Year in Review: The Best and Worst Sikh Moments of 2013

The Best:

  1. Bhai Gurbaksh Singh went on a hunger strike for 44 days which led to the release of 4 political prisoners and increased international attention on human rights in India. We were all deeply moved and inspired, and Bhai Sahib sparked a new movement!

  2. Sikh women claimed their place in new and outstanding ways!

    • Balpreet Kaur gave this inspiring talk. We all love her.

    • SAFAR held it’s second annual Young Women’s Leadership conference, took us beyond International Women’s Day and shared a beautiful message on the International Day of the Girl.

    • The Sikh Coalition acknowledged International Day of the Girl for the first time.

    • The Sikh Activist Network featured poems about rape in India.

    • Sikhnet hosted an online youth film festival focused on KAUR. How amazing is that?!

    • The Sikh Art & Film Festival added a female speaker to their panel and 18MillionRising stepped in to support gender equality.

    • My awesome friends are building a Dastaar Tutorial Project for women (more details to come soon). Maybe now I can figure out how to keep a patka on my head that doesn’t slip off underneath my dastaar. Win!!!!!

  3. We marked the one-year anniversary since Oak Creek and grieved several other hate crimes but still came out on top.

    • Piara Singh was attacked in Fresno and the community rose to the occasion in inspiring ways, serving meals and buckets full of compassion to local families.

    • Dr. Prabhjot Singh invited his attackers to worship with him and shifted the narrative of justice when it comes to hate crimes.

    • The Sikh Coalition released a new version of Fly Rights. Rockin it!

    • Jasjeet Singh spoke at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. No big deal.

    • Dr. Kiran Arora began a study on religion and race-related stress among North American Sikhs. Much-needed.

    • Turban Myths was released, the first national public perception assessment on the Sikh American community, conducted by SALDEF in collaboration with Stanford University. Nicely done!

  4. Gurpreet Singh debuted on American Idol and we all swooned!

  5. The Jakara Movement announced plans to build a Sikh youth center and spent 2013 engaging the community on issues related to caste, not to mention Sikholars London, Bhujangi and Bhujanagan. Yeah, they’re pretty awesome and holding down the fort.

  6. A Sikh man stood up for human rights and gay rights. Oh, and then he kissed a boy and caused a raucous trailblazing new paths for LGBTQ Sikhs and told Kevin Newman all about it. It’s about time, right?!

  7. The Dasvandh Network raised $85,000 during Dasvandh week and started educating young ones about the importance of giving back. Wow!

  8. Sikh monologues began a journey around the United States to tell the stories of Sikhs. Groundbreaking and fun!

  9. We honored the centenary of the Ghadar Movement.

  10. Fauja Singh ran his last marathon and The Surat Initiative started running clubs across the U.S.

  11. The Sikh turban became an iconic fashion symbol, and we all had mixed feelings about it but it’s still pretty hot stuff.

  12. Sadda Haq was released and we were reminded of how important freedom of speech and freedom of the press are…and how nonexistent they are in India.

  13. Narvir Singh is capturing the Sikh Renaissance that is happening. Speechless!

  14. Superhero Vishavjit Singh took down hate and racism with a cape and made international headlines. INCREDIBLE!

  15. Several organizations have already begun to announce plans to mark the 30th anniversary of 1984. Can’t wait!

The Worst:

  1. Sajjan Kumar was acquitted for his role in the 1984 pogroms but an appeal has been filed and the outcome is pending.

  2. A Sikh family was murdered in a suspected murder-suicide in Atlanta, Georgia.

  3. India’s top police officer declared that if you can’t end rape, enjoy it! The Sikh Activist Network slammed him and India’s history of gross human rights violations.

  4. Several kirpan cases remain unresolved despite our best efforts.

  5. A Sikh man was called a terrorist in Mississippi and told to remove his “rag” in court.

  6. Quebec proposed yet another ban on religious garb. Not cool, Quebec. Not cool.

  7. Jagmeet Singh’s visa application was denied by India. Shame, shame on you, India!
  8. Sikh anti-feminists trolled feminists on twitter, and somehow gained a following in the process. Though it is inexplicable to me, apparently anti-feminism is something that can be justified in Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Yeah, no.

  9. Victim shaming and blaming took over The Langar Hall after the release of the BBC documentary report on child sexual abuse in the Sikh community in the U.K.

  10. Walmart sold turban & beard Halloween costumes conflating the appearance of sardar men with Osama bin Laden and terrorists. The Sikh Coalition successfully fought to have the items removed from shelves, but the exotic Indian women/Bollywood dancers remain on the shelves.

  11. The Sikh Turban became a fashion item, apparently, and the double standard remains. Imagine Sikh women as fashion icons, would we have the same reaction? I think not.

  12. Five Sikhs protested The Gap’s “Make Love” ad campaign, offended by the portrayal of the turban in a sexual way. Though the ad itself was controversial for other reasons, the whole religion/sex controversy really isn’t the issue at hand in my eyes… nor do I think a protest is the way to address it. I thought we were done with that kind of orthodoxy.

  13. Bullying continues to increase in our schools and neighborhoods and this is not the bullying we grew up with.


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7 Responses to “Year in Review: The Best and Worst Sikh Moments of 2013”

  1. ASD says:

    Pretty good list!

  2. Bestof says:

    Did you think at all about the fact you are just one person and this list says "sikh" moments?

    Did you canvass all "sikhs"? really curious by what legitimacy this is a list of best and worst sikh moments? It seems like its the authors list of things she is feels are good or bad and related to her conception of what is "sikh".

    How can the author or others who might have some input into the blog not see that, given your apparent backgrounds in and commitment to critical analysis?

  3. Bestof says:

    In this and other posts, the "good" and "bad" seemed based on a ersatz reading of a given situation
    assessed as a conflict between forces that line up as oppressed or privileged by cisheteropatriarchal global capitalism.

    This basic formulation seems like some combination of marxist thought – capitalism is the root of all oppression with the addition of New Left and post modernist critical analysis providing new combinations to the old single class analysis. The key is that the right side to be on is the side most oppressed by cisheteropatriarchal global capitalism.

    Where is the explicit treatment of the forces that in gurubani are thought to drive suffering and ignorance, injustice, death, and pain? I struggle to find the five thieves in the analysis used on this site. The five thieves and the ensuing attachment to Maya being described in gurbani – these have gone missing in this new, apparently "sikh" progressive vision. Instead, the five thieves have been replaced by cisheteropatriarchal global capitalism. Maybe cisheteropatriachal global capitalism is really the manifestation of attachment to Maya in our current time. Can you make this connection more explicitly?

    At some point don't you have to engage with gurubani on an explicit and on-going basis? When is this going to start happening?

  4. Bestof says:

    sorry: cisheteropatriarchal white supremacist anthropocentric global capitalism. shout out to those keeping it real for the non human animals!

  5. Deep Hundal says:

    You forgot one:

    Gurbaksh Chahal, resident douche bag millionaire, was charged with domestic abuse.


  6. Deep Hundal says:

    I think the Langar Hall should post some of my writings from my blog:

    Yes, I just inserted myself in here. Thanks.

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