Who needs Spiderman when I have Bhai Taru Singh?

Bhai Taru Singhbabania kehania put saput karaen ||
The stories of one’s ancestors make the children good children.
(Guru Amar Das, Raag Raamkalee, Page 951 of Guru Granth Sahib)

The American writer Muriel Rukeyser once said that the universe is made up, not of atoms, but of stories. This especially holds true for the Sikh universe. Stories or anecdotes from our short but action-packed history provide us with guidance, inspiration and resilience. Who needs fictional super-heroes when the Sikh narrative provides us with so many real-life heroes who did extraordinary things?

For most Sikhs, myself included, these Sikh stories told to us by our parents and grandparents were an essential part of growing up Sikh. However, we’re quickly losing this great oral tradition. For a variety of reasons, parents and grandparents aren’t telling sakhis like they used to and kids aren’t listening to them.

In attempt to transfer our stories to the next generation of Sikhs. the folks at Vismaad have taken on the monumental challenge of bringing our Sikh heroes to the big screen. With their previous productions, Sahibzadey, The Rise Of Khalsa, and Sundri – The Brave Kaur, they have single handedly created the genre of Sikh animation and brought our history to life. While there have been lots of technical challenges and limitations with the films, largely due to budget constraints, no one can question the hard work, dedication and sacrifice of Sukhwinder Singh and his team.

Their latest project deals with another great hero from Sikh history. The story of Bhai Taru Singh is a great example of this courage and faith. Imprisoned by Mughal rulers, Bhai Taru Singh chose to be scalped alive rather than abdicate his faith and cut his hair. His sacrifice is remembered daily by Sikhs around the world in our ardaas (jina Singhan, Singhnian ne khoprian lahaian).

Here’s a trailer for the upcoming film:

YouTube Preview Image

Unfortunately, most Sikh parents are willing to look past the hypocrisy of buying a pirated (illegal) copy of a Sikh film to teach their kids about Sikh values. As a result, traditional distribution channels (i.e. DVDs) haven’t worked for Vismaad. Instead they’ve relied on private screenings in cities around the world to raise the funds to pay for their films. So there will be 23 screenings of Bhai Taru Singh in 13 cities across the US, Canada and the UK in less than three weeks, starting in late September. A schedule is available on the film’s website.

Please try to go out and watch the film. We hope that it lives up to expectations, is widely viewed by Sikhs around the world, and inspires others to make our history relevant to a new generation of Sikhs.


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25 Responses to “Who needs Spiderman when I have Bhai Taru Singh?”

  1. Thanks Jio. We are humbled by the kind words you have written in support of our modest efforts to bring back into our homes the amazing and highly inspirational Sikh history.

    It's the support and encouragement of Gursikhs like you which has provided us the courage to continue this Sewa.

    Waheguru Bless all the Gursikh who are untiringly working for success of private screenings across the globe. but for their help our movies would have remained confined with us.

    Humbly in service of gurupanth

    Sukhwinder Singh

  2. Thanks Jio. We are humbled by the kind words you have written in support of our modest efforts to bring back into our homes the amazing and highly inspirational Sikh history.

    It’s the support and encouragement of Gursikhs like you which has provided us the courage to continue this Sewa.

    Waheguru Bless all the Gursikh who are untiringly working for success of private screenings across the globe. but for their help our movies would have remained confined with us.

    Humbly in service of gurupanth
    Sukhwinder Singh

  3. Thanks sir for keeping us informed a true story of Sikh warriors live through animation. These aren't the lost heroes but the most precious gems of Sikh history. They have shaped Sikh history by their great sacrifices.

    No such example of sacrifices could be found in any other religion of world. It was the power of devotion and faith in their Guru that when all attempts were failed to shorn his hairs or to cut by scissor, his skull cap was removed and left to die outside the city but Bhai Taru Singh ji kept on chanting thy name . No cries no pain only thy name.

    And see how he left to the heavenly abode is …..better to be viewed through animation.

    At last I can only such attempts to remind our children of their glorious past so they may have faith in their religion and in Guru who bestows all his powers to his followers.

  4. Thanks sir for keeping us informed a true story of Sikh warriors live through animation. These aren’t the lost heroes but the most precious gems of Sikh history. They have shaped Sikh history by their great sacrifices.
    No such example of sacrifices could be found in any other religion of world. It was the power of devotion and faith in their Guru that when all attempts were failed to shorn his hairs or to cut by scissor, his skull cap was removed and left to die outside the city but Bhai Taru Singh ji kept on chanting thy name . No cries no pain only thy name.
    And see how he left to the heavenly abode is …..better to be viewed through animation.
    At last I can only such attempts to remind our children of their glorious past so they may have faith in their religion and in Guru who bestows all his powers to his followers.

  5. J SIngh says:

    Thank you so much for your efforts. BUT DO YOU HAVE ANY PLAN TO MAKE A MOVIE FOR SIKHS WHO KEPT THEIR HAIR BUT GAVE UP THEIR SIKHI,RULING OVER ALL GURUDWARAS AND MAKING A DECISION THAT WHO IS SIKH AND WHO IS NOT.

  6. J SINGH says:

    I WAS THINKING THEY WANT BHAI SAHIB TO CONVERT MUSLIMS, AND I HAVE SEEN SO MANY MUSLIMS WITH LONG AND UNCUT HAIR AND BEARD.SO BHAI SAHIB NEVER GAVE UP SIKHI BECAUSE HE WAS FIGHTING FOR SIKHI NOT ONLY FOR HAIR AND YES PEOPLE CAN GAVE UP SIKHI BUT CAN KEEP THEIR HAIR.right!!!

  7. J SIngh says:

    Thank you so much for your efforts. BUT DO YOU HAVE ANY PLAN TO MAKE A MOVIE FOR SIKHS WHO KEPT THEIR HAIR BUT GAVE UP THEIR SIKHI,RULING OVER ALL GURUDWARAS AND MAKING A DECISION THAT WHO IS SIKH AND WHO IS NOT.

  8. J SINGH says:

    I WAS THINKING THEY WANT BHAI SAHIB TO CONVERT MUSLIMS, AND I HAVE SEEN SO MANY MUSLIMS WITH LONG AND UNCUT HAIR AND BEARD.SO BHAI SAHIB NEVER GAVE UP SIKHI BECAUSE HE WAS FIGHTING FOR SIKHI NOT ONLY FOR HAIR AND YES PEOPLE CAN GAVE UP SIKHI BUT CAN KEEP THEIR HAIR.right!!!

  9. Harinder says:

    OBSERVATION OF 47 years:-

    Hairs and Sikhs are so entwined that most of our talks are "HAIRCENTRIC".

    My impression is that the day a SIkh is born and the day he dies he is always "HAIRCENTRIC".

    My impression is that amngst us

    1) Those of us who keep hairs (hairophilics) may Waheguruji "Bless them".

    2) Those of us who dont want to keep (Hairophobes) may Waheguruji "Forgive them".

    Is ti possible for us to contemplate a life beyond hairs and discuss some times some other issues say like eg

    1) Aliens

    2) Evolution

    3) Multiverse

    4) Other GODS

    5) Jokes

    etc etc

  10. Harinder says:

    OBSERVATION OF 47 years:-

    Hairs and Sikhs are so entwined that most of our talks are “HAIRCENTRIC”.

    My impression is that the day a SIkh is born and the day he dies he is always “HAIRCENTRIC”.

    My impression is that amngst us

    1) Those of us who keep hairs (hairophilics) may Waheguruji “Bless them”.
    2) Those of us who dont want to keep (Hairophobes) may Waheguruji “Forgive them”.

    Is ti possible for us to contemplate a life beyond hairs and discuss some times some other issues say like eg

    1) Aliens
    2) Evolution
    3) Multiverse
    4) Other GODS
    5) Jokes

    etc etc

  11. J SINGH says:

    As you said

    1) Those of us who keep hairs (hairophilics) may Waheguruji “Bless them”.

    2) Those of us who dont want to keep (Hairophobes) may Waheguruji “Forgive them”.

    But what about SIKHI,I donot think only hairs makes you sikh As the way all orthodox sikhs see.When someone want to participate in akhand path or riligious ceremony we consider them patit but when we have to do collection, or they but money in the guhluk they are not patit anymore.Even if any Sikh (consider patit) achive something great all newspapers and gurudwaras does not hegitate to t announce him as sikh and honour him.Please don`t take it wrong, I AM TRYING TO SAY THAT WE HAVE TO SEE FAR THAN JUST LOOK A RELIGIOUS PERSON, BECAUSE I THINK GURU SAID REhHAT IS IMPORTANT THAN SIKH.OUR ALL LEADERSHIP IS FILLED WITH A SIKHS BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR REHHAT.

  12. J SINGH says:

    As you said
    1) Those of us who keep hairs (hairophilics) may Waheguruji Bless them.
    2) Those of us who dont want to keep (Hairophobes) may Waheguruji Forgive them.
    But what about SIKHI,I donot think only hairs makes you sikh As the way all orthodox sikhs see.When someone want to participate in akhand path or riligious ceremony we consider them patit but when we have to do collection, or they but money in the guhluk they are not patit anymore.Even if any Sikh (consider patit) achive something great all newspapers and gurudwaras does not hegitate to t announce him as sikh and honour him.Please don`t take it wrong, I AM TRYING TO SAY THAT WE HAVE TO SEE FAR THAN JUST LOOK A RELIGIOUS PERSON, BECAUSE I THINK GURU SAID REhHAT IS IMPORTANT THAN SIKH.OUR ALL LEADERSHIP IS FILLED WITH A SIKHS BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR REHHAT.

  13. Mr. J Singh,

    The question you raised , has also been answered by you. Patit Sikh cannot perform the Akhand Path in a Gurudwara but at his home he may, as most of the Sindhi sahajdharis do, so we aren't going to bind them. But at any religious place, a message is spread by any such act. We have to make the faith, the discipline, the uniform of a Sikh and to maintain harmony and peace by keeping rehat which clearly states that only the pooran rehat Sikh is liked by Guru ji, not only within the uniform of a Sikh.

    So being a bestoed Sikh, we all should try to be a Gurusikh.

  14. Mr. J Singh,
    The question you raised , has also been answered by you. Patit Sikh cannot perform the Akhand Path in a Gurudwara but at his home he may, as most of the Sindhi sahajdharis do, so we aren’t going to bind them. But at any religious place, a message is spread by any such act. We have to make the faith, the discipline, the uniform of a Sikh and to maintain harmony and peace by keeping rehat which clearly states that only the pooran rehat Sikh is liked by Guru ji, not only within the uniform of a Sikh.
    So being a bestoed Sikh, we all should try to be a Gurusikh.

  15. Sanehaa says:

    Re: Musafer – Sikhi is Travelling.

    Hello, I am looking forward to see the animation film! A new very interesting independent documentary film that just premiered at the Sikh film festival in Toronto is: "Musafer – Sikhi is Travelling".

    I think blogs like yours and other Sikh websites should also promote films like this one. So far I havent seen any links at langerhall. Sikhnet and others have highlighted the film:

    http://www.yorku.ca/yfile/archive/index.asp?Artic

    http://www.sikhnet.com/news/musafer-sikhi-travell

    http://twitter.com/valtermarques/statuses/4169312http://theprg.co.uk/category/film

    http://www.spinningwheeltoronto.com/category.aspx

    http://www.sikh-religion.de/html/english.html

    Here is more information about the film:

    MUSAFER – SIKHI IS TRAVELLING
    <a href="http://www.musaferthefilm.com” target=”_blank”>www.musaferthefilm.com

    An Independent International Documentary Film

    The Film

    Musafer is an independent documentary film that has been shot in Frankfurt, Paris, London, Delhi and San Francisco between 2003 and 2009. The film portrays the interconnected lives of a younger generation of diasporic Sikhs by giving emphasis to their artistic expressions and in-depth conversations about the meaning of Sikhi in times of political upheaval and social uncertainty. Musafer does not attempt to portray the Sikh tradition (Sikhi) in its multifaceted forms, but instead sheds a light on the inner and outer journeys of particular individuals, their homing desires, as well as their boundary crossing endeavours.

    The World Premiere

    Musafer premieres at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Toronto/Canada, 25-27.2009 at the Royal Ontario Museum “Crystal”. Detailed information about the schedule is available at <a href="http://www.spinningwheeltoronto.com,” target=”_blank”>www.spinningwheeltoronto.com, [email protected] or call 416.820.5408 in Toronto.

    The German premiere will be at the Intercultural Weeks Frankfurt, 10.11.2009, 19.00, Haus am Dom, Domplatz 3, 60311 Frankfurt am Main City.

    Filmmakers
    Brought up in Germany, both filmmakers Michael Nijhawan and Khushwant Singh share a personal and academic commitment to Sikhi, Panjabi society and culture. It is their first documentary film.

    Michael Nijhawan is associate professor in sociology at York University, Toronto. He has worked and written extensively on Sikh and Panjabi society and culture, both in South Asia and the diasporic context. His recent books include: Dhadi Darbar: Religion, Violence and the Performance of Sikh History (Oxford University Press) and Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia (Routledge, 2009).

    Khushwant Singh holds a position as programme coordinator at the Centre for international Migration and Development in Germany. He has studied Social Anthropology and did research in Panjab and Germany. Khushwant is a PhD candidate at Goldsmith College London. His current research centers on unaccompanied young refugees. Khushwant is actively involved in interreligious dialogue; he is a member of the Council of Religions in Frankfurt, teaches Sikhi to youngsters, writes articles and gives lectures on Sikhi.

    Visit <a href="http://www.musaferthefilm.com” target=”_blank”>www.musaferthefilm.com to see the trailer and to get more information about the film.

  16. Sanehaa says:

    Re: Musafer – Sikhi is Travelling.

    Hello, I am looking forward to see the animation film! A new very interesting independent documentary film that just premiered at the Sikh film festival in Toronto is: "Musafer – Sikhi is Travelling".

    I think blogs like yours and other Sikh websites should also promote films like this one. So far I havent seen any links at langerhall. Sikhnet and others have highlighted the film:

    http://www.yorku.ca/yfile/archive/index.asp?Artic

    http://www.sikhnet.com/news/musafer-sikhi-travell

    http://twitter.com/valtermarques/statuses/4169312http://theprg.co.uk/category/film

    http://www.spinningwheeltoronto.com/category.aspx

    http://www.sikh-religion.de/html/english.html

    Here is more information about the film:

    MUSAFER – SIKHI IS TRAVELLING
    http://www.musaferthefilm.com

    An Independent International Documentary Film

    The Film

    Musafer is an independent documentary film that has been shot in Frankfurt, Paris, London, Delhi and San Francisco between 2003 and 2009. The film portrays the interconnected lives of a younger generation of diasporic Sikhs by giving emphasis to their artistic expressions and in-depth conversations about the meaning of Sikhi in times of political upheaval and social uncertainty. Musafer does not attempt to portray the Sikh tradition (Sikhi) in its multifaceted forms, but instead sheds a light on the inner and outer journeys of particular individuals, their homing desires, as well as their boundary crossing endeavours.

    The World Premiere

    Musafer premieres at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Toronto/Canada, 25-27.2009 at the Royal Ontario Museum “Crystal”. Detailed information about the schedule is available at http://www.spinningwheeltoronto.com, [email protected] or call 416.820.5408 in Toronto.

    The German premiere will be at the Intercultural Weeks Frankfurt, 10.11.2009, 19.00, Haus am Dom, Domplatz 3, 60311 Frankfurt am Main City.

    Filmmakers
    Brought up in Germany, both filmmakers Michael Nijhawan and Khushwant Singh share a personal and academic commitment to Sikhi, Panjabi society and culture. It is their first documentary film.

    Michael Nijhawan is associate professor in sociology at York University, Toronto. He has worked and written extensively on Sikh and Panjabi society and culture, both in South Asia and the diasporic context. His recent books include: Dhadi Darbar: Religion, Violence and the Performance of Sikh History (Oxford University Press) and Shared Idioms, Sacred Symbols, and the Articulation of Identities in South Asia (Routledge, 2009).

    Khushwant Singh holds a position as programme coordinator at the Centre for international Migration and Development in Germany. He has studied Social Anthropology and did research in Panjab and Germany. Khushwant is a PhD candidate at Goldsmith College London. His current research centers on unaccompanied young refugees. Khushwant is actively involved in interreligious dialogue; he is a member of the Council of Religions in Frankfurt, teaches Sikhi to youngsters, writes articles and gives lectures on Sikhi.

    Visit http://www.musaferthefilm.com to see the trailer and to get more information about the film.

  17. Roger Mangat says:

    I have an idea,why dont well meaning sikhs get together & start making movies on the lives of the sikh gurus.In this way majority of non sikhs can have a glimpse at the greatness & shortcomings of the sikh gurus.If majority of the world,can show & potray their religious leaders then why cant the sikhs.Is it outside the realm of possibility or do the sikhs have something to hide?

  18. Roger Mangat says:

    I have an idea,why dont well meaning sikhs get together & start making movies on the lives of the sikh gurus.In this way majority of non sikhs can have a glimpse at the greatness & shortcomings of the sikh gurus.If majority of the world,can show & potray their religious leaders then why cant the sikhs.Is it outside the realm of possibility or do the sikhs have something to hide?

  19. Idol wabbit tricks r says:

    Roger,

    Hasbro could make a killing in hindustan with He-man, not only would people buy the toy figurines they would worship them, feed them milk, and the battle action figures could be used by the local pandits to create fear for questioning the status quo.

    Masters of the Universe would take on a whole new meaning.

    You guys could tie in Castle Grey Skull with the whole kali ma shaktee dey.

    The old t.v episodes with the little comics books will give you a set of religious teachings. It's an easy swap, old mythology for new make believe.

    Sikh History on the other hand is real. The events that took place, standing up to tyranny, a Faith that made a difference to men and women at a time when their existence didn't stand a snowballs chance in a living hell but they made it, we are proof of that.

    The more you think about it the more amazing Sikh Reality becomes.

  20. Idol wabbit tricks r for.. says:

    Roger,

    Hasbro could make a killing in hindustan with He-man, not only would people buy the toy figurines they would worship them, feed them milk, and the battle action figures could be used by the local pandits to create fear for questioning the status quo.

    Masters of the Universe would take on a whole new meaning.

    You guys could tie in Castle Grey Skull with the whole kali ma shaktee dey.

    The old t.v episodes with the little comics books will give you a set of religious teachings. It’s an easy swap, old mythology for new make believe.

    Sikh History on the other hand is real. The events that took place, standing up to tyranny, a Faith that made a difference to men and women at a time when their existence didn’t stand a snowballs chance in a living hell but they made it, we are proof of that.

    The more you think about it the more amazing Sikh Reality becomes.

  21. baby tree says:

    [Edited--Please refrain from personal attacks --Admin]. Man, take care of your life, don't do harm to others, and let us be.

    If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

  22. baby tree says:

    [Edited--Please refrain from personal attacks --Admin]. Man, take care of your life, don’t do harm to others, and let us be.

    If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  23. [...] Sikh film, Bhai Taru Singh. Weve blogged about thefilm before and about Bhai Taru Singhs legacy. Now having had the privilege of watching the film last weekend, Id like to share a few [...]

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