Celebrating Triviality

WARNING: This is MY opinion and DOES NOT not represent anyone else on The Langar Hall. Hopefully, unlike Ennis, I won’t have to take this one down.

I am sure I am going to be labeled as a hater. I don’t care it must be said.

Scouring the news I came across a recent press release by the Sikh Council on Religion and Education. I almost feel even more embarrassed by highlighting it. SCORE, for the uninitiated, is a Sikh organizationrajwant.jpg based out of Washington DC. It is the child of Dr. Rajwant Singh, a Maryland-based dentist. He is definitely one of those guys that likes to ‘speak for Sikhs.’

Like many Sikh organizations, SCORE is a one-man show. Don’t believe me, check out the pictures on the website, you’ll find few without Dr. Rajwant Singh. He may be the most pictured Sikh-American. (Look to the right, I just added one more!)

Now I really don’t know what SCORE does, other than look for photo opportunities, but to Dr. Rajwant Singh’s credit, he has established relationships with many political figures in Washington DC and has ingratiated himself as the ‘Sikh’ representative in many interfaith functions and communities in DC. DC loves interfaith functions! That is a good thing. Sikhs should have a representative and in the meantime we have Dr. Rajwant Singh.

Ok, so the point of this post was the press release “Sikh Kenneth Cole Model with Turban and Beard To Be Honored at the Fifth Annual SCORE Capitol Hill Dinner.” To my knowledge, we were the first internet source to blog about Sandeep Singh Caberwal’s modeling of Kenneth Cole merchandise. So let me first state, ” Shabash Sandeep!”

Ok now that that is done, can I ask a question? What exactly is being honored? Was there something path-breaking? Inspiring? A real service to the community? Did he build a hospital in Punjab? How about start an after school program? Or is this award like those that get saropas for no particular reason?

Now I am not saying that all their awards are trivial. They are honoring Congressman John Lewis and I am a fan. I think it is really Sunny Caberwal’s award that just seems so trivial to me. And I am not blaming Sandeep for taking the award, I am just questioning the sponsor’s reason for its creation.

So what are your thoughts? Agree/disagree? Am I crazy for thinking this?

PS: I am not particularly anti-Dr. Rajwant Singh as I really don’t know him. These have just been my observations. Feel free to tell me all of his accomplishments and why he is a great Sikh leader. Ok back to your regularly scheduled website.


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24 Responses to “Celebrating Triviality”

  1. sizzle says:

    it's pretty dumb. but in the end, it's a trivial organization awarding a trivial "accomplishment" (winning a model search aimed specifically at sikhs). i can't imagine Sikh Coalition or SALDEF being so vacuous. they're so inconsequential (try to find any real accomplishment on their website, although rubbing elbows and being seen is somewhat beneficial), they have little else on which to hang their hat. or maybe Rajwant Singh wants to connect with another sikh who loves mugging for the camera.

    let's all clap for them a one handed clap.

  2. sizzle says:

    not to be overly cynical, but the more i explore score's website and look for actual content, the more i think that it's an organization that serves to legitimize and gain access for it's founders without really doing a damn thing but cut and paste sound bites onto its site. i imagine access to even permit so many pictures goes something like this:

    -"hey, i'd like a ticket to this banquet filled with VIP's and maybe even attend a meeting with the president"

    -"who are you?"

    -"well, i'm a donor, BUT i'm also the chairman of the sikh council on religion and education. we do good things and represent hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in amerieeka. we are very important."

    -"well, why didn't you say so? here's a ticket. and make sure to get in a few pics – you look diverse, and we sure do love diverse!"

    anyways, again, i don't want to dismiss the entire organization – mere presence among, and connections, with VIP's is beneficial. and i'm sure they've done other good work. but, i can't help but wonder if its access is at the expense of other, far more productive organizations, or if the community would be better served if score's leadership worked in connection those other organizations.

    again, i offer them, and their trivial award recipient, who from what i've gathered has done nothing else for the sikh community despite a rare law degree, a hearty one handed clap.

  3. sizzle says:

    it’s pretty dumb. but in the end, it’s a trivial organization awarding a trivial “accomplishment” (winning a model search aimed specifically at sikhs). i can’t imagine Sikh Coalition or SALDEF being so vacuous. they’re so inconsequential (try to find any real accomplishment on their website, although rubbing elbows and being seen is somewhat beneficial), they have little else on which to hang their hat. or maybe Rajwant Singh wants to connect with another sikh who loves mugging for the camera.

    let’s all clap for them a one handed clap.

  4. sizzle says:

    not to be overly cynical, but the more i explore score’s website and look for actual content, the more i think that it’s an organization that serves to legitimize and gain access for it’s founders without really doing a damn thing but cut and paste sound bites onto its site. i imagine access to even permit so many pictures goes something like this:
    -“hey, i’d like a ticket to this banquet filled with VIP’s and maybe even attend a meeting with the president”
    -“who are you?”
    -“well, i’m a donor, BUT i’m also the chairman of the sikh council on religion and education. we do good things and represent hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in amerieeka. we are very important.”
    -“well, why didn’t you say so? here’s a ticket. and make sure to get in a few pics – you look diverse, and we sure do love diverse!”

    anyways, again, i don’t want to dismiss the entire organization – mere presence among, and connections, with VIP’s is beneficial. and i’m sure they’ve done other good work. but, i can’t help but wonder if its access is at the expense of other, far more productive organizations, or if the community would be better served if score’s leadership worked in connection those other organizations.

    again, i offer them, and their trivial award recipient, who from what i’ve gathered has done nothing else for the sikh community despite a rare law degree, a hearty one handed clap.

  5. Balmeet says:

    If every Sikh starts a Sikh organization, even if its just a one-man show, we'll gain recognition in the Guiness Book of World Records. I'd like to be awarded for coming up with the idea at the next SCORE function.

    On the other hand, what has everyone else been doing to promote Sikhi? A flawed attempt still provides some benifit.

    Thus I clap with two hands!

  6. Balmeet says:

    If every Sikh starts a Sikh organization, even if its just a one-man show, we’ll gain recognition in the Guiness Book of World Records. I’d like to be awarded for coming up with the idea at the next SCORE function.

    On the other hand, what has everyone else been doing to promote Sikhi? A flawed attempt still provides some benifit.

    Thus I clap with two hands!

  7. Mewa Singh says:

    If every Sikh starts a Sikh organization, even if its just a one-man show, well gain recognition in the Guiness Book of World Records. Id like to be awarded for coming up with the idea at the next SCORE function.

    Definitely something to be proud about! Panthic Ekta!

  8. Mewa Singh says:

    If every Sikh starts a Sikh organization, even if its just a one-man show, well gain recognition in the Guiness Book of World Records. Id like to be awarded for coming up with the idea at the next SCORE function.

    Definitely something to be proud about! Panthic Ekta!

  9. jhujaaru says:

    I respectfully disagree with Balmeet. Some “flawed attempts” don’t provide benefit. How do SCORE’s $125 per plate dinner provide benefit to or promote Sikhi? Sure, other Sikh organizations hold such high-end banquets, but usually to fundraise for meaningful projects or celebrate accomplishments for the year – In SCORE’s case, they have neither. SCORE’s mission claims to “uphold values of religious freedom, civil rights, human dignity, justice…” Please someone explain how SCORE has done this in its 10 years? SCORE is just a vehicle to promote Dr. Rajwant Singh, who has cleverly followed the "cause of the month" for many years and squeeze in more photo opportunities than any Sikh of our time just so he can rub elbows with VIPs, and speak on "our" behalf – No Thank You.

    Wasting our community’s resources in such "trivial" banquets hurt us in the long run. Personally, my $125 will go to projects and organizations that do "real" work for our community, like Ensaaf, SikhCess, SALDEF, and the Sikh Coalition.

  10. jhujaaru says:

    I respectfully disagree with Balmeet. Some flawed attempts dont provide benefit. How do SCOREs $125 per plate dinner provide benefit to or promote Sikhi? Sure, other Sikh organizations hold such high-end banquets, but usually to fundraise for meaningful projects or celebrate accomplishments for the year In SCOREs case, they have neither. SCOREs mission claims to uphold values of religious freedom, civil rights, human dignity, justice… Please someone explain how SCORE has done this in its 10 years? SCORE is just a vehicle to promote Dr. Rajwant Singh, who has cleverly followed the “cause of the month” for many years and squeeze in more photo opportunities than any Sikh of our time just so he can rub elbows with VIPs, and speak on “our” behalf No Thank You.

    Wasting our communitys resources in such “trivial” banquets hurt us in the long run. Personally, my $125 will go to projects and organizations that do “real” work for our community, like Ensaaf, SikhCess, SALDEF, and the Sikh Coalition.

  11. Camille says:

    On the other hand, what has everyone else been doing to promote Sikhi? A flawed attempt still provides some benifit.

    I wholeheartedly disagree. A bad moveis still a bad move, even if no one else is moving at all.

    I'm not trying to rumor-monger, but isn't SCORE the organization that removed their kirpanay to visit the White House when all other Sikh organizations had agreed to maintain a united position in explaining to the Secret Service that they would not be able to meet if they were asked to remove their kirpanay?

  12. Camille says:

    On the other hand, what has everyone else been doing to promote Sikhi? A flawed attempt still provides some benifit.

    I wholeheartedly disagree. A bad moveis still a bad move, even if no one else is moving at all.

    I’m not trying to rumor-monger, but isn’t SCORE the organization that removed their kirpanay to visit the White House when all other Sikh organizations had agreed to maintain a united position in explaining to the Secret Service that they would not be able to meet if they were asked to remove their kirpanay?

  13. Mewa Singh says:

    I guess some of Rajwant Singh's greatest hits include being a sore loser.

    Among these reactive Hillary supporters is the Maryland-based dentist, Dr Rajwant Singh, who could support McCain if Obama wins the nomination. It was at Rajwant's fundraiser for the Senate election in 2006 that Hillary had joked she was happy to be the "senator from Punjab as well as from New York." The Obama campaign team seized upon her statement to criticise her close ties with India and the community, though he subsequently apologised for the remark. But Rajwant still bristles: "In an Obama-McCain contest, I'll be open to supporting McCain. If Hillary says support Obama, it will not be her choice but mine that will guide me." [<a href="http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20080609&fname=US+(F)&sid=1&quot; rel="nofollow">link]

    Seems like Rajwant Singh along with "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans" is having a hard time letting go.

  14. Mewa Singh says:

    I guess some of Rajwant Singh’s greatest hits include being a sore loser.

    Among these reactive Hillary supporters is the Maryland-based dentist, Dr Rajwant Singh, who could support McCain if Obama wins the nomination. It was at Rajwant’s fundraiser for the Senate election in 2006 that Hillary had joked she was happy to be the “senator from Punjab as well as from New York.” The Obama campaign team seized upon her statement to criticise her close ties with India and the community, though he subsequently apologised for the remark. But Rajwant still bristles: “In an Obama-McCain contest, I’ll be open to supporting McCain. If Hillary says support Obama, it will not be her choice but mine that will guide me.” [link]

    Seems like Rajwant Singh along with “working, hard-working Americans, white Americans” is having a hard time letting go.

  15. reader06 says:

    Read these articles:
    http://www.sikhnet.com/daily-news/sleek-sikh http://www.sikhnet.com/daily-news/score-awards-ce

    this is why Sandeep Singh Caberwal was honored at the dinner. Instead of being judgemental, if you guys took the time to research, learn, and understand, maybe it would be easier for you and better for all of us. At least Rajwant Singh is doing something, unlike you people who are just sitting around, complaining about him.

    P.S. I didn’t mean to offend anyone; I was just stating my opinion

  16. reader06 says:

    Rajwant Singh is also on the board for SHDF (Sikh Human Development Foundation), which doesn’t get any recognition by the press, it is simply for the good cause of giving scholarships to poor children in Punjab. He is also the Chairman for Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, a gurdwara in Maryland. I ask you, do you think he does this for the recognition, or for the good of it? He just gets involved with those people to help Sikhs and to lessen the discrimination and hate crimes against us. After 9/11, Rajwant Singh helped us in so many ways, and most people aren’t even thankful for it.

    Again, I’m sorry if my comments upset anyone.

    (I know that most of you will think that I worship him, but I am not)

  17. reader06 says:

    I just want to try to answer Jodha's question-

    SCORE is a non-profit organization that helps creeate awareness about Sikhs in America. In the years after 9/11, SCORE has spoken against the prejudices of the media and the uneducated poeple. In 2004, SCORE held a function in the White House to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib. The point of this was to gain official recognition of the Sikh religion. It is very symbolic, but some people might say that people already know who we are, but many don't. By holding this event, SCORE created more awareness of Sikhs and made it so much easier for us to go about the U.S. like normal people, instead of being the outcasts. If this is not an accomplishemtn, I don't know what it is.

    Criticizing someone's hard work will not help anyone, so you should think that the glass is half full instead of half empty. Just sitting in front of a computer screen, and writing something you don't even know is true, not even trying to understand, is the worst thing anyone can do. If you are going to say something, say something positive. This is not just about Rajwant Singh, it applies to everything and everyone that you are blogging about.

    I hope that answers your question, and I hope that I do not come across as "#1 fan" or something.

  18. reader06 says:

    Read these articles:
    http://www.sikhnet.com/daily-news/sleek-sikh
    http://www.sikhnet.com/daily-news/score-awards-ceremony-honors-sikhs-across-america

    this is why Sandeep Singh Caberwal was honored at the dinner. Instead of being judgemental, if you guys took the time to research, learn, and understand, maybe it would be easier for you and better for all of us. At least Rajwant Singh is doing something, unlike you people who are just sitting around, complaining about him.

    P.S. I didnt mean to offend anyone; I was just stating my opinion

  19. reader06 says:

    Rajwant Singh is also on the board for SHDF (Sikh Human Development Foundation), which doesnt get any recognition by the press, it is simply for the good cause of giving scholarships to poor children in Punjab. He is also the Chairman for Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, a gurdwara in Maryland. I ask you, do you think he does this for the recognition, or for the good of it? He just gets involved with those people to help Sikhs and to lessen the discrimination and hate crimes against us. After 9/11, Rajwant Singh helped us in so many ways, and most people arent even thankful for it.

    Again, Im sorry if my comments upset anyone.
    (I know that most of you will think that I worship him, but I am not)

  20. reader06 says:

    I just want to try to answer Jodha’s question-

    SCORE is a non-profit organization that helps creeate awareness about Sikhs in America. In the years after 9/11, SCORE has spoken against the prejudices of the media and the uneducated poeple. In 2004, SCORE held a function in the White House to mark the 400th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib. The point of this was to gain official recognition of the Sikh religion. It is very symbolic, but some people might say that people already know who we are, but many don’t. By holding this event, SCORE created more awareness of Sikhs and made it so much easier for us to go about the U.S. like normal people, instead of being the outcasts. If this is not an accomplishemtn, I don’t know what it is.

    Criticizing someone’s hard work will not help anyone, so you should think that the glass is half full instead of half empty. Just sitting in front of a computer screen, and writing something you don’t even know is true, not even trying to understand, is the worst thing anyone can do. If you are going to say something, say something positive. This is not just about Rajwant Singh, it applies to everything and everyone that you are blogging about.

    I hope that answers your question, and I hope that I do not come across as “#1 fan” or something.

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