How serious are you about preserving Sikh culture?

1984.jpgMichael Singh, a filmmaker, has been attempting for years to finisha documentary on his experiences during 1984. However, without support from the Sikh community (yes, money) he has found himself unable to complete this work. His goalhas beento make a one-hour documentary based on materials he recorded and filmed during three days in Delhi when mobswere roamingoutside the compound where he and his brother Surinder were staying.

The documentary-film-in-progress Riding the Tiger will recount filmmaker Michael Singh’s personal and intimate journey into self-identity as a half-Sikh young man who survived the atrocities of 1984, denying his Sikh heritage and passing for a white man. His story is set against the backdrop of the bloodiest year in modern Sikh history, a year of which many young Sikhs know little. [link]

The filmmakeris concerned that the traumatic events of 1984 are “quickly fading” from the Sikh consciousness and is asking the community, “How serious are you about preserving Sikh culture?”Micheal’s story begins when he and his brother return home, to India. After Prime Minister Indira Gandhi lay siege on the Sikh’s holiest site, Michael and his brother Surinder managed to infiltrate it and view the destruction following the gunning down of hundreds of pilgrims. Upon returning to the US Micheal publicized his story, and to his delight, three Sikh film producers showed up at his apartment, expressing their desire to hear his interviews and bankroll his film. Michael tells us of thetragedy of this visit,

A most encouraged Michael served them chai and samosas and agreed to meet in a more formal setting for a contractual agreement. Only after the three Sardars left did Michael realize they had stolen his taped interviews. “I don’t know who they were. Perhaps they were Government agents. Whoever they were, I’d definitely like them to return my tapes, no questions asked,” says Michael. That loss disheartened him enough to shelve the project for decades, until he began to notice how few records actually exist of 1984. [link]

The filmmaker finds that many young Sikhs are unaware of the events of 1984 and the lack of justice that haunts its victims and their families and because of this he is even more determined to finish the project. He notes that there are enough concerned Sikhs worldwide who will help provide the monetary support he needs to finish the film. While I do agree that the majority of our community would support such efforts and simply require a defined project to support, we often lack the initiative. This film would be a way of documenting a part of Sikh history – and that should be reason enoughto support it. It’s also important to note that the filmmaker is not only looking for monetary supportfor this film.He is also looking for contributions of time and skill and of equipment.

The filmmaker explains the significance of the title,

“Well, I don’t depict Mrs Gandhi in the most flattering light,” admits Michael. “I see her as having mounted the tiger of political ambition and power at all cost. And in the end, she slipped off and the tiger ate her. Hence the title.”

You can listen to Audio for the film and a trailer here.


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16 Responses to “How serious are you about preserving Sikh culture?”

  1. Only after the three Sardars left did Michael realize they had stolen his taped interviews.

    Absolutely unbelievable. The loss is unquantifiable.

  2. Only after the three Sardars left did Michael realize they had stolen his taped interviews.

    Absolutely unbelievable. The loss is unquantifiable.

  3. Would the documentary film not finally become or prove as a distorted/planted story of intervention of the Government agents that is of three sardars and the part of the play (planned State terrorism) that Sikhs were used from within to prosecute Sikh community in the name to fight back against terrorism?

  4. Would the documentary film not finally become or prove as a distorted/planted story of intervention of the Government agents that is of three sardars and the part of the play (planned State terrorism) that Sikhs were used from within to prosecute Sikh community in the name to fight back against terrorism?

  5. rocco says:

    dude should have made a backup copy. dahh

  6. rocco says:

    dude should have made a backup copy. dahh

  7. Poem: Honesty and Deception

    By Balbir Singh Sooch

    Afraid to answer!

    Is life of honesty or deception?

    To remain honest to hide deception

    Honesty and deception are brother and sister

    Hide from each other as learned from author

    Running Narrow to open and open to narrow

    Deception and honesty run together

    Afraid to answer!

    To say honest what kind of deception it is?

    And similarly to say dishonest what kind of honesty it is?

    Crying to be honest what a pain of honesty it is?

    To be anxious in pain is deception

    Real honesty is minus nervousness

    Crying, crying is life of deception

    Without playing, silence and normalcy are real honesty

    Man is actor missing altogether in the mortal World

    Afraid to answer!

    What is act of God?

    Without playing, silence and normalcy

    Nervousness of greed is act of actor

    How to judge difference between actor and worshipper of God?

    Actor always anxious in pain but not worshipper of God

    How to be worshipper different from actor?

    Be away from greed and deception

    Not to play, cry, joyous but be normal in life

    Then man shall be near to God

    Then to be difficult to differentiate act of man and God

    What a combination of man and God?

    Understood!

    But afraid to answer!

    Because of difference between man and God

    Whether life is of honesty or deception?

    Man is actor not worshipper of God

    But afraid to answer who are actor and worshipper of God?

    To be anxious in pain is deception

    Without playing, silence and normalcy are honesty of life

    Whatever is the difference between honesty and deception?

    Same is the difference in act of God and man

    Deception to fall and like act of God honesty to prevail

  8. Poem: Honesty and Deception
    By Balbir Singh Sooch

    Afraid to answer!
    Is life of honesty or deception?
    To remain honest to hide deception
    Honesty and deception are brother and sister
    Hide from each other as learned from author
    Running Narrow to open and open to narrow
    Deception and honesty run together

    Afraid to answer!
    To say honest what kind of deception it is?
    And similarly to say dishonest what kind of honesty it is?
    Crying to be honest what a pain of honesty it is?
    To be anxious in pain is deception
    Real honesty is minus nervousness
    Crying, crying is life of deception
    Without playing, silence and normalcy are real honesty
    Man is actor missing altogether in the mortal World

    Afraid to answer!
    What is act of God?
    Without playing, silence and normalcy
    Nervousness of greed is act of actor
    How to judge difference between actor and worshipper of God?
    Actor always anxious in pain but not worshipper of God
    How to be worshipper different from actor?
    Be away from greed and deception
    Not to play, cry, joyous but be normal in life
    Then man shall be near to God
    Then to be difficult to differentiate act of man and God
    What a combination of man and God?

    Understood!
    But afraid to answer!
    Because of difference between man and God
    Whether life is of honesty or deception?
    Man is actor not worshipper of God
    But afraid to answer who are actor and worshipper of God?
    To be anxious in pain is deception
    Without playing, silence and normalcy are honesty of life
    Whatever is the difference between honesty and deception?
    Same is the difference in act of God and man
    Deception to fall and like act of God honesty to prevail

  9. In response to Rocco, yes indeed I should have made a backup! You can imagine my regret. Back in those analog days, that would have required two tape recorders, which I did not have, but more importantly, it never crossed my mind that a Sikh would be a thief and a liar (about their identity as gov't agents). To this day, I have no proof that they were agents. If they are reading this post, I wonder if they stored the tape somewhere and would return it to me (!), or whether they long ago destroyed it. Meanwhile, we continue raising funds to complete the film. Best wishes – Michael Singh

  10. In response to Rocco, yes indeed I should have made a backup! You can imagine my regret. Back in those analog days, that would have required two tape recorders, which I did not have, but more importantly, it never crossed my mind that a Sikh would be a thief and a liar (about their identity as gov’t agents). To this day, I have no proof that they were agents. If they are reading this post, I wonder if they stored the tape somewhere and would return it to me (!), or whether they long ago destroyed it. Meanwhile, we continue raising funds to complete the film. Best wishes – Michael Singh

  11. harpreet singh says:

    Michael, I am pained at your loss. Have you tried to reach out to the Gurudwaras or Sikh Institutions for donations to complete the project?

  12. harpreet singh says:

    Michael, I am pained at your loss. Have you tried to reach out to the Gurudwaras or Sikh Institutions for donations to complete the project?

  13. Harpreet, thank you for your kind thoughts. Yes I have visited and spoken at a few gurudwaras and dinners with many Sikhs, who have all been very enthused and supportive. But that support has not translated into funds, unfortunately! Please feel free to refer any community or religious leaders to my site, ridingthetiger.tv, if you think their congregations or colleagues would be willing to donate. Many thanks again.

  14. Harpreet, thank you for your kind thoughts. Yes I have visited and spoken at a few gurudwaras and dinners with many Sikhs, who have all been very enthused and supportive. But that support has not translated into funds, unfortunately! Please feel free to refer any community or religious leaders to my site, ridingthetiger.tv, if you think their congregations or colleagues would be willing to donate. Many thanks again.

  15. iSingh says:

    I just checked and he has only received $5000 of the target $250,000. Can TLH put a link for this on the blog home-page ? I'd rather donate to this than another gurudwara construction or langar sponsorship.

  16. iSingh says:

    I just checked and he has only received $5000 of the target $250,000. Can TLH put a link for this on the blog home-page ? I'd rather donate to this than another gurudwara construction or langar sponsorship.

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