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SikhLEAD: An Initiative to Increase Community Engagement and Leadership

FB_large.jpgThe Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) has announced the Congressional Internship Program (CIP) as part oftheir new initiative called SikhLEAD. The objective of SikhLEAD is to inspire, train, and support motivated and enterprising young Sikh American leaders as they prepare for a lifetime of community engagement and community leadership. The CIP is the first effort under this new and dynamic initiative.

SALDEF’s CIP partners with congressional offices to place Sikh American college students in internship positions on Capitol Hill with members of Congress. Through this program, students will be afforded first-hand perspective into the functioning of the federal government, as a way of providing experience-based training to individuals interested in civic engagement and government affairs.

Through the experience of interning in a congressional office, interns will:

  • • explore a potential career track
  • • create a network of professional and personal contacts
  • • develop real-world skills
  • • build confidence and professional work habits

The application deadline for summer 2011 internships is March 27th, 2011!
Visit for more details and to apply. Spread the word and tell your friends about this exciting opportunity.

Democratizing Academic Research

bgurdas.jpgGuest blogged by Pataka

As a student interested in Sikhism, visiting the library can be a somewhat dismal affair. Searching for academic works on Sikhism leads to few results. Searching for specific topics within Sikhism – for example, gender and Sikhism, lead to even fewer results.

The elitist institutionalization of scholarly research has often excluded marginalized groups and voices: those whose native language is one other than English, members of the working class who cannot afford to pay tuition and fees, single parents, seniors, people living with disabilities, immigrants, refugees and so on. It’s no stretch to imagine that one of the reasons that there is such little research available on Sikhism is due to the fact that we are a marginalized community, both in India and in the diaspora.

While many ‘professional networking’ organisations targeting Sikhs exist, the elitist spin on these events exclude those who may not be ‘professionals’ – students, stay-at-home parents, the unemployed or retired. A push towards inclusive, collaborative open-access community events highlighting Sikh research can foster healthy debates, increase social interaction between different generations of Sikhs on topics of interest, and ensure that Sikh history and Sikh thought are included within the large canon of scholarly literature. Democratizing academic research can also facilitate collaborations between academics and Sikh community groups on issues of concern.


Sikholars 2011 Agenda Announced

Visit the Sikholars website and choose to register for the entire weekend or just for the conference.  There are a number of exciting presentations by leading scholars in the community.  Mark down your calendars from February 25-27, 2011 as Sikh professionals, academics, and activists come together in the Bay Area.  Hope some of our Langar-ites can also attend!

Sikholars 2011 Agenda

Remembering Capt. Kanwar Harbhajan Singh

papa.jpgRare are those sevadars that give their entire life to the Qaum.  They are our jewels.  Earlier this week, we lost one.

Captain Kanwar Harbhajan Singh, popularly known as Papa Ji, was the tour de force behind the International Institute of Gurmat Studies (IIGS).  His family, friends, and network taught a generation of Sikhs how to connect with their Guru.  They held camps throughout the world – from India, to Punjab, to California, to Canada, and many other countries in between.

He had his detractors; he had his critics.  Yet, no one ever questioned his nishkam seva and dedication to his community.  He inspired so many and we hope that through them his spirit will live on.  A website has gone up allowing people to share their memories.  It can be visited here.

It also gives some summary of his incredible journey

With great sorrow in our hearts, we inform you that our dear Papa Ji, Captain Kanwar Harbhajan Singh, has completed his worldly journey. He passed away on January 30, 2011. He will be greatly missed by the entire IGS family around the world. Papa ji dedicated his life to spreading the message of the Gurus, constantly motivating the future generations to maintain their Sikh identity. We will miss him dearly and pray that Waheguru ji give us all the strength to carry on his message.

Click below the fold for information on his bhog and ardas that will be held on February 5, 2011.


Sidak 2011 Dates Announced

While many have heard about SikhRI’s Sidak program, too few have enriched their lives through this unique opportunity to explore and engage with Sikhi.  Make this the year you attend – head over to San Antonio from Jun 25 – Jul 9, 2011.

Here is a video promo from last year – mind the date change!.  Below the fold, you’ll find some information on the curriculum.


Sikholars 2011 Presenters and Abstracts Announced

Book your flight, complete your registration, and plan on attending Sikholars 2011 now.  This wonderful event will be held at CSU East Bay (Hayward, CA) from February 25-27, 2011.  Having attended last year, I can say that this is one of the few forums in the community to engage in critical thought, intellectual stimulation, and meet other like-minded people in the community.  The event is geared towards Sikhs, ages 25+.

In addition, this year there will be a number of evening dinners, mixers, and functions to allow young Sikhs to network and make important connections.  I will definitely be in attendance and hope many of our TLH readers will be too.  Visit the Sikholars website and REGISTER NOW as I have been told there is limited seating and they will fill up (especially by Canadians!).

Sikholars 2011 Abstracts

Five River Flow/Beautiful Butterfly

155029_714746265708_11710257_39141022_4499056_n.jpgSo, in the new year we’ll be bringing about some changes to TLH and we hope that one of these changes will be a better way of highlighting events happening in and around North America.

In the meantime, for our California Langar Hall family, you can catch Sikh Knowledge + Mandeep Sethi + Humble the Poet + Hoodini & King! + Povan Beats + Baagi + Push at Sol Collective on December 22nd starting at 9pm.  The event will be hosted by the very funny AKA Amazing.

Please view the facebook event page here and a video below highlighting many of these artists.  The video is filmed by the very talented, Digitology.

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SIKHOLARS 2011 – Submission Deadline Extended

bgurdas.jpgAfter the massively successful Sikholars 2010 conference in February of this year, graduate students will be congregating again next February for Sikholars 2011.

After speaking to organizers, I have been informed that the deadline for proposal submissions (due to massive requests as many students were taking finals) will be extended until December 31, 2010.

Visit the Sikholars website, check out pictures from last year, and most importantly make sure you are there at:

The Second Annual
Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference
A Community on the Move: Global and Local Sikhs
February 25-27, 2011

Continue below the fold for some general information about Sikholars.


Lahir 2010 & Tears and Ashes

Though Sikhs have settled all around the world, roughly 20 million Sikhs still reside in Punjab. There, and elsewhere, Sikhs are facing serious problems including, but not limited to: farmer suicide, female infanticide, drugs and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, economic disasters, disease, poverty, illiteracy, and much more. [Lahir Press Release]

Many of my most recent posts have been about upcoming events happening in the Sikh Community.  I think this is a positive sign – that rather than idly discussing and debating issues that inflict our panth, we are actually doing something about it!  I would like to highlight two upcoming events occurring in North America.  These platforms will bring together talented youth to raise awareness and by doing so, will aim to address important issues within our community.  Please support these endeavors so that we can continue to move our panth in the right direction.

Lahir: Save Punjab. Save Ourselves | New Jersey | November 20th | 6pm

Lahir: Move the Movement 2010 is a night of spoken word, poetry, music, and the arts.  Artists will include G.N.E., Hoodini, Mandeep Sethi, Gunjiv “Baagi” Singh, MC G-Singh and Humble the Poet.  The event will kickoff the movement to respect and protect Punjab by donating all profits to the Baba Nanak Education Society (BNES), an organization which provides humanitarian assistance in rural Punjab to next of kin of suicide victims. These are families with small children left completely destitute by the death of bread-winners and have been neglected by the government. A donation of approximately $350 can help support one family for a year.  For more information, visit the facebook page.

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SikhLens: Sikh Art and Film Festival

We have previously written about SikhLens, an art and film festival which brings together Sikh filmmakers, authors, artists and actors.  For those of you who support the development of Sikh arts, you will be pleased to know that the second annual Sikh Art and Film Festival (SAFF) will be held from November 19th-21st, 2010 at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University in Orange, CA.  SAFF provides a venue for artists to present their “Sikh-centric” films, art, and music to the broader community with the intent of showcasing their talents and generating increased Sikh awareness.

main_photo.jpgThe Festival begins Friday, November 19th with a red-carpet Opening Night starting at 7:30 pm.  A youth-focused cluster will start off the Saturday events.  This cluster focuses on films and live book readings intended to incite interest and inspire youth, while teaching about Sikh history.  The focus then turns to creative Sikhs in the Visual, Audio and Entertainment Industries.  Hear their stories, watch and listen to their craft, and interact with and support Sikhs breaking ground in these unique areas. Also introducing for the first time an interactive segment on “Introduction to Film-making,”to demystify the film-making process. Rounding out the day’s events are a series of short films featuring a wide variety of genres, an eclectic mix of filmmakers, and a unique blend of topics, including special selections from the SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival. Sunday’s events start with an international flavor, with an emphasis on Sikh films and artists from all over the world.  The concluding cluster of the festival will touch upon Social Issues within the Sikh Diaspora. This segment is aimed to bring upon a meaningful and insightful look into the surroundings of the Sikh Community today.

I am especially interested in this final cluster which brings together films addressing the social issues that inflict our community.  We have spoken many times on this blog about how media and film are critical to dialoguing about important issues.  


Sikh Artists + Hip-Hop

45069_10150275905815651_614665650_14276545_4200901_n.jpgFor those of you who will be in or around Northern California [actually, if you’re in or around North America you should come!] be sure to check out this upcoming event featuring Humble the Poet, Mandeep Sethi, Hoodini, Baagi Gunjiv, DJ Rav-E and more.

This is the first event of its kind in the U.S. (we usually are envious about these events when they happen in Canada!).  The show will bring together these artists for, what promises to be, a legendary event.

Here are the details: Presents::

Humble the Poet VS Mandeep Sethi

::Live Beats::

Povan Beats

::Special Guests::

Hoodini & KinG!Baagi Gunjiv

::Gully Poetry by::

Sasa [Sick Spits]

::Holding Down the Cuts::

DJ Rav-E

The event will be taking place on SUNDAY AUGUST 29TH from 7-11pm at Sol Collective/2574 21st St/Sacramento, CA 95818

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Below the jump you can preview Mandeep Sethi and Hoodini&KinG!


When Lions Roar II

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28687_877972245001_58005300_51463204_3062881_n.jpgLast year, Maple Leaf Sikh highlighted a revolutionary event which occurred in Toronto and brought together young Sikhs to pay homage to 1984.  The event, hosted by the Sikh Activist Network, returns this year and brings together artists such as Hoodini, Mandeep Sethi, Selena Dhillon and Yudh Gatka Akhara and more.  For those of you who are dealing with post-Sikh-conference-bluesWhen Lions Roar II promises to be yet another excellent event bringing together Sikh youth in an impactful way.

A Night of Hip Hop, Poetry, Spoken Word, Gatka and More…

To Remember 1984

Friday June 25

Mirage Banquet Hall

Admission: Pay What You Can

All Ages – Doors Open at 6pm

Why Pay a Late Fee? 24 hours left!


Why pay a late fee, when you can register now!  Get off the fence; get a friend to join you; get ready to drive to Fresno

this summer as Sikh youth from throughout Northern California converge to explore, engage, understand, and love our Guru – the Guru Granth Sahib: History of the Sikh Soul.

Register today 5/31/10 by 11:59pm PST to avoid paying a late fee!

CONFERENCE – June 17-20, 2010 in Fresno, CA.

The event is always engaging, stimulating, educational, comfortable, inspirational and fun.

Click below the fold to see the conference agenda.


Sikhi and You – This Summer at Sidak

Few programs in the United States have become as popular as the Sidak Summer put on by Sikh Research Institute.  If you have ever sought to explore Sikhi through an immersion in instruction, discussion, and study apply for the Sidak Summer Program now!

The program runs for 2 weeks, from August 1-15, 2010 in San Antonio, TX.  3 different tracks are available, custom for everybody’s previous knowledge levels: Introductory Sikhi 101, Advanced Sikhi 201, and Gurmukhi 101.  Learn more about each program at the Sidak website.  This summer see where Tvarikh (Revolution), Gurbani, and Rahit intersect to give us a Gurmat view.  Apply now!

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UPDATED: Gender Neutral Teaching: A Sikh Context

Due to unforseen circumstances, we were notified that the webinar has been postponed until Saturday, March 27, 2010.  Register at the link provided below.


A few months ago, RP Singh wrote a wonderful review of a new children’s book called A Lion’s Mane by Navjot Kaur.  The book takes young readers on a journey to cultures around the globe to explore the meaning of the dastaar.  The book does an excellent job at celebrating diversity and encouraging inquisition in young readers.  While the main character in the book is a young Sikh boy, the author and illustrator worked hard to create a story that was accessible to both young boys and young girls.

Educators are now asking – how can we create gender neutral curriculum and cultivate an environment of bias-free learning?  In a webinar titled, “Gender Neutral Teaching: A Sikh Context,” the Sikh Research Institute will be opening this topic up for discussion and looking at gender neutral teaching from a Sikh context.  We have an important role as a community to help to facilitate these discussions and ensure that our children and their children have the opportunity to learn in an environment that celebrates diversity.  Below you will find information on how to register for this webinar.  It sounds like an enlightening and much needed conversation!

Gender Neutral Teaching: A Sikh Context

Presenter: Jasmine Kaur, Director of Education at the Sikh Research Institute

Register here.

Arundhati Roy In San Francisco

Arundhati_Roy__c__Sanjay_Kak_0.gifArundhati Roy, the author of “God of Small Things”, will be in San Francisco on March 26th at Mission High School Auditorium.  The event will start at 7pm.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Roy will be reading from her latest collection of essays, “Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers”.

This reading is a charity event for the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir (IPTK).  The proceeds will be used to institute the Peace and Justice Grant For Scholarship and the Arts In Indian-Administered Kashmir for those residing in Indian-administered Kashmir.  The grant will be housed at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Kings of the Punjab at the Royal Ontario Museum

ManuKaurSaluja.jpgIf you’re in the Toronto area this weekend, a wonderful event awaits you!  The Royal Ontario Museum will be celebrating South Asian Heritage Day which will bring together artists, authors, performers and filmmakers to showcase South Asian culture.  The event will showcase Manu Kaur Saluja’s Kings of the Punjab portraits at the Sir Christopher Ondaatje South Asian Gallery.  Children will have the opportunity to enjoy a special reading by author Navjot Kaur of her children’s book “A Lion’s Mane” which explores Sikh identity and the many connections we share as global citizens.  Event details can be found here.

South Asian Heritage Day 2010

Royal Ontario Museum

Sunday, February 21, 2010

11am – 4pm

Sikholars Conference – this weekend!

As previously announced, the Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference is OPEN to the general public.  All members of the public are cordially welcome and invited to attend the conference.

The conference will be held at the Cypress Lounge in the Tressider Union on the Stanford University Campus.  Directions can be found here.

The schedule for SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20th, 2010 is as follows:

9:00-10:00am – Welcome and Introductions
10:00-12:00pm – Beneath the Surface (Erik Resly, Iqbal Kaur Gill, Kamal Kaur Arora) Resp: Puneet Kaur
12:00-12:45pm – Lunch
12:45-2:45pm – Locality: Past and Present (Mette Bach, Bandana Kaur, Preet Kaur) Resp: Naindeep Singh
2:45-3:00pm – Break
3:00-5:30pm – Beyond Borders (Ajeet Matharu, Harjant Gill, Arvinder Kang, Mandeep Kaur) Resp: Rahuldeep Singh
5:30-5:55pm Open Discussion
5:55-6pm – Closing Comments
6pm – Stanford SSA Event

Abstracts can be viewed here.  Hope those in the Bay Area can attend!

A Sikh Museum? Possible with your vote in 4 days!

graphic.jpgSikh history is about to be made in North America.  In December, throughout the United States, 500,000 nonprofit charities competed on a competition on the popular internet website, Facebook, for the Chase Bank Community Giving contest.  The top 100 groups advanced to the second round for a chance at 1 million dollars.

Out of the top 100 groups, a Sikh youth organization was amongst the top 20.  That Sikh youth organization was the Jakara Movement.  The Jakara Movement has hundreds of volunteers throughout California and has been organizing Sikh conferences, retreats, camps for the youth for the past 10 years.  Now they have a unique opportunity for seva for their community.  The Jakara Movement has publicly committed that funds won will go towards the building of a historic Sikh Museum in North America.


Time for Volunteers to VOTE SIKH

1.jpgEarlier I described the success of Sikh organizations in a competition being held by Chase Bank Community Giving on Facebook.

Now the second round manifesto for the 1 million dollar grand prize has been publically announced.

The Jakara Movement is publicly committed to use ALL money for the construction of 2 projects – the first North American Sikh Museum AND the Mata Gujri Women’s Center and Domestic Violence Shelter.

By voting for the Jakara Movement from January 15th-22nd, you will make this a reality.[link]


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