Ranjeet Singh – CORRECTION and Other Updates

ranjeet_singh.jpg

It has now been confirmed by Navkiran Singh, well-known human rights advocate and a lawyer for Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana, that Ranjeet Singh is in critical condition, but is alive. Our apologies for the incorrect information, but one can understand that with information from Punjab being limited, details are being lost.

Yesterday I wrote about Jaspal Singh, whose loss became well-circulated, due to social media and the outstanding work of Sangat TV and the Sikh Channel.

ranjeetsingh.JPGA very young Ranjeet Singh Mandher, only 16 years old, son of Jaswinder Singh, from villagePandher (Mukerian road) was shot by police. With the heavy police fire, no one came to help him. The veer had to take his own rickshaw to the hospital. From there the hospital in Gurdaspur sent him to Amritsar, where he is in stable condition. I am including the only picture I have received of the youth. If others can provide more information about this young student, please do send it to us.

In other news, Bibi Kamaljeet Kaur was not allowed to meet the family of Jaspal Singh in Gurdaspur. She was stopped on orders from the government. Such is the government of Badal, where police offers open fire and underlings can only be suspended. It only follows the logic of one that would promote a murderer as Sumedh Saini as DGP and give coveted MLA seats to the wife of a butcher like Izhar Alam. The Punjab Government fears Bibi Kamaldeep Kaur and are trying to limit her movement. At present, she is still giving interviews on Sangat TV and other media outlets. Sangat TV has a livestream that can be seen here as does the Sikh Channel, which can be seen here.

Continue Reading »


Fallen Singh – Jaspal Singh, Update, and Shiv Sena

jaspalsingh.jpgDetails are murky, so to do a full analysis at this point is difficult. Right now, we stand to document the events. According to numerous reports, Shiv Sena from mainly Gujarat and Maharastra are entering Punjab. Gurdaspur has been a long-time stronghold of the Shiv Sena as well. Those that are arriving seem to be arguing that if Sikhs could shut down the state yesterday that they would be able to do it today. Read here from our live-blogger from Amritsar that shares much of the same information.

At Gurdaspur this morning, Jaspal Singh, a young 18 year old Sikh boy from Chor Sidhvan village, was killed by police firing. Below the tab you can find an eye-witness video of how the Sumedh Saini’s rogue police has differential treatment towards the Sikh youth and the out-of-state-arriving Shiv Sena. Remember it was Sukhbir Badal, the so-called heir apparent, that personally chose this known human rights abuser to be the Director General of Police. Murders are lauded in Punjab. It was this same Badal that ran for election the wife of the one of the worst butchers of Punjab – Farzana Alam. Farzana’s husband, Izhar Alam, ran his own crack team, called the “Alam Sena” that would give criminals unlimited powers to run wild. His own atrocities are stunning. Eye witness accounts describe his atrocities on women and his summary executions. These are our new “leaders” of Punjab installed by Badal

YouTube Preview Image

Continue Reading »


LIVE FROM AMRITSAR – Day 2 (day after the Punjab Bandh)

rajoana2.jpgDay 2, March 29: Day after 1st Punjab Bandh

I tend to spend my nights at the Darbar Sahib, emerging from the complex around 9 am from the Manji Sahib jorha house. What I saw this morning near the South side of the Darbar Sahib complex near Baba Atal was notedly different from the scenes described yesterday.

As I walked towards the South side of the complex, there were sounds of people yelling and a general sense of urgency in people around me. When I reached the street, there was a large haphazard group of people filling the street speaking loudly and excitedly to each other. Many were kirpans and some had sticks in their hands.

I headed to the side to make my routine stop at the Nescafe shop for some coffee and learned from the Nescafe Uncle that Shiv Sena was coming to Punjab cities to exact retaliation for the arrest of 14 Hindu men/boys in Ludhiana yesterday. The 14 men/boys had been arrested as they caused damage/ruckus in front of Sikh shops that had been closed on Punjab Bandh, and got into a tussle with local groups of protesters as well. Shiv Sena had declared that if Khalistanis could shut down Punjab on Wednesday, they would shut it down on Thursday.

I headed next door to the Bram Butta Bazaar to run some errands, where the Uncle Ji at the shop excitedly explained that a group of Shiv Sena had entered the city at the Hall Gate (Amritsar Khaas) and started throwing stones/bricks at open businesses. I had noticed earlier that some of the shops were still closed today even though Punjab Bandh was yesterday. From the shop Uncle I learned that Shiv Sena called for Hindus to close their shops today. Shiv Sena was now harassing businesses that were still open, businesses that were expected to be of Sikhs or of non-sympathizers. Many of the Bram Butta Bazaar shops also started to bring in their displays and the Uncle urged me to run my errands tomorrow and get out towards the West side of the Darbar Sahib complex and head home.

Continue Reading »


LIVE FROM AMRITSAR – Day 1 on Punjab Bandh

rajoana2.jpgThe following are daily live reports we have been receiving from a friend in Amritsar. This came from yesterday (March 28, 2012) on the Day of the Bandh. So long as we hear from them, we’ll keep posting. We’re posting this exactly as they wrote it – spelling, capitalizations, and all.

Hi guys, a friend asked and I know a few others might be curious so here is what i’m seeing today. Sorry for being somewhat terse and possibly rambling, I’m kinda taking a break when i dont have time for it:

Outside my door is loud and rowdy as its a shutee for everyone and the kids are running around playing with the adults sitting and drinking cha…

Beyond my street, in Amritsar Khaas, its not nervous, its not calm either, but everything is shut down. it is quiet and more deserted than i’ve ever seen. Patiala is pretty much entirely shut down, Ludhiana is half open, half closed. Here, around Darbar Sahib, everything is closed and there is less sangat. It is definitely the quietest Amritsar i’ve ever seen.

Most ppl wandering around are ppl in orange paghs and dupattay, not to make it sound like there are mobs of them however, there are some groups, and many people going about as individuals in orange. the army has been making short marches around the city mainly to show that they are here and to give non-sympathizers a feeling of security. but there are also short marches of supporters.

It does not feel like any kind of revolution or w.e. the heck ppl are calling it on facebook and twitter. its mostly a political ploy, and the events that have occured up to Punjab Band in Siyasat and the folks leading these efforts make me want to throw up at their farce.

they won’t hang Rajoana. they’ll commute it to life and cut off our legs at the knees by doing so, and by ‘our’ i mean the panth and Rajoana’s qurbani that landed him in jail to begin with and his wish to kiss the noose and go out with a jakara.

i’m also sickened by how much of twitter and facebook doesn’t get the idea of “Shaheed” with their stupid petitions.

The most exciting thing that happened personally was an argument I and a friend got into with some bhaiyay at a juice stand. they didn’t know why ‘some guy was being hung’ and when we interjected with an explanation, we discovered two of them were patriots. at this point, the juice stand guy (who had an om tatoo on his hand and tikka on his forehead) told them to ‘dafaa ho’ and heartily declared that Rajoana was a Sher and they should have sharam before they speak without knowing what this man experienced first hand at hands of police and that he had more ijjat and drarirtaa than any of them would ever have combined.

Continue Reading »


Why We Salute Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana

News of the Punjab bandh have overwhelmingly described it as a success. The community is in a wait-and-see mode. Unfortunately I feel that the political machine is already manipulating the system to create disenchantment and disillusion.

Some are claiming that the “stay” against execution should be read as a victory. First off this goes AGAINST the wishes of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana himself. He asked us NOT to do this. I, too, disagreed with this being read as a victory and described it in a previous post. A friend in Punjab expressed the same sentiment BEFORE the announcement as well:

they won’t hang Rajoana. they’ll commute it to life and cut off our legs at the knees by doing so, and by ‘our’ i mean the panth and Rajoana’s qurbani that landed him in jail to begin with and his wish to kiss the noose and go out with a jakara. [link]

Political pundits are weighing in with their laughable opinions. Jonathan Kay of Canada would wish we stopped lauding Rajoana and instead admire Tara Hayer. He really has no clue. The only editorial I found actually interesting, despite my disagreement, was that of Yug Mohit Chaudhry in The Hindu.

A beautiful and moving video called “The Salutation” gives the reason for why all of us are united in saluting Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana and why he represents a spirit that will not die – the spirit of the Khalsa and its commitment towards ensaaf/adalat (justice).

YouTube Preview Image

UPDATED: “Stay” of Execution Announced – Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana

UPDATE: In accordance to Badal’s great game, he allowed for the bandh, but won’t let this moment fall from his bony and corrupt grasp. He has already imprisoned all those that may possibly post a challenge to him. Daljit Singh Bittu and others are being imprisoned throughout Punjab as we type this post. Just as Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana said, we are getting played by these blue-turban wearers.

Signs of victories and congratulations are being issued by Sikhs on social media. The question was not ‘if’ a stay would be announced, but ‘when.’ This is the game….

It was always going to occur. More than even the Central Govt, Badal fears the Shaheed. The Shaheed has convictions, where he has none. This is how Badal does stage management of the Sikhs – allow the kettle to boil, but not too much. Then show the Central Government that only you are the mastermind that can “control” the Sikhs, cementing your importance to them.

How to break this? Up the ante. This is my humble suggestion – Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana has showed his convictions. While we (against his wishes) circulated petitions and asked for clemency, he only asked for justice. The stage is set. If he were to begin a hunger strike for justice asking for the release of all political prisoners, the Government of India could not accede. The Punjab Government would be brought to its knees if during this hunger strike, the Sikhs converged upon Patiala.

Let us not pat our backs about the “stay.” We are being manipulated before our eyes. We have seen our potential (the amazing pictures of kesri flags throughout Punjab and even at India Gate attest to this). However, the march must continue….

Continue Reading »


Zindabaad

Guest blogged by Preeti Kaur

For Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana

For everyone who flies the kesri jhaanda today

 

ZINDABAAD TO THE KESRI FLAG WAVING ACROSS MY HEART

ZINDABAAD TO MARCH 31, 2012

ZINDABAAD TO THE EYES

ZINDABAAD TO THE LUNGS

ZINDABAAD TO THE WRIST WHICH WEARS THE KARA TO REMAIN SHACKLED TO THE SKY

ZINDABAAD TO THE ROPE

ZINDABAAD TO THE TATI TAVI

ZINDABAAD TO THE BELLS RINGING

ZINDABAAD TO THE BRIDGE

ZINDABAAD TO THE LAMP

ZINDABAAD TO THE KIRPAN DIPPED IN INK

ZINDABAAD TO THE CHILDREN OF THE FIELDS RUNNING AWAY RUNNING TOWARD

ZINDABAAD TO THE DISAPPEARED WE REMEMBER

ZINDABAAD TO THE DISAPPEARED WE FORGOT

ZINDABAAD TO THE ASHES WHICH COULD NOT TRAVEL TO KIRATPUR SAHIB

Continue Reading »


Worldwide Events in Honor of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana

rajoana2.jpgThis post is a community work-in-progress. Facebook events are popping up by the hour. I am hoping we supplement the fine effort’s of Berkeley SSF’s Facebook page – Global Movement for Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana. Send links, suggestions, and details in the comment-section and I will update them.

A rekindled spirit is sweeping the Sikhs. This is the wonder of the Shaheed.

WORLDWIDE

  • We will ALL be flying Nishan Sahibs from our homes. Send us your pictures!
  • #IpledgeOrange – wear orange in support of Balwant Singh Rajoana on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

PUNJAB

  • Bandh is scheduled for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28th, 2012. All students, workers, famers, shop-keepers, etc. are asked to fly their kesri Nishan Sahibs high and stay home. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT. NRPs call your family, message friends on FB, and let’s shut down the state in solidarity. As our last great Jarnail of the Panth oft reminded us – “We are not a minority; we are a nation.”

CANADA

  • York – Kirtan for Chardikala of Balwant Singh Rajoana on Thursday, March 29, 2012 from 4:30pm-8pm. Click here for more details.
  • GTA (Greater Toronto Area) – Kesri Nishan Car Rally in Support of Balwant Singh Rajoana on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 6pm. Click here for details.
  • GTA (Greater Toronto Area) – Discussion on Balwant Singh Rajoana and State Murder on Friday, March 30, 2012 at 7pm, Dixie Gurdwara, Hall 5, led by Sikh Activist Network.

UNITED KINGDOM

  • Birmingham to London – Convoy for Rajoana (youth) – Thursday, March 29, 2012 – 12pm departure Birmingham; 1pm departure Coventry; 3pm departure Oxford; 6pm arrival Houses of Parliament. See here for details.
  • Birmingham – Protest to Free Rajoana – Saturday, March 31, 2012 from 1-4pm. Click here for details.

UNITED STATES

  • New York – Rally for Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana – Wednesday, March 28, 2012 – 11am-2pm, 47th St.-1st Ave – see here for more details.
  • Sacramento – Ardas for Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana’s Chardikala, West Sac Gurdwara, Friday, March 30, 2012 at 6pm. See here for details.

EUROPE

  • Brussels, Belgium – March in Celebration of Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana – Thursday, March 29, 2012, 11-4pm in front of European Parliament Building. See here for details.

MALAYSIA

AUSTRALIA
  • Canberra, Australia – Protest in Support of Bhai Balwant SIngh Rajoana – Wednesday, March 28, 2012. Buses are available. See here for details.

OTHERS


The Wonder of the Shaheed Shaheed da Gazab – Bhai Sahib Balwant Singh Rajoana

rajoana.jpg

Kaum shaheed Guru dey buhey
Kar suthee Ardasaan

Nation at the Gurus door
I was asleep after Ardas

These lines penned by the Panths last poet Harinder Singh Mehboob. These lines ring true today, as they did nearly three decades ago.

It is the blood of the martyr that stirs a slumbering nation; it is the blood of the martyr that scares those in their palaces of power.

Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana has shaken the Sikhs. From London to Ludhiana, from Surrey to San Francisco, Sikhs are showing that the spirit of the community is not dead. We are not so focused on elections, careers, wealth, and family to forget the soul of the nation.

Although well-intentioned, I have seen some Sikhs circulating various petitions asking for clemency or a stay on the execution. They may not have read Bhai Sahibs own words he is calling to become a Shaheed. I humbly request people to stop circulating these petitions.

Punjabis and Sikhs in music and in conversations often lament for another Bhagat Singh or another Jarnail of the Panth. The wonder of the Shaheed stands before us. He asks not for leniency, but he asks to be embraced in the arms of the Guru as he marches to his wedding day on March 31, 2012. He has proudly admitted his actions and seeks judgment not from the courts of tyrants, but only from the Court of the Timeless. We are to celebrate that one Sikh stands tall with dignity, his dastar, his smile, and his Guru.

Others online have called for Ardas, akhand paaths, simran, and kirtan. All this is wonderful and should be done.

However, Bhai Sahib Balwant Singh Rajoana has called for something else.

He has called ALL SIKHS to fly Kesri flags on March 31, 2012. Please tell your friends and family to fly the flag from their dorm rooms, homes, apartments, businesses, and offices. Share your pictures on the internet and social media so that we take strength from one another. As our last Panthic Jarnail repeatedly reminded us – We are NOT a minority; we are nation.

Continue Reading »


21st Century Lynching with Impunity

17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s life was taken away from him a few weeks ago in a gated community in Florida simply because of the color of his skin. On his way back from picking up a pack of Skittles and an iced tea at the local 7-11, he was shot dead by 26-year-old George Zimmerman, who was a part of the neighborhood watch group and found Trayvon “suspicious.” Trayvon was wearing a hoodie and carrying a pack of Skittles, unarmed.

To date, Zimmerman has not been arrested nor charged with any crime.

A petition has been circulating on Change.org for the last week or so, calling on Florida prosecutors to charge Zimmerman with the murder of Trayvon Martin. In the last few days, the mainstream media has picked up on the story.

In a message sent through Change.org today, Trayvon’s parents said:

Our son didn’t deserve to die. Trayvon Martin was just 17 years old when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Trayvon wasn’t doing anything besides walking home with a bag of Skittles and some iced tea in his hands.

What makes Trayvons death so much harder is knowing that the man who confessed to killing Trayvon, George Zimmerman, still hasn’t been charged for Trayvons killing.

Despite all this, we have hope. Since we started to lead a campaign on Change.org, more than 500,000 people…have signed our petition calling for Florida authorities to prosecute our sons killer.

Our campaign is already starting to work. Just last night, the FBI and Department of Justice announced they were investigating our sons killing. Newspapers around the globe are reporting that its because of our petition.

But our sons killer is still free, and we need more people to speak out if we want justice for Trayvon.

We aren’t looking for revenge, we’re looking for justice — the same justice anyone would expect if their son were shot and killed for no reason.

Continue Reading »


Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana

422873_10150689717272958_501602957_9419751_447615254_n.jpg

See UPDATED post from TLH here at The Wonder of the Shaheed.

On March 31st, Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana is set to be executed in Punjab for his involvement in the assassination of former chief minister of Punjab, Beant Singh. It will be the first execution in Punjab’s history in 24 years.

Chief minister Beant Singh was involved with carrying out brutal and mass killings of Sikhs in Punjab. He is widely held responsible by many Sikhs for ordering the kidnap, torture and death of many young Sikh men. A report by Amnesty International can be found here.

Balwant Singh Rajoana has confessed his involvement in theassassination. He’s accepted the sentence without protest, identifying a lack of faith in the Indian judiciary system and accusing Indian courts for applying dual standards of law. The Indian judiciary system is one that has continued to protect the culprits of the mass killings of Sikhs. In his will Balwant Singhannounced his wish to donate his eyes and other body parts after his death, in particular, he expressed his desire that his eyes should be transplanted to Hazoori Ragi of Darbar Sahib, visually impaired Bhai Lakhwinder Singh. An English translation of his living will can be found here.

Sikh groups in the diaspora are organizing demonstrations to bring awareness to Balwant Singh’s case. You can find out more about these events on this facebook page. In addition, apetition has been created to stop the execution of Balwant Singh Rajoana.

Let us not forget those men and women who have stood up against injustice.


What Do You Want To Do With Your Life?

Author Richard Florida identifies three questions that each of us struggle with over the course of our lives.

1) What do I do with my life?
2) Who do I spend my life with?
3) Where do I want to live?

Obviously, all three are interrelated in many ways but for most of us growing up in North America the first question is the one the one that actually sets up the other two. How I want to spend my life is also a very different question than what kind of job do I want to have. A job or career must be examined in the greater context of one’s purpose in this world. This is even more relevant for practicing Sikhs as our destiny is one of greater purpose. We have been blessed with the awareness that the Creator of this universe resides within each of us and we are here to reconnect with this divinity. To do that, we must live a life of effort, remembrance and service. Yes as Sikhs we are to live in the world as householders, but there something more to life than just going to school, getting a job and raising a family. We are saints and activists, connecting with the Divine and fighting to the death for the rights of all.

Continue Reading »


Plutocratic Politics of the Punjab 2012 and An NRPs Guide to Understanding Punjab Politics

chors_of_punjab.jpg

WARNING: This is long!

Last week, the Punjab election results surprised many. Most pundits had believed the cycle of anti-incumbency would continue and the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) would fall to the Congress Party, under Captain Amrinder Singhs leadership. The results were stunning and after the final count the Akali Dal (56) combined with the BJP (12) had a majority (68) of the 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Congress Party had finished with a dismal 46 and 3 seats were claimed by Independents. The much-heralded (at least in the diaspora and on the internet) Punjab Peoples Party of Manpreet Badal finished even worse than expected, with the main leader himself finishing in 3rd place in the two constituencies he contested.

Now the debate has shifted to making sense of the elections. In the diaspora, laments such as that of my fellow langa(w)riter decrying corruption and the social ills that have been broadcasted farmer suicides, drug addiction, etc. Writers in Punjab, such as Yadvinder Curfew saw the victory not as that of the Akali Dal-BJP combine, but of a new experiment by Sukhbir Badal and the shift in politics from issue based politics to one of media and money. The Badal family has control of both. Friends across social media spaces have provided their own analysis – from the business classes aligning with Sukhbir now that the populism of his father is dead [pagh salute @VehlaComrade] to swing voters, especially cash voters (aligning with the ruling AD-B) and educated netizens (splitting between PPP and Congress) [pagh salute @askang not the singer, mind you!] tilting votes in favor of the Akali Dal.

Now I get to add my voice. Hopefully in doing so, it will also help diasporic Sikhs and Punjabis understand the politics of Punjab and understand why seemingly irrational choices (those that everyone knows are corrupt) can still be rational.

I turn to political science explanations, although I am no political scientist, in order to help understand the results and the specificities of the politics of Punjab. I cite some of the most common explanations and offer some rambling comments, criticisms, and reflections. Hopefully in the comments section, you will add yours and we can have a great discussion.

Continue Reading »


Sikh Punjabi Western

Guest post byNaujawani Sardar

The title to this article might have conjured up images of a cowboy-style shoot ‘em up between turban-donning, mounted riders, and whilst I would welcome development of such an idea into a film, sadly that’s not what i’m writing about. I am Sikh, Punjabi and Western (English) and like every other person growing up in the West I am challenged by the cultures of all three identities. I am also in my early thirties – if I think i’m having a tough time coming to terms with these uniforms, I am only thankful I am not ten years younger in the modern World.

Growing up in the West can be mentally taxing for young Sikhs. Whether English, American, Canadian or European, there pervades a Western notion of lifestyle, opportunity and prosperity that occasionally challenges the practices most of us engage in as Sikhs, and certainly impinges on the way we are brought up in Punjabi households. There is a wide array of ways in which the cultures denoted to us by birth clash with one another, from career choices to personal relationships, hairstyles to language usage. How we deal with these culture clashes will differ from individual to individual and whilst the maxim that a Sikh is a Sikh irrespective of their nationality, there is a growing need to support young people and help them to deal with life in a way that reflects the road they wish to travel on.

Young people find support from varied sources including friends, family, schools and independent organisations. The latter is what I would like to focus on seeing as this is the least regulated group from that list and arguably can have the most influence. In this context, independent organisations are extra-curricular clubs, societies and charities; places that provide essential skills in team-working, discipline and communication through playing a sport, learning a language or providing a service. Whilst engaging in an activity, young people are at least purportedly provided with guidance on everyday life and this is clearly seen in the confines of the Sikh experience: gatka akhare, Punjabi language classes, Khalsa/Gurdwara football teams, Sikh activist groups, and even online communities such as The Langar Hall.

Continue Reading »


Reflections on Sikholars: Day 2

In a previous post, I reflected on attending the Sikholars Sikh Graduate Student Conference at CSU East Bay in Hayward, California a few weeks ago. I commented on the first day’s presentations and panel discussions and now offer the same for the second day. As before, I will refer to Jodha’s post that provided a recap of the conference and also to the papers that were presented this year made available on the Sikholars website for a limited time.

Day 2 of the conference was very thought-provoking, and both reinforced and challenged some of my perspectives.

Continue Reading »


Poetry Speaks to the Punjabi in [me]

I came across this poem today, and definitely wanted to share with all you Langarites. Preeti Kaur, the author from California, is able to speak to numerous aspects of self-identifying as a Punjabi. We’ve had some discussions around Punjabi and Sikh identity here before, thought it would be refreshing to have an artistic take to the topic. Here are a few of my favorite lines:

You Bring Out The Punjabi In Me
By: Preeti Kaur
with respect to Sandra Cisneros You Bring Out the Mexican In Me


sonu
you burn the inquilabi in me
ghadar is a language
i speak only to you
pacific mist we breathe
the subcontinent to freedom
from our san francisco dreams
hidden under guise of fog
tag taxis with saffron orange bumper stickers
ZINDABAAD!!! ZINDABAAD!!!
perhaps the morning pooni the start of our rebellion
radioactive jalebis the danger
we eat

Click here for the audio podcast and full poempublished at the online literary magazineQarrtsiluni.


Raising Kaurs
lovesocial_case_for_girls.jpg

Source: Miss Representation (click to enlarge)

Today is International Women’s Day and while our attention often (and rightfully) focuses on ways to improve the lives of women and children living across the globe, it should also be a time to reflect on ways we can positively influence the lives of young girls growing up all around us.

As the Masito an amazing seven-year-old girl, it’s been on my mind how important these formative years are for ensuring that my niece feels confident in who she is. I recently watched a documentary called Miss Representation (click here to see the trailer) which discusses the role the media plays in being both the message and messenger in the portrayal of young girls and women – one that is often negative. Quite honestly, the documentary scared me – how can we control what messages young men and women receive? American teenagers get approximately 10 hours of media consumption a day – that’s an awful lot of messages that they need to digest and make sense of. As one expert notes in the film, “little boys and little girls, when they’re seven years old, in equal number want to be President of the United States when they grow up. But then you ask the same question when they’re fifteen and you see this massive gap emerging.” The film includesfootage from a focus group of teenagers discussing media and the consequences. They speak of their low self-esteem, their anxieties, their sheer anger and frustration. I’m not even a mother and yet i worry.

Continue Reading »


Reflecting on the Punjab 2012 Elections

Guest post byNirbhau Kaur

[Admin note: This post was penned by the author the morning after election results were made public in Punjab.]

pb_elections.jpgPain. Disgust. Hurt. Dread. Longing. Connect, then Disconnect.

For the first time I felt these feelings in relation to Punjab – a land where I was not born, a land where I was not raised, a land that I didn’t truly experience until my early 20′s. Nonetheless, it is my father’s land, my Nana Ji’s land, my ancestors’ land. It is my land.

Today, there were countless social media updates reminding me of the five years of horror that Punjab is about to experience. For a small group of people, today was victorious. For a state full of people, today was just another reminder of their dark future. As the Badal family begins another five years of power in Punjab, the socially aware predict increased farmer suicides, increased drug and alcohol addictions, increased poverty. And the most grave prediction of them all, an end to Punjab, Punjabi, and Punjabiat.

Today, we express our disgust with the Badals and our sorrow for the future of Punjab. Not just today, but whenever there is an event to remember or increase awarenessof any tragic situation in Punjab, be it farmer suicides or the despair in which the families of the shaheeds are surviving, we, as diasporic Punjabis, express deep sympathy. We speak of a need for change, we inspire, and we become inspired, but only in the appropriate setting. Shortly afterward, most of us move onto focus on our lives here, outside of Punjab.

Continue Reading »


Circuit Bhangra, Colombia and the Power of YouTube

A friend recently forwarded me the following video.

YouTube Preview Image

A few notes may suffice. What is unusual is not the ‘performative’ style that has become modern (post-1947) bhangra, nor even the type of stage (we saw Signature earlier on Britain’s Got Talent that achieve the highest level of success and American teams attempting much of the same), however what makes this particular performance unique is the location and performers. Far from UK and the US with huge Punjabi Sikh diasporic populations, here we see a performance in Colombia by two non-Punjabi performers.

Continue Reading »


Tracking Anti-Sikh Hate Attacks

Over ten years after 9/11, the persistence of hate attacks targeting Sikhs in the US, whether in the form of bullying in schools, vandalism of gurdwaras, or even cold blooded murder, is a sobering reality for our community. Jodha and I have both discussed elsewhere that the root cause of much of the anti-Sikh violence we see in the United States is the overwhelming vilification of Muslims and Islam in our country, and in the world, today. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we have sound data about anti-Sikh attacks specifically so we fully understand the scope of the problem and thus can address it effectively.

It may surprise you that the US government does not in any way keep track of hate crimes targeting Sikhs. Even in the midst of the surge in attacks against Sikhs in the wake of 9/11/01, the FBI never kept track of anti-Sikh crimes. While some of us may not see the FBI as the most trustworthy of agencies to protect our communities and our civil rights given its history of spying and repression, it is nevertheless outrageous that there isn’t even a “Sikh” box to be checked when a hate crime has been reported. It says a lot about the continued marginalization and relative invisibility of our community in the United States.

Continue Reading »


Page 7 of 64« First...56789...203040...Last »