13 Striking Portraits That Challenge Society’s Views of Sikh Men by Amit & Naroop

1. Gurjeevan Singh Plahe

2. Magic Singh - Magician

3. Asa Singh - Highway Planner

4. Gurbir Singh - Polo Player

5. Chaz Singh Fliy - Creative Director

6. Ishtmeet Singh Phull - Student

7. Roop Singh - Sikh Storyteller

8. Darshan Singh Bhooi - Retired Businessman

9. Amanpreet Singh - Temple Volunteer

10. Hardeep Singh Kohli - Comedian, Writer, Presenter

Project by Amit & Naroop via Identities.Mic

‘Go Home Terrorist:’ Sikh children bullied twice the national average

Half of Sikh children reported that they are bullied in school, according to a study released Thursday – a number that rises to more than two-thirds if they wear a turban that covers their long, uncut hair in accordance with their religion.

The study also found that Sept. 11, 2001 attacks are an important factor driving persecution of children wearing traditional garb. They endure bullying rates twice the national average, the report found.

“For two years we got bullied, came home crying every day,” a Sikh student, who is identified only by his initials LS, said in the report, titled Go Home Terrorist. “I was in 5th grade [in California], and my dad took us to a barber shop, and he was like ‘it’s today.’ My mom was crying, my dad was crying.” It was the day he cut his hair.

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(Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

‘Leave Canada’ spray-painted on Sikh temple in south Edmonton

A south Edmonton gurdwara — or Sikh place of worship — was vandalized with phrases like ‘Leave Canada’ and a profane, racist comment.

“Today we discovered something very deeply saddening to us,” says Harman Singh Kandola, chairman of the gurdwara’s advisory committee. “Some graffiti that was put on the wall of the exterior of our facility.”

Two phrases — “Leave Canada” and “F**k Indians” — were spray-painted on the outside of the temple. Members have already started painting over the words.

Kandola says Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha in Mill Woods has been spray-painted in the past. He doesn’t believe this case is connected to the shootings in Paris.

“We’re saddened by it, we’re saddened that they would feel this way, however we believe they may just be misinformed.”

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We are Sikh

Fifth largest religion in the world, and people are ignorant enough to call us Hindus or Muslims. Educate yourself.

  • We are Sikh. Our faith matters to us. So much so that we will gladly give our life fighting for what we believe in as many saint soldiers have done in the past, including our own Gurus.
  • Sikh mothers had their newly borns chopped, limb by limb and then placed around their necks like garlands. This was the price they payed for not converting to another religion, those brave Sikh women remained in high spirits and sang the praises of Guru Nanak & Vaheguru.
  • We made up less than 2% of the Indian population yet 67% of the Indian army were Sikhs.
  • The first battle for freedom from British was won by Sikhs, when after loss of many lives in 1929 they were able to take over the charge of their shrines from British.
  • Our ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji offered to sacrifice his life to protect another religion. He laid down his life in defense of religious tolerance, freedom of worship, and freedom of religion. He gave his life for the Hindus’ right to wear the sacred thread despite the fact that Sikhs themselves do not believe in these rituals. This was martyrdom for the defense of basic human values.
  • In 1709, Guru Gobind Singh Ji left this world with a lifetime of heroic events which changed the History of India. (which I cannot even compress enough to make it into this text post &  still do it justice)
  • Bhagat Singh while studying in Berkeley University in California went back to Punjab to fight against the British army and was hanged in 1913 while fighting for freedom.
  • Punjab lost its most fertile part to Pakistan during the partition. However, today due to hard labor of Sikh farmers, the Punjab in India produces much higher quantities of food grain than the fertile Punjab in Pakistan. Punjab contributes 40% of rice and 51% of wheat into the central pool of food grains in India.
  • On April 13, 1919, the British conducted Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which consisted of killing 1300 unarmed Indians, 62% of those who were Sikhs in a single day.
  • 1984; we don’t even KNOW how many Sikhs were brutally murdered in the most inhumane ways possible because the Indian government burnt all the bodies without keeping track.

And that’s not even half of the history covered; 
Seeing news like the picture above absolutely shatters my heart, our Gurus and martyrs didn’t give up their life to be called someone we’re not. We have  been given a unique identity so that the world may recognise a single Sikh in a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people.

  • We wear a turban in which we have a small wooden comb to keep and protect our sacred gift from God, our uncut hair, our Kes.
  • We wear a Kara (iron bracelet) to resemble handcuffs, which reminds a Sikh to be a servant of the Guru & think twice about doing evil deeds.
  • We wear a Kirpan (a sword) which symbolises dignity, self-reliance, capacity and readiness to always defend the weak and the oppressed.
  • We wear a Kachera (undershorts) which reminds the Sikh of the need for self-restrain over passions, lust and desires.

A Sikh is a devotee first and to protect his devotion, a Sikh is a warrior as well. A real Sikh will never let weapons take the precedence over his spiritual values and devotion. A real Sikh will always help the one in need and fight for him/her regardless of the person’s caste, color or religion. When all other means of self-protection fail, the Sikh can use his sword to protect himself and others. A Sikh is never to use his sword to attack anyone.

So please, don’t call us something we’re not. We are Sikh. But before that, we are human.

"Black Diwali” in Sikh Communities

Millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains in India, Nepal, and abroad celebrate Diwali (or Deepavali) today on November 11th, 2015. Commonly revered as the “Festival of Lights” it marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and celebrates the spiritual triumph of “good over evil” and “light over dark”. 

People all over the world light diyas or clay candles often filled with either candle wax or mustard oil. People celebrate with gifts, food, and gathering with family in bonding and prayer for good fortune. 

However, many Sikh communities and organizations are celebrating Kali Diwali (or Black Diwali) instead in light of recent distress and disorder in Punjab.

Starting in Faridkot, Punjab, people all over the world are protesting against the public desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, an important and holy Sikh text. When Sikhs responded with civil disobedience and peaceful protest, Punjabi police met them with horrific instances of police brutality. They were reported to have released open fire, water cannons, and tear gas where protesters had gathered. This resulted in the death of two protesters and the severe injury of many more at the hands of their own police force, often criticized for never upholding their duties to protect citizens.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada and Sikh Student Association chapters in the United States have joined their hands to condemn the police’s actions and show support for Sikh Punjabis fighting for justice. Many have proposed the celebration of Kaali Diwali today, halting the typical celebration of Diwali to highlight the continuous brutality and shutdown of schools, businesses, and public transit because of sprouting violence. It is a mission to bring greater unity to the Sikh community and awareness to the public disrespect of the Sikh faith. Organizers have urged the community to display black flags, dress in black, and not light any diyas tonight. 

Sikhs are fighting a violent war for justice, peace, and respect, so please show your support for the community, as many are unable to partake in today’s festivities.

Nihang Sikh. Anandpur Sahib, India par Marji Lang
Via Flickr :
Portrait of a young Nihang Sikh during Hola Mahalla, a Sikh festival held in Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, north India. The Nihang (Punjabi: ਨਿਹੰਗ) are an armed Sikh order. They are also referred to as Akali (lit. “the immortals”). Nihang are believed to have originated either from Fateh Singh and the attire he wore or from the “Akal Sena”(lit. The Army of the Immortal) started by Guru Hargobind. Early Sikh military history was dominated by the Nihang, known for their victories where they were heavily outnumbered. Traditionally known for their bravery and ruthlessness in the battlefield, the Nihang once formed the guerrilla squads of the armed forces of Ranjit Singh.
Anti-Sikh posters show up on University of Alberta campus
Edmonton university condemns racist posters placed at a dozen sites, as campus organizers plan a pro-diversity event in response.

The University of Alberta moved quickly this week to remove racist posters that showed up on campus featuring the image of a Sikh man in a marigold-yellow turban and the words: “If you’re so obsessed with your third-world culture, go the f— back to where you came from!”

Twelve identical posters were found on the campus Monday, including one at the university’s main library.

The University of Alberta’s Protective Services are investigating the incident, said Alison Turner, manager, strategic communications.

“We do not know who put the posters up on the University of Alberta campus,” she said. “Next steps will depend on the outcome of the investigation.”

“We’re obviously all very disappointed by the xenophobic posters,” Fahim Rahman, president of the students’ union, wrote in a statement condemning their placement.

“The University of Alberta is an incredibly diverse campus, with students and faculty from all over the world who follow a variety of faiths. Personally, I’ve always felt that the U of A is a welcoming and accepting campus, and I’m very troubled that someone — whether they’re a student or someone from the surrounding community — feels otherwise.”

Rahman said he felt “encouraged by the positive, constructive way many students have responded to these posters, organizing events and having conversations about acceptance and diversity on campus.”

The poster shows the words “F— YOUR TURBAN across the man’s headgear, includes the hashtags #Non-integrative #Invasion” and links to an anti-immigration website,

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