Gold Rimmed, Khanda Shaped, Sikh Glasses

Has anyone else noticed how ridiculous the(US Presidential Election)campaigns have gotten? The ridiculousness has reached a new all time low in the past few weeks with both sides slinging mud, making tenuous connections, and outright lying. Admittedly, I have a preference for one side over the other, but like most people nowadays that means less than it used to and I have truly tried to be “fair” in my analysis of recent politicking. What I have seen from both sides makes me gag.

It seems to me that the strategies on both sides of the isle amount to this: avoid answering any questions;lie/stretch the truth whenever you feel you can get away with it (or even when you know you can’t), and don’t forget to act arrogant. If you doubt my generalization, I implore you to go to johnmccain.com or barackobama.com and look at the ads for yourself, watch the debates, or just snippets on youtube. What’s even worse is that the media has come to expect this childishness. Some of you may be thinking “So what?! – this is politics.” It is my hope that most of you don’t feel that way and just accept this behavior as the status quo.

I think what gets to me about this whole election cycle is how fundamentally un-Sikh-like the behavior has been. Let me explain. As a Sikh – I like to look at things through my Sikh glasses and when something is fuzzy or just doesn’t make sense, it is time to analyze why. Growing up as a Sikh and trying to live a gursikh life now, I have come to think of certain things – stand up for what you believe in, speak the truth – as almost requirements for being a good person. Gurbani provides numerous references to such virtuesand whileI am sure they are no different from many other religions, I think they are much more pronounced in the Sikh faith. Integrity, honesty, and courage are central to Sikhi. So from this perspective I evaluate recent campaign tactics.

Ultimately, my point is that the campaigns aren’t making their cases very well to someone like me, who is wearing gold rimmed, khanda shaped, Sikh glasses. Ideally, I’d like a President who I can feel good about, someone I see as a role model, and right now the choices leave much to be desired…

By the way, despite the above I feel one of the candidates is at least trying to steer clear of the muck and focus on the issues…so I give props to OBAMA for that. Go OBAMA!


Sikhs: turning religulous?

Last week Bill Maher was a guest on the Daily Show, promoting his new movie Religulous and offering a clip. The clip happened to show a sardar in a London park, which was the extent of any Sikh’s appearance in the movie.

The name, ‘Religulous,’ is a portmanteau blending the words 1) religion and 2) ridiculous, and examines the overlap of those concepts. The movie’s proclaimed purpose is to promote doubt in the minds of those who have blocked doubt in religious teachings completely and subsequently hold totally irrational beliefs (i.e. reject evolution), though those who actually go to watch the movie probably wouldn’t be completely opposed to such doubt to bereligulous.jpggin with. Of course at some point the explanations of rationality end, and there is the unknown. The point of the movie is to admit that it actually is unknown, and show that those who claim to know, really don’t.

In the movie, Bill Maher interviews people from a variety of backgrounds and religious faiths (from a former head of the Human Genome Project and the former Director of the Vatican observatory to a British rapper). Some hold more nuanced views than others. He listens and asks questions of people who staunchly believe in literal translations of age old texts even when their beliefs scientifically absurd, and has some interesting (and comical) conversations. My favorite interview by far was with a very rational Vatican priest who happily admitted that Jesus’ birthday is not on December 25th and the Catholic church has absolutely no idea when it really is.

Continue Reading »


Kar Seva – A Sikh Environmentalist Stands Out

Time magazine recently named Balbir Singh Seechewal amongst its “Heroes of the Environment 2008.” The acknowledgement highlights the work ofactivists such as Balbir Singh and shows how their passion and innovation can positively impact the environment. Balbir Singh is described as “the Sikh who cleans the corrupted rivers of India,” and he is accoladed for his work of cleaning the historic Kali Bein river. The 99-mile-long river, in the Hoshiarpur district, is considered historically significant because Guru Nanak Dev Jiwas said to have received enlightenment after taking a dip in the Kali Bein river. However, due to years of neglect, the riverhas becomea containment of waste,

Over the past couple of decades it was reduced to a filthy drain into which six towns and more than 40 villages emptied their waste. Parts of the river dried up, leaving neighboring farmlands parched. Its polluted waters also seeped underground, contaminating the groundwater and causing lethal diseases.

In 2000, Balbir Singh and inspired volunteers decided to use the concept of kar seva (voluntary service)to physically clear the entire riverbed and build riverbanks and roads alongside the river. In addition, they educated the locals via a public-awareness campaignon how to keep the river clear of waste. Today the river is not only cleared of sewage, but the natural springs have been revived and the river is once again flowing.

As we join others in praising Balbir Singh and his volunteers for what they have accomplished with the Kali Bein river,I also want to highlightthe concept of Kar Seva and take the liberty to ask if we do enough of it? The most famous examples of Kar Seva occurred at theDarbar Sahib in Amritsar. I have seen picturesand videos of thelast Kar Seva which occurred in Amritsar – andI have to admit,I don’t think words can describe the power of those images.

We seem to be pre-occupied with building new gurdwaras (yes, I know – that’s a whole other issue), but i mention it to simply say that as acommunity, we don’tdo a very good job at sustaining our current establishments. Whether we speak of our historic gurdwaras in Punjab (both East and West Punjab) or if we think about our gurdwaras here in North America – there is a lot of Kar Seva which can be done. After seeing the images of Kar Seva at the Darbar Sahib, it isamazing to me howour community can mobilize itself to such an extent and peform such an incredible act. And yet, in many communities and at many gurdwaras, we struggle with keeping the kitchenclean or the trash picked up. Can Kar Seva exist outside of Punjab? It just makes you wonder….


Sikh : India :: Uyghur : China

3818marie_eve.jpgIn an article published in the academic journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, last year, a PhD student in political science, Marie-Eve Reny makes a comparative study of political mobilization amongst the Sikhs of Punjab and the Uyghurs of Xinjiang in China.

The Uyghurs are a Muslim community of Turkic descent in Western China. Many in the region have been fighting for their independence from China to establish Uyghurstan.

For her abstract, Marie-Eve Reny writes:

This article examines the reasons why the politicization of language has not been translated into disruptive forms of ethnic mobilization as opposed to the political salience of religion among the Uyghurs in Xinjiang throughout the 1990s and the Sikhs before and after the creation of Punjab in 1966. The article argues, from a structural-rationalist perspective, that language-based claims in Xinjiang and in Punjab have been accommodated by the respective central governments to a larger extent than religious claims have. Accommodation has taken the form of particular policies as well as greater incorporation of minority elites on the basis of language, which have in turn significantly reduced the possibilities of anti-regime sentiments and the incentives for disruptive forms of pressure on the basis of linguistic claims among the minority group. Religious claims have, however, not been accommodated in a similar way.

Continue Reading »


Gurdwara Funds: A Fine Line…

Often on this blog we have discussed what role our institutions should play in our lives and recently I had an opportunity to examine the issue anew. In a recent gurdwara council meeting I attended, one gurdwara decided to give a large sum of money to a group putting on a bhangra program. The group was not affiliated with the gurdwara. I will admit, I did not say anything at the time because I do not attend the gurdwara that decided to do this, but the incident did get me thinking about gurdwara funds and the concept of daswand.

When a gurdwara collects funds from the sangat it does so under the pretence that the money is being collected to be put to some higher use, a use that we ourselves could perhaps not put it to, whether it be spiritual or practical. Usually we give the money as part of our daswand or some random seva to the gurdwara, but I think in every case it is understood that we are giving the money up to be put to a use that our Gurus would have used it for something necessary, something practical, and fundamentally good.

And as I write this post, some questions that I havent even answered for myself come to mind – Is the daswand I give to the gurdwara something I have a right to control can I decide where it goes? If Sikhi is to be treated like a democracy, I would argue that absolutely I have every right to vote on where the funds go or at least have a chance to say something. But even in such a vote should there be limits? Shouldnt the funds of a gurdwara be spent on activities, which embody Sikh ideals and values? Presently, I am inclined to believe that sangat should have a say in where gurdwara funds are spent, but also that the options for spending funds should be limited to projects that actually embody and promote Sikh ideals.

But back to where we started I brought bhangra up because it is something that can be debated Im not contending that it is an anti-Sikh activity, but at the same time, I dont really think bhangra is something that perpetuates the Sikh way of life either. So I guess the dilemma in my mind in determining where the gurdwara should be spending its funds and where to draw the line


Man vs. Machine: Sikh Chakkar

Yesterday a friend sent me a link to a fascinating episode of a Discovery Channel program. The “Weapon Masters” series looks at various pre-industrial weaponry and their historical development, usage, and production. For the “entertainment” value, it pits traditional usage against a ‘pimped’ up version using modern machine-technology.

The show’s summary states:

Weapon Masters explores the history and science of ten weapons of the ancient world. Hosting the series is internationally known weapons expert and historian, Mike Loades. In each hour-long episode, Mike travels to a different international location to examine one particular ancient weapon and learn first-hand about the cultures where the weapon was used. He is assisted by an expert who demonstrates the techniques behind each weapon. He then challenges his co-host and master craftsman, Chad, to improve upon it using modern manufacturing techniques and materials. [link]

In a recent episode, aired in England, the subject was the quoit or Sikh Chakkar / Chakkram.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5547025680137386480

Continue Reading »


A strange and unecessary effect of women in politics

In anticipation of Biden’s showdown with Palin tonight, as I wondered how Biden would perform in the strange, negotiated format that really favors Palin- allowing only 90 seconds for a response before two minutes for discussion (since every newscaster is cautioning Biden to not come across as chauvinistic) this picture gave me extra pause.

tymoshenko_and_putin.jpg

The headline reads: “Putin accuses Ukraine of having assisted Georgia during war”

That’s ….Putin ….accusing Ukraine (Tymoshenko is the Prime Minister) of assisting Georgia against Russia??

Ladies, they’re on our turf now!


Panjabi Food-Choices In The Diaspora

In an effort to better understand the food habitats of Panjabi immigrants, Canadian researchers conducted a three-year study on the ingredients used in daily Panjabi meals and food choices made by Panjabi families.punjabi-food-150x150.jpg

Gwen Chapman, study leader and British Columbia University nutrition professor, stated:

“Since cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes are more prevalent among Indians and they are linked to food habits, we wanted to understand what ingredients went into daily Punjabi or Indian meals.

An important part of study was also understanding how cultural affiliations play a role in Panjabi immigrant food choices.

Researchers found that in Punjabi families in British Columbia separate meals are often prepared to accommodate elders who need traditional roti, daal and subji, and younger family members who prefer to balance Indian and “Canadian” foods.

While reading this article I thought about how these food choices actually play out in immigrant Panjabi homes across North America. I remember the rotis without butter for those who have high cholesterol and the weekend meal of burger and fries for us American kids. There were also the interesting masalaa pastas, lasagnas, and pizzas that had a Panjabi twist (i.e. tons of garam-masalaa). I recall uncles refusing to eat kaa-foos prepared by their wives, aunties making tofu-sabiji, and mothers substituting olive oil for vegetable oil when making tarkas. Many of these food choices were an effort to provide more healthy meals as a preventive form of action against heart disease and diabetes; while others were made to satisfy taste-buds.

So I was wondering what interesting food choices have you seen Panjabi families make in the Diaspora both to satisfy taste-buds and become more healthy?


Mr. Singh Goes to Washington, Er, Ottawa

As part of its series on the upcoming federal elections in Canada, the Globe and Mail offers this article on the emergence and success of Sikhs in the Canadian political scene. Consider:politics-300x213.jpg

  • Sikhs [are] the only group with a greater number of MPs than their share of the population.
  • [In the House of Commons,] Punjabi is now the fourth most common language, after English, French and Italian.
  • Many Sikh candidates live in Mississauga and Brampton, where they comprise 15 per cent and 19 per cent of the population respectively.
  • [There are] 17 Punjabi newspapers in Brampton [Link]

These statistics are very impressive. I applaud the Sikh candidates for their participation in Canadian politics (which cuts against the suggestion that Sikhs are not sufficiently integrating into Canadian society). And I thank this publication for highlighting the political advancements that Sikhs are making in Canada.

That said, I am troubled by two parts of the article:

Continue Reading »


Blue-turbanned Sikh at the first presidential debate

sardar_at_first_presidential_debate.pngWere you watching the Presidential debate last Friday? Did you catch flashes of a sardar in a blue turban? I assume that anyone who did was equally as surprised as I was (though happily so). Well, who is the mystery man? He’s Arvinder Singh Kang, a twenty five year old who was the only Punjabi, and the only Sikh at the University of Mississipi when he came from Punjab to do a graduate degree.

I came to the U.S. in the fall of 2005, as a graduate student at the University of Mississippi. From a proud Sikh family, I was the first kid from my village and from my maternal and paternal lineage to come to America for studies.

I brought twenty-something Puggs (turbans). I knew Japji Sahib by heart and had been exposed to Sikh history more than I had been to comics. All through my undergrad years, I had taught my juniors how to wear a turban. There was no doubt, whatever the circumstances might be, I would always be a Turbanator!

While boarding a plane from London’s Gatwick Airport, I sat beside a Sikh girl living in Houston who was born and raised in London. “…So it’s going to be hard to keep a turban in university”, she said in a lovely British accent.

“Much nee te kuch nee!” (What’s a man without a mustache) I had quipped. [link]

You can read more from Arvinder at Sikhchic.


French Muslims Find Refuge In… Catholic Schools?

The NYT recently covered the rising admission of Muslim students in Catholic schools, unsurprisingly, because there is a greater freedom to practice their faith in Catholic school than in “secular” public schools:

French Sikhs Protest Religious Ban

There is respect for our religion here, said Nadia Oualane, 14, a student of Algerian descent who wears her hair hidden under a black head scarf. In the public school, she added, gesturing at nearby buildings, I would not be allowed to wear a veil.

The experience of French Muslims mimics the crushing oppression that Sikhs and other religious minorities face under France’s harsh and discriminatory anti-religious policies:

The quiet migration of Muslims to private Catholic schools highlights how hard it has become for state schools, long Frances tool for integration, to keep their promise of equal opportunity…

Imam Bencheikhs oldest daughter attends Catholic school. Its ironic, he said, but today the Catholic Church is more tolerant of and knowledgeable about Islam than the French state.

In a recent state meeting between the French and Indian PMs, Sarkozy and Singh, respectively, reporters used the opportunity to reopen the question of how the religious ban has impacted Sikhs. Sarkozy ignored the disparate impact of the ban by claiming that its uniform application meant it had no discriminatory intent [Hat tip, Tejinder]:

Visibly irritated, Sarkozy continued, “But sir, we have rules, rules concerning the neutrality of civil servants, rules concerning secularism, and these rules don’t apply only to Sikhs, they apply to Muslims or others. They apply to all on the territory of the French Republic.”

His comments, however, about the universal nature of this ban are contradicted by his Minister of National Education, who indicates that there is an explicitly anti-hijab and anti-Muslim intent behind this policy:

The head scarf is a sexist sign, and discrimination between the sexes has no place in the republican school, Frances minister of national education, Xavier Darcos, said in a telephone interview. That is the fundamental reason why we are against it.

Muslim enrollment in Catholic schools is facilitated, in part, by marginally “freer” religious practice options, but also by the idea of a shared Abrahamanic history and God. Where do Sikhs find refuge, both in the context of education and religious practice, given their distinct history, practice, and interaction with Judeo-Christian institutions? France’s ban has been decried by human rights organizations and religious organizations, but little positive action has taken place against the ban. Indeed, in some cases the State’s reaction seems retaliatory.


Are Sikhs in Haryana what Sarah Palin is to the Republican ticket?

Though this may not be the best analogy, I’m going to make it. It seems the Congress party in Haryana made the demand for a separate Gurdwara committee, in order to mobilize Sikh votes in their favor (at least according to one news source).haryana.gif

What is also well known is that Haryanas Sikh vote has traditionally been mobilised by the SAD(B) for Devi Lal and then his son Om Prakash Chautalas party. After 1984, the anti-Congress vote headed in that direction even more. By all accounts, the 2005 Assembly elections also the one in which the Congress manifesto included the demand for a separate gurdwara management body for Haryana constituted a break in the story. According to a CSDS survey, 50 per cent of the Sikh vote in Haryana went to the Congress in 2004, and only 35 per cent to Chautalas INLD. [link]

And Sarah Palin- as qualified as she may be- was not selected to run as Vice President because of her outstanding qualifications, but for her token status as a woman. It was hoped that she would fulfill the dreams of Hillary supporters who wanted the glass ceiling in the White House shattered. (From what I’ve seen in the polls though, this doesn’t seem to have worked. The women who rallied behind Hillary don’t want a token representative.)

Continue Reading »


Revisiting Pashaura Singh and Punjabi and Sikh Studies

sikh27akfm_400.jpgThis post is sort of dedicated to P.Singh. Let me first begin by saying that I agreed with ALL (and I use that word only after re-reading all of his comments) of the points that he made in a prior post (not all of his comments in other posts, but I digress.).

However, I did want to revisit the topic of Dr. Pashaura Singh in light of some more news, posit a contrarian viewpoint based on an academic article, and then revisit the question of endowed Sikh chairs.

Update on Dr. Pashaura Singh

On Friday of last week, Sikhs throughout California organized buses down to the UC Riverside campus to protest Dr. Pashaura Singhs hire as the chair of the endowed Jasbir Singh Saini Chair in Sikh and Punjabi Language Studies. While newspaper articles stated that over 300 people were in attendance, my own eye-witness sources claim that it was in excess of 500.

Continue Reading »


The kirpan and Montreal’s assault case against a Sikh youth

Earlier today I stumbled on this article in the Montreal Gazette detailing the suspension, and now calls for a speedy trial, for a Sikh boy accused of assault:Kirpan

The teenager made his first appearance on the charges in Montreal Youth Court yesterday where he pleaded not guilty to three counts alleging he used a kirpan, a Sikh religious object that resembles a dagger, to threaten his schoolmates.

This case comes on the heels of another landmark Quebec case in which Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously voted to protect the right of Sikh school children to wear the kirpan (with some limitations on its use) in 2006.

But did the boy actually draw, or use, his kirpan during the argument? At first blush, it sounds like this was a schoolyard disagreement, but if the boy drew his kirpan it would be incredibly inappropriate, both under dharmic understandings and under school policy. But on reinspection, it’s unclear if this incident actually ever happened, or if this is a racist reaction against the kirpan. The boy’s lawyer, the same man who argued the Supreme Court case for accommodation of the kirpan, believes the reaction is racist:

Grey accused the Montreal police and the Marguerite Bourgeoys school board of “overreacting.” He also said a large part of Quebec society has never accepted the Supreme Court’s decision.

“I think that what we’re witnessing – it’s my opinion and the court will decide – is a deep bias against the kirpan that has never died in Quebec…”

If his lawyer is correct, then this brings up a larger issue: how do inclusion policies and values translate on the ground if a region or group is hostile to accommodation?

Legal protection of the kirpan is vitally important and relevant and worth protecting, but, if this incident did not take place, how many Sikh children will be pressured, harassed, and suspended from schools for exercising their right to practce their faith? In this case, the school board is not an advocate for the Sikh child (and in the previous kirpan case, when the school drafted an accommodation policy it was invalidated by the school board as well); if that democratic channel fails, then how can we support families in this position?


Sarah Palin meets Manmohan Singh

It’s Friday. Hooray! On that note, I think a light hearted post is needed for today. As David Letterman recently pointed out: McCain taking Palin to meet with world leaders at the United Nations this week was like “take-your-daughter-to-work day.” Oooh Snap!

singh_palin.jpg

HopefullyManmohan Singhdidn’t gush over Governer’s Palin’s looks as his neighbor did earlier this week!

Enjoy the Presidential Debate tonight and have a good weekend Langarites!


Standing Up for the Truth… and Against Other Sikhs

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Muslims and Arabs in America engaged in various efforts to respond to the post-9/11 backlash. narinder-200x300.jpgFor example, in the halls of Congress they advocated against discriminatory security measures and in the courts of law they pressed allegations of employment discrimination and airport profiling.

Muslim- and Arab-Americans also turned to another, perhaps less conventional forum: stand-up comedy clubs. For example, a comedy show, “Allah Made Me Funny,” was “an attempt by a group of American Muslim comics to counter the negative stereotypes and attitudes about Muslims and Arabs by poking fun at themselves, their communities and the prejudices they face.” [Link; see also here, here, and here.]

The latest edition of Newsweek contains an article by one Sikh, Narinder Singh, regarding his attempts to use comedy for the same purpose.

Continue Reading »


Spinning Wheel Festival: A Celebration of Sikh Arts

Heads-up friends, the season of the Spinning Wheel Festival is about to begin across North America this autumn. Celebrating Sikh films and art, the first stop will be in New York City on Saturday, October 04, 2008 at the Asia Society & Museum (p.s. thats next Saturday). Buy your tickets NOW! The wonderful Rabbi Shergill will be performing at the opening gala (yes I am really biased here I heart Rabbi Shergill) and DJ Rekha will be literally spinning at the after party.

Films a the NYC festival will range from documentaries on Pahelwani (i.e. Panjabi wrestling) and Kabaddi-playing Canadian police officers to issues affecting the Sikh community from 1984 and post-9/11 hate crimes. There will also be short and feature films. For example, one on a young boys struggle to keep his hair while his family fears the obstacles he will encounter and another on a young Sikh doctor struggling with the inequities of the American Health System and ultimately his own identity. The Holy Duels of Hola Mohalla is a film looking at the Khalsa Panth.

The films seem interesting both in content and presentation. The stories are grounded in the realities many of us encounter everyday. You can get a full listing of the films and their synopses here.

In the past, I have attended the Spinning Wheel Festival at one of its many North American stops and found it a great space for artists and art-enthusiasts to be exposed to Sikh creativity. I remember there being a panel discussion with the directors and the audience. We dont have too many of these creative opportunities in our community even though we spend plenty of time and space advertising foreign medical schools in Poland, China, and the Caribbean.

I have found that some films are really hit or miss at these festivals, but its expected sense the focus is on cultivating and inspiring creativity; while, building a permanent Sikh film festival for years to come. Cash prizes are awarded to the bests in various categories. I have been told that the listing and quality of films varies across the different North American stops.

At the end of the day why not go, especially if its close by. I personally think its worth a visit as an act of supporting Sikh arts and learning about the various issues affecting our community. Sometimes we get too caught up in our own worlds and dont realize these issues are taking place or we are in amidst of them and they become normal parts of our lives leaving very little room for reflection or exposure to others perceptions. Thus, its an opportunity to get a fresh/new look at various issues.

Lastly, the arts, from painting and photography to films and music, are our communitys soul! They help us speak in ways we cant always articulate. So go save your soul and attend a Sikh artistic event! :)

Okay, enough of the attempt at convincing the other North American stops will be:

  • Toronto, Canada from October 10-12, 2008 at the Isabel Bader Theatre.
  • Hollywood, California from November 14-16, 2008 at the Writers Guild Theatre.

Are yall thinking of going? What have your experiences been at the various Spinning Wheel Festivals? Does anyone know of other North American stops?

p.p.s. The Toronto and Hollywood poster is really interesting isn’t it … a conversation in of itself!


A Sikh tele-drama?

[Joint post by Singh and Reema]

The plot is thick. Nearly 100 million Phillipine pesos are at stake (roughly $ 2.2 million USD). Multiple groups of god-father like figures control entourages of loyal henchmen. Money is being used for unauthorized purposes, and powerful figures have put competitors out of play – risking not just the money, but [dun dun dun]…their lives!
manila_khalsa_diwan.jpg
Is this:

(a) The set of Al Capone?

(b) A government paramilitary force under a dictatorship?

(c) The Punjab Police?

(d) Or is it just the story of a gurdwara?

You guessed it: the answer is (d)!

This is the set for the latest episode of “Who Wants to be a Pardhaan (President of the Gurdwara),” and it takes place in Manila, where a battle for control of the local guru ghar has been waged for years. We had heard of this type of thing being publicized in the West (Europe and the Americas), but why should the Phillipines be any different – and undoubtedly this story has just as much drama and un-Sikh-like behavior as any we have heard. It goes something like this:

2004: Bansal became Gurdwara president following a court-supervised elections. After coming into power, he looked into organizations assets and found that Amardeeps group (the old committee) had siphoned off P30.6 million from Gurdwara donations to a new corporation they had createdKhalsa Diwan (Sikh Religious Association) Inc.

Continue Reading »


Postpartum Depression Among South Asian Women

We are only beginning to hear about the prevalence of postpartum depression in the larger community, so it comes as no surprise to me that we hear about it even less within the South Asian community. Recent research suggests that Indian women, particularly new immigrants, may be at a higher risk of postpartum depression than their non-Indian counterparts. Experts suggest isolation stemming from the immigrant experience and a lack of the traditional support system often found in the home countries, as reasons for increased prevalence among Indian women.

In the United States, about one in 10 women suffers from postpartum depression (PPD). South Asian women may be at a higher risk for PPD, due to the impact of acculturation and cultural customs including factors such as arranged marriage and the gender of the child.

A groundbreaking 2007 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concluded that 28 percent of Indian American women suffered mild symptoms of postpartum depression and 24 percent suffered major symptoms. The paper-titled “Immigrant Asian Indian Women and Postpartum Depression” is the only study of Indian American women and postpartum depression. [link]

Dr. Nirmaljit Dhami, medical director of the new Maternal Outreach Mood Services program at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., says that post-birth, many women present symptoms of tearfulness and crying. Sadness, emptiness, feeling overwhelmed, having a short temper, appetite changes and withdrawal from family and friends are all symptoms common to postpartum depression. [link]

Continue Reading »


New Futures and ‘Insight into Sikhism’

For many of us Sikhs of Panjabi-background, those Sikhs that chose to embrace Sikhi (often termed as ‘goray Sikhs’, but by no means are all of them of such ‘gora’ background) are sometimes seen as an enigma. Too often stereotypes and easy labels such as ‘hippie’ or ‘weird’, knee-jerk opinions on ‘yoga’, or even a certain ‘guilt’ in terms of our own relationship with our Guru tend to be expressed in hushed tones. narayan.jpgHowever, such labels only dehumanize those that we should be most embracing as brothers and sisters of a shared Guru.

A recent article in a local Surrey newspaper recently has me re-thinking how as a Sikh community we can continue to strengthen our Qaum. Reading about Hari Nam Singh Khalsa’s own evolution was not only inspiring, but also a point for reflection.

The Oakville, Ontario resident is the host of the only English-language program on Canadian television that provides knowledge about Sikhi. His “Insight into Sikhism” airs on Saturday mornings throughout Canada (you can click here for Canadian times and channels). On the show’s website, the program’s purpose is described as:

Each week, host HariNam Singh Khalsa explains aspects of the Sikh religion and its relevance to modern day issues. Insight into Sikhism introduces the core principles of Sikhism in a simple and basic format in English for everyone to understand. HariNam Singhs mission is to spread the universal teachings of Sikhism to people of all faiths.[link]

Although I have never seen the show (if you have, please do comment and let us know your thoughts about it), it seems like a remarkable and much-needed project.

Continue Reading »


Page 49 of 65« First...102030...4748495051...60...Last »