“Sikh Turban Week” at UT Arlington

We’ve definitely covered stories on the trials and tribulations Sikhs have faced recently in Texas. I saw this and thought it would be nice to share what students at the University of Texas – Arlington are doing to help dispel ignorance around our faith community.

The line outside the University of Texas at Arlington’s library this week wasn’t for intramural sign-up, a spring break travel package or even hot dogs sold off the grill for a fraternity fundraiser.

The organizers structured the event to trade off gift cards for a promise to wear a turban for a few hours, and during that time, to refrain from smoking, drinking, etc. It was the SSA at Southern Methodist (SMU) that came over and hosted events at neighboring campuses, relying on donations and outreach to the Dallas/Ft. Worth Sikh community.

Turban-tying throughout the week had two purposes: to raise consciousness around Sikhi as a distinct faith, and to expose non-Sikhs to the lived experience of, and discrimination faced by, Sikhs in the U.S.

It only took Keith Jackson two hours to understand the heft of American bias felt by Sikhs. The 31-year-old heavy equipment operator noticed the crowd in front of the library and decided to don a navy turban and an “Ask Me Why I’m Wearing a Turban” button. Then he went to lunch at Subway.

One man asked Jackson’s colleague, who also wore a turban, if he was part of the Taliban. Another man told them that bin Laden was their big brother. Someone on a bike started screaming at them. Everyone stared.

While the coverage in the article is imperfect, I thought it showed an interesting willingness, and engagement, of members of the UTAr campus community to take on a different experience. Overall, though, it sounds like it was effective in opening the door for changing the discourse/reflection on how non-Sikhs interact with their Sikh neighbors.


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49 Responses to ““Sikh Turban Week” at UT Arlington”

  1. Bhavreet says:

    The Sikh Student Association tried to do a program similar to this at the UC Berkeley campus, but a few Sikh community members prevented it from happening. With consultation from the local Gurdwara Sahib, the planned event was to include tying dastars on students as well as a short presentation about the significance of the turban in Sikhi and other faiths. Community members had concerns about the program being disrespectful to the dastar, and they felt that Berkeley students would not take it seriously.

    Did UT Sikhs encounter obstacles such as these? If so, how can we students at other campuses address these issues? Any feedback from UT as well as any other students would be much appreciated. Thank You.

    -Waheguru ji ka Khalsa,

    Waheguru ji ke Fateh.

  2. Bhavreet says:

    The Sikh Student Association tried to do a program similar to this at the UC Berkeley campus, but a few Sikh community members prevented it from happening. With consultation from the local Gurdwara Sahib, the planned event was to include tying dastars on students as well as a short presentation about the significance of the turban in Sikhi and other faiths. Community members had concerns about the program being disrespectful to the dastar, and they felt that Berkeley students would not take it seriously.

    Did UT Sikhs encounter obstacles such as these? If so, how can we students at other campuses address these issues? Any feedback from UT as well as any other students would be much appreciated. Thank You.

    -Waheguru ji ka Khalsa,
    Waheguru ji ke Fateh.

  3. harinder says:

    What a nice and active way to spread info on who we are.

    Should be replicated across the GLOBE.

  4. harinder says:

    What a nice and active way to spread info on who we are.
    Should be replicated across the GLOBE.

  5. Randeep Singh says:

    Heidegger's perhaps clearest appropriation of Kierkegaardian phenomenology can be located in the ontological structures founding 'Authenticity'/'The One', purportedly demonstrating that the Kierkegaardian (spiritualist) existentialism is more an inherent and inescapable structure of 'Being' than an ontic product of the Modern age. Of course, if we are the Guru Sahib's Sikhs we know our scholarship will ultimately be our Simran, so the study of philosophy may serve to hint at the limitations of Sikh youth activities as such, which merely mimic and echo back responses within the mode of discourse determined by the Hegemon. In this case, Sikh students are, in an apelike fashion, commodifying & packaging Maryada blessed upon us Sikhs by the Guru Sahiban–The Maryada that has preserved our spiritual flame is now being merchandised at the street corner by our very own selves.

    So as Bhavreet points out, as UC Berkeley students are more busy trying to tie turbans onto oblivious passerbys (and other such vacuous activities such as Jakara camps) and committing beadbi to the Sikh Surat, should we be worried that Sikh students are engaged in such low-level PR schemes? I think so. Tying back to the outset of this post, even a cursory study of existentialist thought would show that demonstrations as such are function within and further propel a mode of secularism. Especially if some of our brightest young Sikh students are at UC Berkeley, we should expect these scholars to produce better work. The kind of preaching they are engaged in simply will not do.

    The self-proclaimed "diaspora"'s lack of serious and creative engagement is very well pin-pointed in this thread HERE. The thread contains critiques of such projects as Jakara (for example).

  6. Randeep Singh says:

    Heidegger’s perhaps clearest appropriation of Kierkegaardian phenomenology can be located in the ontological structures founding ‘Authenticity’/’The One’, purportedly demonstrating that the Kierkegaardian (spiritualist) existentialism is more an inherent and inescapable structure of ‘Being’ than an ontic product of the Modern age. Of course, if we are the Guru Sahib’s Sikhs we know our scholarship will ultimately be our Simran, so the study of philosophy may serve to hint at the limitations of Sikh youth activities as such, which merely mimic and echo back responses within the mode of discourse determined by the Hegemon. In this case, Sikh students are, in an apelike fashion, commodifying & packaging Maryada blessed upon us Sikhs by the Guru Sahiban–The Maryada that has preserved our spiritual flame is now being merchandised at the street corner by our very own selves.

    So as Bhavreet points out, as UC Berkeley students are more busy trying to tie turbans onto oblivious passerbys (and other such vacuous activities such as Jakara camps) and committing beadbi to the Sikh Surat, should we be worried that Sikh students are engaged in such low-level PR schemes? I think so. Tying back to the outset of this post, even a cursory study of existentialist thought would show that demonstrations as such are function within and further propel a mode of secularism. Especially if some of our brightest young Sikh students are at UC Berkeley, we should expect these scholars to produce better work. The kind of preaching they are engaged in simply will not do.

    The self-proclaimed “diaspora”‘s lack of serious and creative engagement is very well pin-pointed in this thread HERE. The thread contains critiques of such projects as Jakara (for example).

  7. Hi Randeep and everybody else,

    Actually this brand of Sikhi is carefully engineered to be risk-free and consumption friendly. Both these qualities are essentially antagonistic to the Sikh spirit. But this problem is not generated by some individuals or some groups. In fact, this problem is the problem of our very age, the present modern age.

    The events like turban tying and camps organized for mainly entertainment purposes show that younger generation of Sikhs is lacking in passion and not ready to show commitment.

    You have mentioned Kierkegaard, and I would like to evoke one of his lesser known works, 'The Present Age'. In this work, Kierkegaard describes present age as passionless age in which individuals have become too meek to risk anything in life. They try to get everything ready made, even religion. People have become adept at creating illusions and "momentary enthusiasms which use some projected change in the forms of things as an escape for actually changing the forms of things". The condition of individuals in this age has become "like one who has just fallen asleep in the morning: first, great dreams, then laziness, and then a witty or clever reason for staying in bed." Furthermore, he says about the present age, "the present age is an age of advertisement, or an age of publicity: nothing happens, but there is instant publicity about it. A revolt in the present age is the most unthinkable act of all; such a display of strength would confuse the calculating cleverness of the times."

    "Action and passion is as absent in the present age as peril is absent from swimming in shallow waters. . . ."

    And his most poignant remark about the present age is about the condition and predicament of religion in it. He says, "No person wishes to abandon Christian terminology, but they can secretly change it so that it doesn't require decision or action."

    That's what is happening to Sikhi today. Sikhi is being reduced to fun activity and shallow activism. These superficial activities are imperceptibly changing the practice of Sikhi to be an object of mass consumption.

    Sikhi, on the other hand, demands passion and life long commitment. If we cannot afford these things, we have no right to mutilate the face of its practice.

    I don't blame any group or individuals for this problem. These people are simply victims of the effects of present age.

    I believe that Sikhi has the potential of re-injecting passion into our present passionless age if it is practiced in the right spirit. All the Sikh groups active today are in urgent need of rethinking their own practices. They must realize that the traps laid by present age are much more invisible and dangerous than they are sometimes supposed to be.

  8. Hi Randeep and everybody else,

    Actually this brand of Sikhi is carefully engineered to be risk-free and consumption friendly. Both these qualities are essentially antagonistic to the Sikh spirit. But this problem is not generated by some individuals or some groups. In fact, this problem is the problem of our very age, the present modern age.

    The events like turban tying and camps organized for mainly entertainment purposes show that younger generation of Sikhs is lacking in passion and not ready to show commitment.

    You have mentioned Kierkegaard, and I would like to evoke one of his lesser known works, ‘The Present Age’. In this work, Kierkegaard describes present age as passionless age in which individuals have become too meek to risk anything in life. They try to get everything ready made, even religion. People have become adept at creating illusions and “momentary enthusiasms which use some projected change in the forms of things as an escape for actually changing the forms of things”. The condition of individuals in this age has become “like one who has just fallen asleep in the morning: first, great dreams, then laziness, and then a witty or clever reason for staying in bed.” Furthermore, he says about the present age, “the present age is an age of advertisement, or an age of publicity: nothing happens, but there is instant publicity about it. A revolt in the present age is the most unthinkable act of all; such a display of strength would confuse the calculating cleverness of the times.”

    “Action and passion is as absent in the present age as peril is absent from swimming in shallow waters. . . .”

    And his most poignant remark about the present age is about the condition and predicament of religion in it. He says, “No person wishes to abandon Christian terminology, but they can secretly change it so that it doesn’t require decision or action.”

    That’s what is happening to Sikhi today. Sikhi is being reduced to fun activity and shallow activism. These superficial activities are imperceptibly changing the practice of Sikhi to be an object of mass consumption.

    Sikhi, on the other hand, demands passion and life long commitment. If we cannot afford these things, we have no right to mutilate the face of its practice.

    I don’t blame any group or individuals for this problem. These people are simply victims of the effects of present age.

    I believe that Sikhi has the potential of re-injecting passion into our present passionless age if it is practiced in the right spirit. All the Sikh groups active today are in urgent need of rethinking their own practices. They must realize that the traps laid by present age are much more invisible and dangerous than they are sometimes supposed to be.

  9. Simar K. says:

    The doers do. The nindaks criticize about Kierkegaard.

    Great job UT Arlington!

    In 1 day you do more than these people will do in a lifetime. Don't worry about the haters! Keep up the great work!

    This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Aasaa on Pannaa 467

    salok ma 1 ||

    Salok, First Mehla:

    parr parr gaddee ladheeahi parr parr bhareeahi saathh ||

    You may read and read loads of books; you may read and study vast multitudes of books.

    parr parr baerree paaeeai parr parr gaddeeahi khaath ||

    You may read and read boat-loads of books; you may read and read and fill pits with them.

    parreeahi jaethae baras baras parreeahi jaethae maas ||

    You may read them year after year; you may read them as many months are there are.

    parreeai jaethee aarajaa parreeahi jaethae saas ||

    You may read them all your life; you may read them with every breath.

    naanak laekhai eik gal hor houmai jhakhanaa jhaakh ||1||

    O Nanak, only one thing is of any account: everything else is useless babbling and idle talk in ego. ||1||

  10. Simar K. says:

    The doers do. The nindaks criticize about Kierkegaard.

    Great job UT Arlington!

    In 1 day you do more than these people will do in a lifetime. Don’t worry about the haters! Keep up the great work!

    This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Aasaa on Pannaa 467

    salok ma 1 ||
    Salok, First Mehla:

    parr parr gaddee ladheeahi parr parr bhareeahi saathh ||
    You may read and read loads of books; you may read and study vast multitudes of books.

    parr parr baerree paaeeai parr parr gaddeeahi khaath ||
    You may read and read boat-loads of books; you may read and read and fill pits with them.

    parreeahi jaethae baras baras parreeahi jaethae maas ||
    You may read them year after year; you may read them as many months are there are.

    parreeai jaethee aarajaa parreeahi jaethae saas ||
    You may read them all your life; you may read them with every breath.

    naanak laekhai eik gal hor houmai jhakhanaa jhaakh ||1||
    O Nanak, only one thing is of any account: everything else is useless babbling and idle talk in ego. ||1||

  11. Ginni Singh says:

    The whole concept of "turban week" is a fallacy being propped up by those who are head over heals to assimilate themselves into the western culture.

  12. Rajinder says:

    Ginni, I take it that you're female given your name. Does it make you obsessed to live in the western culture by taking your father's last name instead of using Kaur?

    "Turban week" was not a fallacy simply because it happened. You're looking for a different word.

    Also, the main goal of this event was to educate the public. If spreading awareness to the general population is to fall head over heels for Western culture, what is the alternative? Do you think that we should simply refrain from a dialogue with non-Sikhs, especially in a university setting?

    Similarly, I feel like you would be one of the first proponents to untangle religion from culture (Sikhs don't eat meat, Punjabis do etc. etc.) so then is it the case that someone who is from the West fundamentally cannot be Sikh?

    I do not pretend to have any of the answers, but instead am trying to get us to all think a little more compassionately towards each other, before we go around making blanket statements that condemn the hard work of other. And please, use spell check.

  13. Ginni Singh says:

    The whole concept of “turban week” is a fallacy being propped up by those who are head over heals to assimilate themselves into the western culture.

  14. Rajinder says:

    Ginni, I take it that you’re female given your name. Does it make you obsessed to live in the western culture by taking your father’s last name instead of using Kaur?

    “Turban week” was not a fallacy simply because it happened. You’re looking for a different word.
    Also, the main goal of this event was to educate the public. If spreading awareness to the general population is to fall head over heels for Western culture, what is the alternative? Do you think that we should simply refrain from a dialogue with non-Sikhs, especially in a university setting?
    Similarly, I feel like you would be one of the first proponents to untangle religion from culture (Sikhs don’t eat meat, Punjabis do etc. etc.) so then is it the case that someone who is from the West fundamentally cannot be Sikh?

    I do not pretend to have any of the answers, but instead am trying to get us to all think a little more compassionately towards each other, before we go around making blanket statements that condemn the hard work of other. And please, use spell check.

  15. Hi Simar K.,

    What I am humbly proposing is to do some Veechaar about all the issues and concern which we, the Sikhs, are facing today. I am utterly unable to understand what is wrong with it. Why are you so furious at me when I have done nothing else than to ask people to do Veechar? If you have any doubts about the importance of Veechaar for us, please read Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and you will know that it is not matter of choice, but it is imperative to do Veechaar.

    You have quoted from Gurbani. Its good, but one should never do so only to assert one's own ego. The person who is a true Sewak humbly listens to everyone's advice and acts accordingly the given advice is for the benefit of all.

    Tell me one thing, do you think that actions of one particular group can ever be beyond any possibility of correction? Do you think that they are perfect and all their actions are also perfect? I was not doubting their intentions. I was only trying to point out that in this age of ours, people's minds and thinking have become battlefields for contesting ideologies. Any sane person knows that our social, political, educational and cultural institutions are build so as to promote a particular ideology. This particular ideology is named as modernism. There is no doubt that this ideology is ego-centric, as it has too much confidence in its own intellect and efforts and at the same time, it is thoroughly unethical. It is degrading all the values, ruining environment and converting men and women into senseless automatons. Can anyone have any doubts that such an ideology is contrary to what Gurbani tells us?

    Introspection is an essential part of Sikhi. Whoever is afraid of it is condemning herself to an endless cobweb of illusions.

  16. Hi Simar K.,

    What I am humbly proposing is to do some Veechaar about all the issues and concern which we, the Sikhs, are facing today. I am utterly unable to understand what is wrong with it. Why are you so furious at me when I have done nothing else than to ask people to do Veechar? If you have any doubts about the importance of Veechaar for us, please read Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji and you will know that it is not matter of choice, but it is imperative to do Veechaar.

    You have quoted from Gurbani. Its good, but one should never do so only to assert one’s own ego. The person who is a true Sewak humbly listens to everyone’s advice and acts accordingly the given advice is for the benefit of all.

    Tell me one thing, do you think that actions of one particular group can ever be beyond any possibility of correction? Do you think that they are perfect and all their actions are also perfect? I was not doubting their intentions. I was only trying to point out that in this age of ours, people’s minds and thinking have become battlefields for contesting ideologies. Any sane person knows that our social, political, educational and cultural institutions are build so as to promote a particular ideology. This particular ideology is named as modernism. There is no doubt that this ideology is ego-centric, as it has too much confidence in its own intellect and efforts and at the same time, it is thoroughly unethical. It is degrading all the values, ruining environment and converting men and women into senseless automatons. Can anyone have any doubts that such an ideology is contrary to what Gurbani tells us?

    Introspection is an essential part of Sikhi. Whoever is afraid of it is condemning herself to an endless cobweb of illusions.

  17. Hi Ravdeep G,

    If you are unable to understand something, its your problem, not ours.

    And never talk about something about which you do not know anything. Jean Paul Sartre was one of leading french activists and he actively took part in Algeria's freedom movement. Frantz Fanon was another, who was a militant and actually fought along with Algerian freedom fighters against French occupation. His book, The Wretched of the Earth is a classic and throughout the world, it is considered as a must read for every political activist. 121 French philosophers acted together to put pressure on French Government to put pressure for liberation of Algeria. Professor Gonzalo, a professor of philosophy, is leader of Peru's Shining Path Guerillas. Edward Said, one of the leading intellectuals of 20th century, was adviser to PLO.

    In Gurbani, Guru Sahib have used symbol of Kharhag (double-edged sword) for Gyan. Every Sikh needs to have a mind as sharp as a sword. Most revered Sikh warrior Hari Singh Nalwa was a great scholar. He knew French in those times. And he is said to have all the constitutions of European countries. Baba Deep Singh ji Shaheed was a great scholar.

    But modern Sikhs have lazy minds and they are bent upon proving that laziness of mind is the best policy. In order to act in this world, you will have to know about it first.

  18. Ginni Singh says:

    Rajinder,

    It is funny, that you are judging my manhood. It fine, since your doing it over the web. If you ever see me in person, you better not repeat the same mistake. It won't be a pleasant experience.

    I am challenging you without knowing or seeing you. I have seen so much in life, which is beyond your wildest imagination. The people who came into my life were truly imbued in Sikh spirit and are remembered in Sikh Ardas twice a day.

    What do you mean by awareness? Using your same model, shall we ask Hindu woman to teach us how to wear a sari in public?

    You are really funny. You want to show awareness by tying a turban in public or you want to tell them what Sikhs stand for. The people who have no shame of doing this in public, have forgotten the meaning of self-respect. Do you know what the meaning of turban is?

    Your claim of having a "dialogue" is totally blown out of proportion.

    You are living under assumptions and you really need to know me. Are you day dreaming or you short of ideas? Seems like you same set of assumptions for every message you write? Shall I make assumptions of you being a gay, a drug dealer or jaeb katra? It would be absolutely stupid to do so.

    I am not a woman and I respect them more then men. The problem I have is, when a man is not a man. If you have any doubts about my masculinity, come see me sometimes.

    This whole "turban week" issue is a serious once, since the people such as yourself, who claim to be Sikhs, have no self respect. Those people who publicly engage in mocking their faith and honor can only be classified as jokers and not as Sikhs.

    I have no idea which section of society you belong to. In my circle, my friends include Whites, Hispanic and Asians. They would consider it an insult to do such demonstration in public. But you have no shame.

    If one has no grace of a Sikh character, what is the use of a turban? Hindus from Rajasthan wear turban. Tomorrow, khusraas can also wear. Does that automatically make them honorable people?

    The message you want to give is that "oh lord…don't kill me because I am not a Muslim"

    A Sikh's kirpan represents justice and equality for all. Sikhs don't beg anyone, since they are sons of Guru Gobind Singh.(this is where I got my last name)

    As far as dialogue is concerned, it needs thinking, intellect, courage, strength. The clownish characters don't do dialogue. They merely dance on the the instructions of their handlers.

    If you ever heard of the concept for an art gallery, turban can be portrayed in splendid ways. If you have heard of literature, an excellent piece can be written on the significance of the turban.

    Sorry yaar, I have to explain so many things to you. What other options do I really have?

    P.S. On the suggestion spell check, thanks for pointing it out. Its good to keep basic things in mind, but don't get stuck on them. You need to look at the bigger picture.

    Sincerely,

    Ginni Singh

  19. Hi Ravdeep G,

    If you are unable to understand something, its your problem, not ours.

    And never talk about something about which you do not know anything. Jean Paul Sartre was one of leading french activists and he actively took part in Algeria’s freedom movement. Frantz Fanon was another, who was a militant and actually fought along with Algerian freedom fighters against French occupation. His book, The Wretched of the Earth is a classic and throughout the world, it is considered as a must read for every political activist. 121 French philosophers acted together to put pressure on French Government to put pressure for liberation of Algeria. Professor Gonzalo, a professor of philosophy, is leader of Peru’s Shining Path Guerillas. Edward Said, one of the leading intellectuals of 20th century, was adviser to PLO.

    In Gurbani, Guru Sahib have used symbol of Kharhag (double-edged sword) for Gyan. Every Sikh needs to have a mind as sharp as a sword. Most revered Sikh warrior Hari Singh Nalwa was a great scholar. He knew French in those times. And he is said to have all the constitutions of European countries. Baba Deep Singh ji Shaheed was a great scholar.

    But modern Sikhs have lazy minds and they are bent upon proving that laziness of mind is the best policy. In order to act in this world, you will have to know about it first.

  20. Ginni Singh says:

    Rajinder,

    It is funny, that you are judging my manhood. It fine, since your doing it over the web. If you ever see me in person, you better not repeat the same mistake. It won’t be a pleasant experience.

    I am challenging you without knowing or seeing you. I have seen so much in life, which is beyond your wildest imagination. The people who came into my life were truly imbued in Sikh spirit and are remembered in Sikh Ardas twice a day.

    What do you mean by awareness? Using your same model, shall we ask Hindu woman to teach us how to wear a sari in public?

    You are really funny. You want to show awareness by tying a turban in public or you want to tell them what Sikhs stand for. The people who have no shame of doing this in public, have forgotten the meaning of self-respect. Do you know what the meaning of turban is?

    Your claim of having a “dialogue” is totally blown out of proportion.

    You are living under assumptions and you really need to know me. Are you day dreaming or you short of ideas? Seems like you same set of assumptions for every message you write? Shall I make assumptions of you being a gay, a drug dealer or jaeb katra? It would be absolutely stupid to do so.

    I am not a woman and I respect them more then men. The problem I have is, when a man is not a man. If you have any doubts about my masculinity, come see me sometimes.

    This whole “turban week” issue is a serious once, since the people such as yourself, who claim to be Sikhs, have no self respect. Those people who publicly engage in mocking their faith and honor can only be classified as jokers and not as Sikhs.

    I have no idea which section of society you belong to. In my circle, my friends include Whites, Hispanic and Asians. They would consider it an insult to do such demonstration in public. But you have no shame.

    If one has no grace of a Sikh character, what is the use of a turban? Hindus from Rajasthan wear turban. Tomorrow, khusraas can also wear. Does that automatically make them honorable people?

    The message you want to give is that “oh lord…don’t kill me because I am not a Muslim”

    A Sikh’s kirpan represents justice and equality for all. Sikhs don’t beg anyone, since they are sons of Guru Gobind Singh.(this is where I got my last name)

    As far as dialogue is concerned, it needs thinking, intellect, courage, strength. The clownish characters don’t do dialogue. They merely dance on the the instructions of their handlers.

    If you ever heard of the concept for an art gallery, turban can be portrayed in splendid ways. If you have heard of literature, an excellent piece can be written on the significance of the turban.

    Sorry yaar, I have to explain so many things to you. What other options do I really have?

    P.S. On the suggestion spell check, thanks for pointing it out. Its good to keep basic things in mind, but don’t get stuck on them. You need to look at the bigger picture.

    Sincerely,
    Ginni Singh

  21. Simar K. says:

    Prabhsharanbir Virji,

    I am not against vichar.It is great.

    But all I have seen here is criticism and claims that somehow you know more than the students that generally put in their heart and effort to put this event on. You didn't talk to them with compassion, commend their efforts and then give them points to consider for next time.

    Instead, people have suggested that they are "assimilated", brain-washed and that they don't show "commitment". It is patronizing and wrong!

    I took a stand for them. If you have some better ways to dialogue with others then do them and then instead of you having to talk about others, we can talk about you.If you are humble than talk humbly, not act like you know Sikhi better than everyone else.

    I didn't quote gurbani for my ego, I quoted it for a different perspective than what you guys are saying. It is telling though that I quote Gurbani and you and your friends only quote Western philosophers.

  22. Simar K. says:

    Prabhsharanbir Virji,

    I am not against vichar.It is great.

    But all I have seen here is criticism and claims that somehow you know more than the students that generally put in their heart and effort to put this event on. You didn’t talk to them with compassion, commend their efforts and then give them points to consider for next time.

    Instead, people have suggested that they are “assimilated”, brain-washed and that they don’t show “commitment”. It is patronizing and wrong!

    I took a stand for them. If you have some better ways to dialogue with others then do them and then instead of you having to talk about others, we can talk about you.If you are humble than talk humbly, not act like you know Sikhi better than everyone else.

    I didn’t quote gurbani for my ego, I quoted it for a different perspective than what you guys are saying. It is telling though that I quote Gurbani and you and your friends only quote Western philosophers.

  23. Harliv Singh says:

    I would like to thank Randeep Singh, Ginni Singh, and Prabhsharanbir Singh for providing much needed input on this topic.

    Prabhsharanbir Singh’s analysis of Kierkegaard is very useful, in the sense that it can be used to understand the motivation (or lack thereof) behind current Sikh students’ actions.

    The concept of social construction plays a major role in determining the course of Sikh awareness campaigns in modern times. The fact that Western society is not accustomed to the Sikh turban should not be a driving force behind such campaigns. It is critical to understand Weber’s paradigm of methodological individualism in the social context to begin to comprehend the reasons behind Western society’s acceptance (or rejection) of the turban.

    If we step for a moment away from this paradigm, we can understand its religious context through the analysis of Durkheim’s “Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse,” in which religious symbols manifest the being of the follower and are ultimately ingrained in his identity. Similarly, the dastar is the identity of each and every Sikh, and the invasion or public scrutiny of this identity is bound to have negative consequences. To dissect the dastar and put it on display is in direct contradiction of Hegel’s notion of “identity in difference”; if our goal is to become normalized in Western society, then where is our identity?

    Simply, the display at UT Arlington, in which participants were bribed through gift cards to essentially desecrate a sacred religious symbol, is disgusting (to put it nicely).

  24. Ginni Singh says:

    Deal all,

    My brother Prabhsharanbir is calling spade a spade. Obviously, he fundamentally disagrees with the ideology that is being propagated.

    He just happens to be very blunt. Let us have an open discussion about his point of view. Why are you folks taking everything so personally?

    Prabhsharanbir has put forth a very thought provoking and convincing arguement. Can anyone respond to his points line by line?

    Thanks,

    Ginni Singh

  25. Harliv Singh says:

    I would like to thank Randeep Singh, Ginni Singh, and Prabhsharanbir Singh for providing much needed input on this topic.

    Prabhsharanbir Singhs analysis of Kierkegaard is very useful, in the sense that it can be used to understand the motivation (or lack thereof) behind current Sikh students actions.

    The concept of social construction plays a major role in determining the course of Sikh awareness campaigns in modern times. The fact that Western society is not accustomed to the Sikh turban should not be a driving force behind such campaigns. It is critical to understand Webers paradigm of methodological individualism in the social context to begin to comprehend the reasons behind Western societys acceptance (or rejection) of the turban.

    If we step for a moment away from this paradigm, we can understand its religious context through the analysis of Durkheims Les formes lmentaires de la vie religieuse, in which religious symbols manifest the being of the follower and are ultimately ingrained in his identity. Similarly, the dastar is the identity of each and every Sikh, and the invasion or public scrutiny of this identity is bound to have negative consequences. To dissect the dastar and put it on display is in direct contradiction of Hegels notion of identity in difference; if our goal is to become normalized in Western society, then where is our identity?

    Simply, the display at UT Arlington, in which participants were bribed through gift cards to essentially desecrate a sacred religious symbol, is disgusting (to put it nicely).

  26. Ginni Singh says:

    Deal all,

    My brother Prabhsharanbir is calling spade a spade. Obviously, he fundamentally disagrees with the ideology that is being propagated.

    He just happens to be very blunt. Let us have an open discussion about his point of view. Why are you folks taking everything so personally?

    Prabhsharanbir has put forth a very thought provoking and convincing arguement. Can anyone respond to his points line by line?

    Thanks,
    Ginni Singh

  27. Amar says:

    Guru Fateh! I'm a first time poster to the Langar Hall.

    What motivated me to post was my deep sense of alarm when reading the following:

    "Heidegger’s perhaps clearest appropriation of Kierkegaardian phenomenology can be located in the ontological structures founding ‘Authenticity’/'The One’, purportedly demonstrating that the Kierkegaardian (spiritualist) existentialism is more an inherent and inescapable structure of ‘Being’ than an ontic product of the Modern age. Of course, if we are the Guru Sahib’s Sikhs we know our scholarship will ultimately be our Simran, so the study of philosophy may serve to hint at the limitations of Sikh youth activities as such, which merely mimic and echo back responses within the mode of discourse determined by the Hegemon. In this case, Sikh students are, in an apelike fashion, commodifying & packaging Maryada blessed upon us Sikhs by the Guru Sahiban–The Maryada that has preserved our spiritual flame is now being merchandised at the street corner by our very own selves.

    So as Bhavreet points out, as UC Berkeley students are more busy trying to tie turbans onto oblivious passerbys (and other such vacuous activities such as Jakara camps) and committing beadbi to the Sikh Surat, should we be worried that Sikh students are engaged in such low-level PR schemes?"

    While I appreciate the enthusiasm of the writer (and subsequent writers in his blog tribe) to present ideas as purported defenders of Sikhi, I was really alarmed that Malcolm X's bedrock principal of "speaking in a language that everyone can easily understand" was lost in the post. I was also lost at the overreaching and blanket condemnation of "oblivious passerbys"; "vacuous activities such as Jakara camps"; and "low-level PR schemes."

    While the writers in this blog tribe are presenting themselves as defenders of Sikhi, I was alarmed that they seemed to have lost the critical essence of Sikhi in their approach. These series of posts are filled with ego (why else quote philosophers like Brahmins show off knowledge) and hierarchical judgment (a clearly we're better than you attitude) without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best.

    I couldn't imagine our Guru's approaching fellow Sikhs in this way.

    It's like this group of posters are just imitating some of the less desirable, combative aspects of Punjabi culture but with college degrees as weapons.

    Anyway, this is my first post. The irony of the situation (and my alarm) is what motivated me post.

  28. Amar says:

    Guru Fateh! I’m a first time poster to the Langar Hall.

    What motivated me to post was my deep sense of alarm when reading the following:

    “Heideggers perhaps clearest appropriation of Kierkegaardian phenomenology can be located in the ontological structures founding Authenticity/’The One, purportedly demonstrating that the Kierkegaardian (spiritualist) existentialism is more an inherent and inescapable structure of Being than an ontic product of the Modern age. Of course, if we are the Guru Sahibs Sikhs we know our scholarship will ultimately be our Simran, so the study of philosophy may serve to hint at the limitations of Sikh youth activities as such, which merely mimic and echo back responses within the mode of discourse determined by the Hegemon. In this case, Sikh students are, in an apelike fashion, commodifying & packaging Maryada blessed upon us Sikhs by the Guru SahibanThe Maryada that has preserved our spiritual flame is now being merchandised at the street corner by our very own selves.

    So as Bhavreet points out, as UC Berkeley students are more busy trying to tie turbans onto oblivious passerbys (and other such vacuous activities such as Jakara camps) and committing beadbi to the Sikh Surat, should we be worried that Sikh students are engaged in such low-level PR schemes?”

    While I appreciate the enthusiasm of the writer (and subsequent writers in his blog tribe) to present ideas as purported defenders of Sikhi, I was really alarmed that Malcolm X’s bedrock principal of “speaking in a language that everyone can easily understand” was lost in the post. I was also lost at the overreaching and blanket condemnation of “oblivious passerbys”; “vacuous activities such as Jakara camps”; and “low-level PR schemes.”

    While the writers in this blog tribe are presenting themselves as defenders of Sikhi, I was alarmed that they seemed to have lost the critical essence of Sikhi in their approach. These series of posts are filled with ego (why else quote philosophers like Brahmins show off knowledge) and hierarchical judgment (a clearly we’re better than you attitude) without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best.

    I couldn’t imagine our Guru’s approaching fellow Sikhs in this way.

    It’s like this group of posters are just imitating some of the less desirable, combative aspects of Punjabi culture but with college degrees as weapons.

    Anyway, this is my first post. The irony of the situation (and my alarm) is what motivated me post.

  29. Amar says:

    Sorry about typos in my previous post.

    "without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best" should read "without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best they can."

    "I was also lost at" should read "I was also concerned by…"

    ——————

    Ok I think I've figured out a way to distill my point to its essence: There is IQ, and there s EQ. While the posts by Randeep and his blog crew demonstrates high IQ, they demonstrate low EQ.

    Yes you'll motivate some by the approach in the posts, but you'll lose most since the approach and tone stray so far away from Sikh principles. Who wants to side with posters who want to defend Sikhi but demonstrate un-Sikh like behavior (ego, contempt) in the process?

  30. Simar ji,

    If you are not against Veechaar, then why are not engaging yourself in it.

    You called me a nindak without understanding my point and without ever trying to engage in dialogue with me.

    I clearly stated that I have no doubts about people's intentions. I was only trying to show some unconscious indoctrination which we all are facing in this age. What is wrong with being conscious about that? Here is an interesting parallel. What if industrialists tell environmental activists who are concerned about Global Warming and other issues that we have made so much for people's comfort. We have made planes and cars and fridges and computers. Tell us, what have you done for people's comfort and entertainment. Obviously, the activists have not made anything for people's comfort and entertainment. But still, their point is valid. The direction taken by scientific progress is wrong. It has devastated so much.

    Science is a byproduct of the ideology of modernism. Are you not aware about the plight of our contemporary society in which human life has been degraded to such a low level?

    The most crucial thing about my argument is that modernism is infecting all spheres of life. And what is affected most of all is the religious sphere. Every religion has its own aesthetics and uniqueness. Every activism which is not sensitive toward this aesthetics is doomed to do more harm than good.

    I never suspect people's intentions, and nor do I expect people to do mine.

  31. Amar says:

    Sorry about typos in my previous post.

    “without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best” should read “without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best they can.”

    “I was also lost at” should read “I was also concerned by…”

    ——————

    Ok I think I’ve figured out a way to distill my point to its essence: There is IQ, and there s EQ. While the posts by Randeep and his blog crew demonstrates high IQ, they demonstrate low EQ.

    Yes you’ll motivate some by the approach in the posts, but you’ll lose most since the approach and tone stray so far away from Sikh principles. Who wants to side with posters who want to defend Sikhi but demonstrate un-Sikh like behavior (ego, contempt) in the process?

  32. Simar ji,

    If you are not against Veechaar, then why are not engaging yourself in it.

    You called me a nindak without understanding my point and without ever trying to engage in dialogue with me.

    I clearly stated that I have no doubts about people’s intentions. I was only trying to show some unconscious indoctrination which we all are facing in this age. What is wrong with being conscious about that? Here is an interesting parallel. What if industrialists tell environmental activists who are concerned about Global Warming and other issues that we have made so much for people’s comfort. We have made planes and cars and fridges and computers. Tell us, what have you done for people’s comfort and entertainment. Obviously, the activists have not made anything for people’s comfort and entertainment. But still, their point is valid. The direction taken by scientific progress is wrong. It has devastated so much.

    Science is a byproduct of the ideology of modernism. Are you not aware about the plight of our contemporary society in which human life has been degraded to such a low level?

    The most crucial thing about my argument is that modernism is infecting all spheres of life. And what is affected most of all is the religious sphere. Every religion has its own aesthetics and uniqueness. Every activism which is not sensitive toward this aesthetics is doomed to do more harm than good.

    I never suspect people’s intentions, and nor do I expect people to do mine.

  33. Ginni Singh says:

    "Tu idhar udhar kee baat nah kar.

    Tu yeh batah keh kafla keon luta"

    Let us not get get side tracked. Let us focus on why the honor and dignity of turban is being merchandised on the streets?

  34. Ginni Singh says:

    “Tu idhar udhar kee baat nah kar.
    Tu yeh batah keh kafla keon luta”

    Let us not get get side tracked. Let us focus on why the honor and dignity of turban is being merchandised on the streets?

  35. Harvinder Singh says:

    Hi Amar,

    You have remarked about a "blogger tribe" which is "imitating the less desirable, combative aspects of Punjabi culture".

    Can you please take care of the racism creeping out of your unconscious?

  36. Harvinder Singh says:

    Hi Amar,

    You have remarked about a “blogger tribe” which is “imitating the less desirable, combative aspects of Punjabi culture”.

    Can you please take care of the racism creeping out of your unconscious?

  37. Mewa Singh says:

    I may be wrong Harvinder, but I thought that Amar was playing on the word 'dia-tribe'. But, again, I may be wrong.

  38. Mewa Singh says:

    I may be wrong Harvinder, but I thought that Amar was playing on the word ‘dia-tribe’. But, again, I may be wrong.

  39. Randeep Singh says:

    Amar,

    Thanks for your post.

    It's nice that you appreciate simple-talk. However, the experience underlying such "turban tying" events and the vast majority of college events as such are founded by a certain mode of secularization and philosophy that must be engaged head on. We can see that such cornered and commodified conceptions of religion and thereby one's dastaar grounded in Cartesian subjectivity are amongst the driving forces behind the French ban on turbans. Is it a surprise that the French Descartes initiated Modernism, that he undermined religious orthodoxy in the name of an atheistic rational foundation, that in turn France used the very conception of lycée to justify its racism and anti-Sikh/Muslim/Jewish religious bias? This is directly relevant to such events as "turban tying" that motivate these very conceptual schemas. You say,

    Amar: you’ll motivate some by the approach in the posts, but you’ll lose most since the approach and tone stray so far away from Sikh principles.

    But you have to understand that not everyone's trying to sell something, not everyone is a street corner salesman trying to convince you to put on a turban for some gift certificates. What we need is someone to call it like it is. It would be wise to first slow down and grasp what is actually precipitating before we act. I think this is wiser than haphazardly, even if sincerely, playing with religion. Do you really think everyone is justified to go assert their religion of choice into sound bites, to Wikipedia and then preach, to commodify anything sacred into a package of mass consumption? What we need is serious scholarship, this requires having the foresight to avoid the tendency to engage in an insidious form of religion-making that undermines the very "religion" one is purportedly advocating/advertising. You say, college students as such are…

    Amar: people trying as best they can

    That's contestable, because it's obviously wrong. I don't think paying passerbys to tie turbans on their heads is the best that college students can do. I think we can do a lot better than that.

    Finally, let's stay on task and discuss the matter at hand. Let's also not engage in, as Bhai Prabhsharanbir also reminded us, of using religion to accuse one another of being kafirs:

    Amar: purported defenders of Sikhi

    Amar: they seemed to have lost the critical essence of Sikhi in their approach

    Amar: These series of posts are filled with ego (why else quote philosophers like Brahmins show off knowledge) and hierarchical judgment (a clearly we’re better than you attitude) without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best they can.

    Amar: I couldn’t imagine our Guru’s approaching fellow Sikhs in this way.

    Amar: It’s like this group of posters are just imitating some of the less desirable, combative aspects of Punjabi culture but with college degrees as weapons.

    Amar: demonstrate un-Sikh like behavior (ego, contempt) in the process?

    –Sincerely, Randeep

  40. Randeep Singh says:

    Amar,

    Thanks for your post.

    It’s nice that you appreciate simple-talk. However, the experience underlying such “turban tying” events and the vast majority of college events as such are founded by a certain mode of secularization and philosophy that must be engaged head on. We can see that such cornered and commodified conceptions of religion and thereby one’s dastaar grounded in Cartesian subjectivity are amongst the driving forces behind the French ban on turbans. Is it a surprise that the French Descartes initiated Modernism, that he undermined religious orthodoxy in the name of an atheistic rational foundation, that in turn France used the very conception of lyce to justify its racism and anti-Sikh/Muslim/Jewish religious bias? This is directly relevant to such events as “turban tying” that motivate these very conceptual schemas. You say,

    Amar: youll motivate some by the approach in the posts, but youll lose most since the approach and tone stray so far away from Sikh principles.

    But you have to understand that not everyone’s trying to sell something, not everyone is a street corner salesman trying to convince you to put on a turban for some gift certificates. What we need is someone to call it like it is. It would be wise to first slow down and grasp what is actually precipitating before we act. I think this is wiser than haphazardly, even if sincerely, playing with religion. Do you really think everyone is justified to go assert their religion of choice into sound bites, to Wikipedia and then preach, to commodify anything sacred into a package of mass consumption? What we need is serious scholarship, this requires having the foresight to avoid the tendency to engage in an insidious form of religion-making that undermines the very “religion” one is purportedly advocating/advertising. You say, college students as such are…

    Amar: people trying as best they can

    That’s contestable, because it’s obviously wrong. I don’t think paying passerbys to tie turbans on their heads is the best that college students can do. I think we can do a lot better than that.

    Finally, let’s stay on task and discuss the matter at hand. Let’s also not engage in, as Bhai Prabhsharanbir also reminded us, of using religion to accuse one another of being kafirs:

    Amar: purported defenders of Sikhi

    Amar: they seemed to have lost the critical essence of Sikhi in their approach

    Amar: These series of posts are filled with ego (why else quote philosophers like Brahmins show off knowledge) and hierarchical judgment (a clearly were better than you attitude) without regard to the good intentions of people trying as best they can.

    Amar: I couldnt imagine our Gurus approaching fellow Sikhs in this way.

    Amar: Its like this group of posters are just imitating some of the less desirable, combative aspects of Punjabi culture but with college degrees as weapons.

    Amar: demonstrate un-Sikh like behavior (ego, contempt) in the process?

    –Sincerely, Randeep

  41. Harvinder Singh says:

    Hi Mewa,

    Thanks for your "maybe".

  42. Harvinder Singh says:

    Hi Mewa,

    Thanks for your “maybe”.

  43. Anonymous says:

    I would like to commend everyone who's commented on this blog…although who am I to commend since you already seem to have so much knowledge…on philosophy, on religion, on Sikhi. Everyone who's been motivated to post a comment on this blog has good intentions and the students at UT had good intentions. By looking at the quality of these posts, I know we feel very passionate about this subject and rightly so.

    We must never forget the sacrifices, greatest in human history, that were made to protect the sanctity of the Dastar and…I can't find the right words to say this…all Sikhs have the moral obligation to give Dastar the respect it deserves and, in my opinion, demands. If you want to know what those sacrifices were…read our Ardaas with your HEART and mind, word by word…and try to put yourself in the shoes of the Sikh martyrs, if it doesn't run a shiver through your spine than, I am sorry to say, anything you do to "promote" Dastar is going to be superficial. Let’s not think about what a Dastar is, but what it represents.

    My humble opinion and I apologize if I offended anyone…not my intent.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahegur Ji Ki Fateh

  44. Anonymous says:

    I would like to commend everyone who’s commented on this blog…although who am I to commend since you already seem to have so much knowledge…on philosophy, on religion, on Sikhi. Everyone who’s been motivated to post a comment on this blog has good intentions and the students at UT had good intentions. By looking at the quality of these posts, I know we feel very passionate about this subject and rightly so.
    We must never forget the sacrifices, greatest in human history, that were made to protect the sanctity of the Dastar and…I can’t find the right words to say this…all Sikhs have the moral obligation to give Dastar the respect it deserves and, in my opinion, demands. If you want to know what those sacrifices were…read our Ardaas with your HEART and mind, word by word…and try to put yourself in the shoes of the Sikh martyrs, if it doesn’t run a shiver through your spine than, I am sorry to say, anything you do to “promote” Dastar is going to be superficial. Lets not think about what a Dastar is, but what it represents.

    My humble opinion and I apologize if I offended anyone…not my intent.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahegur Ji Ki Fateh

  45. Jill Lapone says:

    Randeep Singh and other nay sayers,

    TURBAN TYING is not disrespectfull or of any insult to Sikhi.

    Sikhi preaches moderation and Wisdom not radicalism and isolationism. If you don't teach what a Sikh is then everybody is going to keep on Mistaking Sikhs for Muslims.

    AND as for the UC SIKHS why did they let a few nut cases from the Sikh comunity higjack the Turban Tying even. Just ignor any backward person who pretends to be a Sikh.

    For no one can be a Sikh who is not progrssive.

    PLEASE FO MORE TURBAN TYING EVENTS, there is nothing wrong as per Sikh tenents in doing so!!!

  46. Jill Lapone says:

    Sorry for the misspelling in my above post.

    I meant to say Say "PLEASE DO MORE TURBAN TYING EVENTS". As no one who is a real Sikh can claim anything against such a event.

  47. Jill Lapone says:

    Randeep Singh and other nay sayers,

    TURBAN TYING is not disrespectfull or of any insult to Sikhi.

    Sikhi preaches moderation and Wisdom not radicalism and isolationism. If you don’t teach what a Sikh is then everybody is going to keep on Mistaking Sikhs for Muslims.

    AND as for the UC SIKHS why did they let a few nut cases from the Sikh comunity higjack the Turban Tying even. Just ignor any backward person who pretends to be a Sikh.

    For no one can be a Sikh who is not progrssive.

    PLEASE FO MORE TURBAN TYING EVENTS, there is nothing wrong as per Sikh tenents in doing so!!!

  48. Jill Lapone says:

    Sorry for the misspelling in my above post.

    I meant to say Say “PLEASE DO MORE TURBAN TYING EVENTS”. As no one who is a real Sikh can claim anything against such a event.