Oh How I Hate the Bookstore

Really I don’t. Although independent bookstores are often preferable (I swear I am not a hipster), sometimes even Barnes and Noble (see a hipster would never go there!) or Borders (are they even in business?) will do.

Since I was a kid though, I would always look for books that might have anything remotely to do with Sikhi. The closest we get in our American bookstores are some comprehensive book on religion, usually in the bargain section, and written by some crackpot. This one is presented to you by a professor at Cambridge (@blighty, where you at?)

Oh the bane of my childhood. Then as in now – this is what we get.

Here is the cover….

book_cover1.jpgOk, fair enough, nothing really wrong about that. So now let us flip the the chapter on Sikhi. Let’s see what we find….



Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand there we go….first sentence! When can we move beyond this? The community has. When will academics and other popular writers move beyond this disinformation that later does get parroted by young Sikhs. Suggestions?

For those interested. The professor’s email address can be found here and his facebook page here. Maybe we can message him? DO IT RESPECTFULLY!!!!!! WE ARE JUST INFORMING, NOT ACCUSING!

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23 Responses to “Oh How I Hate the Bookstore”

  1. Kaur says:

    Hardly anyone is going to write to the professor. We are too lazy.

  2. Ajaib Kaur says:

    Kaur, I think the idea that 'We're too lazy is another issue in itself,' I feel like we've internalized many of the stereotypes against Punjabi Sikhs. (See UrbanDictionary for 'internalized oppression' http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=in… or just google it for longer articles)

    We'll only do things when we know we have the power to. If we keep thinking negatively about our own community, nothing is gonna change. We need to also put an end to the stigmas, stereotypes we have against ourselves, too.

  3. Kaur says:

    Ajaib Kaur, prove me wrong with facts and not superfluous terms and articles on it.

    Get the webmaster to measure how many people read this article and how many actually wrote to the professor. The result should tell you that the time you spent writing in response to me could have been used to write to the professor.

    And now that is the biggest problem with our youth – they like to criticize, lecture and show themselves off as great intellectuals but they do absolutely nothing.

    Instead of writing that long comment finding faults in what I had said, you could have just said, here's a template of what one could write to the professor.

    Okay, now get to work and WRITE to the professor.

  4. Ajaib Kaur says:

    Kaur, I don't think we're talking about the same thing. Even if I got the webmaster to tell me exactly how many people read the article and wrote to the professor, the issues I am getting at is different and I don't think puling out the stats has anything to do with the issue of root of self-stigmatization that goes on in our community. Yeah there are real issues, but we gotten see beyond that and learn how to build up.

    If you look at all the folks Jakara event that happened this weekend to sell the fireworks, all the folks who showed up for WLR3, all the people who put their heart into Saanjh, Toronto Sikh Retreat, Kudarat, Lalkaar, HERstory etc., etc., I'm not seeing laziness but actually a generation that is far more vocal and alive than it was five or ten years ago. And I'm barely seeing a youth generation that's content just passing themselves off as great intellectuals – we need critical discussions such as ours, without finger pointing or needing to tell others what type of sewa they should engage in.

    Thanks for the gentle reminder bhen, I did send a message to the professor after reading your note.

  5. Harjit Singh says:

    I just wrote to him. :) Thanks Kaur for pushing us so kindly to doing the right thing. If you would like to see a copy of what I wrote please email me. [email protected]

    Akal Sahai

    Harjit Singh

  6. Simi says:

    sent email to prof… thanks for letting us know about this issue!

  7. Blighty Singh says:

    "This one is presented to you by a professor at Cambridge (@blighty, where you at?)"
    ^ I'm at London. I've never been to Cambridge. Mostly because us Londoners get a nose bleed if we go anywhere north of London….mostly because we tend to view everywhere and anywhere north of London as third world country on a par with darkest Albania and Romania. But thats another story. 2 points here: Firstly, the bloke is not a professor. As a research associate he is basically a student working under the guidance of a teacher. Secondly, the Sikh Society of Cambridge University should should be the ones sorting this thing out. http://www.cusikhsoc.org.uk/
    However, once….when I was at uni….we attended this function in which sikh students from Cambridge and Oxford also participated. From what I noticed they seemed mostly to be overseas students from the elite familes in India….rather than normal everyday British sikhs. The kind of Sikhs that come from Sikh /Hindu hybrid families anyway (like Manmohan Singh), I wouldn't be surprised if the author formed his view about sikhs by talking to and observing the kind of sikhs he has at Cambridge.
    btw Jodha….if you like browsing bookshops looking for things about Sikhs you would be in heaven in London . I've been browsing the second hand bookshops since I was 14 (used to skip school everyday and take the underground (subway) downtown) and I still find old gems even today. In fact, just a few months ago, at the British Library, I found some of Karl Marx's written notes on Punjab and the Sikhs (from when he was working as a freelance journalist in London whilst writing the communist manifesto)

  8. Kanwaljit Singh says:

    But if it were just another sect, the author wouldn't give it a separate chapter :) See the author knows what it is and what not!

  9. observer says:

    what exactly did people write?
    can someone please post the message to this Professor

  10. Citizen Singh says:

    My letter (just to give you ideas, don't copy it word for word – that makes us all look illiterate)

    Dear Sir,
    I have been made aware of a publication named “30-Second Religion” which purports to explain “the most thought provoking religious beliefs… in half a minute.” As editor of this admirable undertaking, I am hoping you would be able to provide me with evidence of your claim that “Sikhism is a Hindu Sect.”
    Given that Sikhs do not worship in Hindu Temples, nor attend Hindu pilgrimages, nor believe in the existence of multiple Gods, nor recognise the caste system as a link to one’s previous life, (amongst an abundance of other differences) makes Sikhism not some kind of schism in the Hindu faith, but a completely separate religion.
    I would be very keen to read your source material for this claim. Please can you forward this to me?

  11. LSEsingh says:

    just sent him a facebook message

    "Hello, a book of yours was found in a California bookstore with a substantial inaccuracy. I hope it will be mended soon. Here is the link: http://thelangarhall.com/sikhi/oh-how-i-hate-the-


  12. Navjot says:

    I think this is another example of publishers not sourcing authentic voices to write their titles. When publishers go to "experts" they feel they will get expertise but this is obviously not the case. If we stand by, nothing will change. I will certainly write to the professor but it is even more important to write to the publisher.

  13. Sahaj says:

    Perhaps that explains why the book is in the bargain bin?

  14. Sahaj says:

    Email sent to the author. The more emails he gets (hopefully respectful) will perhaps open his mind to the notion that he was mistaken…There are 30 (or so) million of us, surely we can manage to get Dr. Re Manning a few hundred (thousand) emails about this?

  15. Jodha says:

    Question – have any of you received a reply yet?

  16. Pashaura Dhillon says:

    Writing to whether the author is a professor or not and pointing to the Publisher nicely re: the inaccuracies as suggested in the discussion are one step in the right direction. The second even more important one in any multicultural/religious societies is to ensure that the Teaching of World Religions Course is made a graduation requirement in the school system. The Sikhs in California have woken up to this reality after their 120 years of arrival and only after the 911 National Tragedy. The Sikh Council of Central California representing approx. 40,000 American Sikhs living in the valley is lending its hand to other individuals and organizations working in the northern California to do just that since 2005, showing positive results.

  17. re-wording says:

    If we keep thinking negatively about our own community, nothing is gonna change. We need to also put an end to the stigmas, stereotypes we have against ourselves, too.

  18. Asa says:

    Nice to see this book review about Sikhism. I wonder why it is written here that the Sikhism is a Hindu sect because what I know about Sikhism, its a totally separate religion. People like to have http://essaymama.org/coursework-help about the different religions and it is good to read this book for knowing the detail about the Sikh religion.