Until the age of 21, Manjinder lived in fear so worked exceptionally hard to be able to stand on his own two feet in-case his parents disowned him. He achieved 5 A*s in his GCSEs, studied his A Levels and graduated from University College London, to then secure a top job for financial security. Was this all to support himself or was it to prove to others he can achieve and be gay? He agreed it was a form of compensation and to lessen the blow – that he could still do well and be gay.

When it came to telling his parents, I asked Manjinder to talk us through his day. He informed his parents via text message and then turned off his phone! He explained that he had hid this secret for so long that over the years he became more and more distant from his parents. His mental state was also impacted as he felt guilt, shame and depression. So while on a meditation retreat, he text them, turned off his phone, then went to sleep.

The next morning, Manjinder wokeup and looked at his phone to find his parents were absolutely fine with it. In fact, they were relieved. They were happy to know that their son did not hate them, after he had distanced himself for so long, and so accepted it very easily.

But Manjinder’s parents not only accepted his sexuality easily, they spoke out to the entire world about their acceptance and urged other parents to follow in their footsteps.

In a YouTube clip, Manjinder’s mum speaks in Punjabi, with English subtitles, and tells people they should accept is as natural, there is nothing wrong with it, and a child’s happiness is important.

Our show included a lovely surprise as we spoke to Manjinder’s mother, Mrs Kaur, live on-air! She re-iterated it is natural. She stated that children should not lie to their parents about such a matter as this is wrong. A child should tell their parents and the parents should accept it. She told us that her son [Manjinder] had told them [her and Manjinder’s father] everything and they understood. If they had not understood, they would be the ones in the wrong – not Manjinder.

She argued there is no shame in homosexuality and there is no need to be embarrassed.

Very easy. Mum didn’t know what it means she thought I was about to become a girl. They’re good parents. They were sad I didn’t like them so they were happy I liked them regardless of liking boys. If parents marry their son to a woman, and the son is homosexual, then they are ruining that girl’s life which could lead to divorce and ruin further lives.

Mrs Kaur passionately argued her side of the story. But Manjinder’s father seemed absent from the story so far. He had not appeared in the YouTube video clip or partaken in any interview. So when he decided to speak to us live on-air, I was delighted to hear his side of the events.

Mr Singh explained that this is God’s decision. Parents accept when their child has a disability so why not accept this – and that Manjinder is fine in that he can do everything and support himself. He explained that he had taken Manjinder to a doctor to find out if there is something wrong with his son, but the doctor advised there is nothing wrong and to leave Manjinder how he is.

Mr Singh was happy Manjinder told him everything and that this was the will of God.

I was intrigued that Mr Singh took Manjinder to a doctor? Manjinder said he went with his father but the Indian doctor was extremely supportive as was the Gurdwara which his father also took him to. The Gurdwara stated that it is fine. Manjinder explained that there is nothing in Sikhism written against homosexuality and that it does say marriage is between two souls before God.

Manjinder’s parents were evidently extremely passionate about their beliefs! I asked Manjinder where they get their strength from to fight for something that goes against what parts of, and some members of, society believe is the ‘norm’?!

Manjinder explained his parents are good people and they live in a peaceful house. He stated that parents should be supportive of their children even if they do something against their parents’ own values and beliefs. Parents should have a friendship and relationship with their children with open channels of communication – talking is better than being afraid.

If your child is gay, Manjinder urged, do not try to change them. But if they have a drug or alcohol addiction, then you can help them and take them to the doctor. Find out the root of the problem and the cause so you can then solve it.

I mentioned that parts, or members, of society do not perceive homosexuality as ‘normal’. To address this issue and make it a norm, Manjinder said that we should talk between families and society to make it normal.

Relationships are already difficult to talk about but we should all be loving from the inside, in our own houses, and filter this out into communities and society. If a man from outside of your culture or religion can make your child happy, what is wrong with that?

There is already a lack of love in the world so among all the hatred, we should be striving towards greater happiness.

I know that sexuality is only one facet of a human being – we are not defined by it. So I asked Manjinder about other aspects of his life including his spiritual side!

Manjinder is very spiritual. From a young age he read the Sukhmani Paath and now attends yoga retreats, teaches yoga, cleanses the chakras and also does angel healing, mental healing and has written self-help books.

He left us with some love advice: ‘live your authentic truth. Do everything for your own happiness and do not live for others. Talk openly.’

Manika Kaur

My second guest on the show is an inspiration to all as she uses her passion for music to fund charitable causes. Manika Kaur donates all of her album profits to charity and helped fund the first Gurdwara in Dubai.

Joining me on the Zee Companion sofa, Manika explained that she grew up in a spiritual home where her family would play the harmonium, which she self-learnt, and all jam together singing Kirtan after dinner with no judgement.

‘Kirtan’ is devotional music in the religion of Sikhism. Manika composes and combines spiritual music with passages from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib to then create and sell albums that generate enough money to fund a good cause.

It seems natural that she would link singing Kirtan to doing ‘seva’ which means ‘selfless service’ as this is a key aspect of Sikhism. But why did she feel so passionate about it so as to donate all of her profits to charity and devote her life to it?

Manika explained that when she was a child, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib would be flown to her house from the Golden Temple and her and her family would go from house to house creating the correct ‘Babaji’s Room’ in people’s houses.

Her album and foundation ‘Kirtan for Causes’ helped fund the first Gurdwara in Dubai, which saw an entire community coming together. Sheikh Mohammed actually signed permission for the community to have a Gurdwara and signed land over for it to happen – which speaks volumes.

While travelling, Manika also saw a lot of poverty where children her age were suffering. On the show, she urged everyone adopt a child so they can have an education and thus better life. She looks after a child whose mother passed away from cancer and father could not handle the pressure.

Manika stated that education is really important because it means children can support themselves and it is the only way children can break out of poverty.

Children are a key aspect of her latest song ‘Aukhee Gharee’ in which Manika wanted people to see the idea behind the video which is ‘giyaan di joth’, meaning ‘knowledge is light’. Education and knowledge is so important to the children in India.

They worked in extreme weather conditions to complete this video – and it is a truly beautiful video!

Manika will be performing her first ever concert in London on Saturday 22nd August 2015 – I wish you all the best and know it will be beautiful after hearing your stunning voice on my show!