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singhbj singh

Sikh community in Connecticut run unique Vaisakhi billboard campaign

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I think it's fair to say the Vaisakhi being promoted in the posters is the one that has precedence in crop-gathering, end-of-winter, let's-have-a-drink-and-a-dance version of events. I seriously doubt any of the individuals who created this campaign of awareness wish to confidently explain the religious connotations of Vaisakhi. That's what happens when the followers of a faith gradually begin to eschew their religious beliefs in favour of a watered-down secular existence that makes their lives apparently that much less of a "hassle." Although the guy who's interviewed above is thankfully mentioning the religious aspects, so that's a good thing.

Ultimately, any awareness is a good thing, but I'm not sure I'm pleased about the implied apologetic tone of the campaign. Are Americans really that thick and ignorant that they assume everyone with a beard and turban is out to get them?

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Guest Jacfsing2
1 hour ago, MisterrSingh said:

I think it's fair to say the Vaisakhi being promoted in the posters is the one that has precedence in crop-gathering, end-of-winter, let's-have-a-drink-and-a-dance version of events. I seriously doubt any of the individuals who created this campaign of awareness wish to confidently explain the religious connotations of Vaisakhi. That's what happens when the followers of a faith gradually begin to eschew their religious beliefs in favour of a watered-down secular existence that makes their lives apparently that much less of a "hassle." Although the guy who's interviewed above is thankfully mentioning the religious aspects, so that's a good thing.

Ultimately, any awareness is a good thing, but I'm not sure I'm pleased about the implied apologetic tone of the campaign. Are Americans really that thick and ignorant that they assume everyone with a beard and turban is out to get them?

Vaisakhi didn't start as a Sikh festival, it started as a Punjabi one. Hindu Punjabis celebrate Vaisakhi as well. This is from Wikipedia: "The first day of Vaisakh marks the traditional solar new year[45][46] and it is an ancient festival that predates the founding of Sikhism. The harvest is complete and crops ready to sell, representing a time of plenty for the farmers. Fairs and special thanksgiving pujas (prayers) are common in the Hindu tradition.[9]"

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1 hour ago, Jacfsing2 said:

Vaisakhi didn't start as a Sikh festival, it started as a Punjabi one. Hindu Punjabis celebrate Vaisakhi as well. This is from Wikipedia: "The first day of Vaisakh marks the traditional solar new year[45][46] and it is an ancient festival that predates the founding of Sikhism. The harvest is complete and crops ready to sell, representing a time of plenty for the farmers. Fairs and special thanksgiving pujas (prayers) are common in the Hindu tradition.[9]"

In the context of this awareness campaign, it's definitely Vaisakhi in the context of Sikhs, not Hindus. Now if some Sikhs don't like identifying with their religious identity in this particular context, that's entirely their choice.

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Guest Jacfsing2
5 minutes ago, MisterrSingh said:

In the context of this awareness campaign, it's definitely Vaisakhi in the context of Sikhs, not Hindus. Now if some Sikhs don't like identifying with their religious identity in this particular context, that's entirely their choice.

I was referring to why some people secularize Vaisakhi especially with the whole farming festival repetive things. I don't know how large the Punjabi Hindu Diaspora is but I'm assuming it's fairly large. So being the Quam we are, you know exactly what's going to happen.

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4 hours ago, MisterrSingh said:

Ultimately, any awareness is a good thing, but I'm not sure I'm pleased about the implied apologetic tone of the campaign

What's apologetic about it, specifically? Did you click through to read the text in the high-resolution photos? The text, as I mentioned above, is 90-98% good.

4 hours ago, MisterrSingh said:

Are Americans really that thick and ignorant that they assume everyone with a beard and turban is out to get them?

If the question is "Do Americans know who Sikhs are?", then the answer would generally be no. It's unfair to assume that Americans should be knowledgeable about a people (Sikhs) who are less than 1/2 of one percent of the world's population, and that too with small numbers and no long history of mass presence in the US. (Quick, tell me all you know about the people of Vanuatu -- without cheating by checking Wikipedia.)

If you were in the US as a black person, and someone came upon you wearing a white robe and a pointy hat, I am quite sure you would think they were "out to get you" 

And the infamous picture of Osama in a white turban, very widely published, did not help. Until we educate people, as this campaign does, that 99% of turban-wearers in the US are Sikhs, it would be normal for Americans to assume that turban-wearers are "out to get them".

Thirdly, our Sikh organizations never, to my knowledge, have said "We are not Muslims". This campaign, though, actually has the temerity to say that Sikhs are not a branch of any other faith, which is why I'm generally supportive of it.

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4 hours ago, MisterrSingh said:

I think it's fair to say the Vaisakhi being promoted in the posters is the one that has precedence in crop-gathering, end-of-winter, let's-have-a-drink-and-a-dance version of events. 

Seriously, friend? Are we looking at the same set of pictures? One is a picture of a totally normal (in both the ordinary and statistical senses of the word) Sikh family. The other is of Waris Aluwalia. In both pictures, people are just standing there, certainly not drinking alcohol. So I would say it is not "fair" to say, but rather highly "unfair" to say a drink-and-dance Vaisakhi is being promoted.

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4 hours ago, MisterrSingh said:

I seriously doubt any of the individuals who created this campaign of awareness wish to confidently explain the religious connotations of Vaisakhi.

I will grant you that the campaign creators did not intend to explain the religious connotations of Vaisakhi, because they don't mention Vaisakhi other than in the heading.

However, that's not to say that they focus on social connotations of the Punjabi harvest festival -- because they absolutely don't.

What they do do, on the other hand, is to explain some very basic information about Sikhism. Here's the text:

Quote

Happy Vaisakhi

From the Sikh Community of Connecticut

Sikhism is the fifth largest world religion and is a distinct, independent, monotheistic religion. It is not a branch or blend of any other faith.

Sikhism was founded in 1469 by Guru Nanak in the Punjab region of South Asia.

To learn more about Sikhism visit:

www.sikhs.org

www.sikhcoalition.org

There are 25 million Sikhs worldwide, with more than 500,000 Sikhs in America.

In America 99% of the people you see wearing a turban are Sikhs.

Sikh Sevak Society International (USA) Swaranjit Singh Khalsa | swaranusa@gmail.com (757) 291-5211

That's the entirety of the text. Can you point out which sentence encourages drunken fake-bhangra dancing (or even sober real-bhangra dancing)?

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22 minutes ago, BhForce said:

Seriously, friend? Are we looking at the same set of pictures? One is a picture of a totally normal (in both the ordinary and statistical senses of the word) Sikh family. The other is of Waris Aluwalia. In both pictures, people are just standing there, certainly not drinking alcohol. So I would say it is not "fair" to say, but rather highly "unfair" to say a drink-and-dance Vaisakhi is being promoted.

It's the small things that perhaps aren't overtly stated that speak volumes. I can't understand how Sikhs in a place like the United States, where apparently we've been around for many decades, are almost pleading to be left in peace, and not be mistaken for Muslims. This is 2017, isn't it? Were such campaigns being conducted in Sikh immigrant communities during the 80's and 90's?

I don't think I've ever been impressed with how the Sikh diaspora in the United States interacts with those in power over there. There's a sense of ingratiating servility which doesn't sit right with me. There's too much bending at the knee going on for my liking.

As for the text of the poster, I can't see it properly, it's too blurred. The words by the Singh who started this campaign are quite heartening, but personally I'd have given the posters another pass before sending them to print. Every single word in such cases should serve a purpose, and as I said, sometimes it's more about the impression being given than what's actually said. 

I'm not being negative. I think the initiative itself is actually a good sign that we're thinking ahead and possibly planning for any kind of negative outcome when it comes to us being vocal and proud of our roots. It's all good, but it's just missing that certain sophistication in being unequivocally unapologetic about us as a people, without being confrontational and arrogant.

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2 minutes ago, MisterrSingh said:

I can't understand how Sikhs in a place like the United States, where apparently we've been around for many decades, are almost pleading to be left in peace, and not be mistaken for Muslims.

Let me unpack it for you: 1) It is true that there have been a handful of Sikhs for a century, but only in very, very small numbers. 2) The US has no history with India or East Indians and so Americans are not as familiar with Indian peoples as the British are. 3) America is a huge country with a huge population. There are roughly the same number, maybe even a little more Sikhs in the US vs. Canada, but as a percentage, they are an order of magnitude smaller. Therefore, Americans are not as familiar with Sikhs. 4) I would be proud to die as testament to my faith because someone hates Sikhs for whatever reason, but I don't want to die as a stand-in for Muslims. That's what I think US Sikhs (and also most Sikhs) think.

Saying that we are not a branch of any other faith is just a restatement of:

ਨਾ ਹਮ ਹਿੰਦੂ ਨ ਮੁਸਲਮਾਨ ॥

I am not a Hindu, nor am I a Muslim.

ਭੈਰਉ (ਮ: ੫) ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਅੰਗ ੧੧੩੬ ਪੰ. ੧੧ 

13 minutes ago, MisterrSingh said:

I don't think I've ever been impressed with how the Sikh diaspora in the United States interacts with those in power over there. There's a sense of ingratiating servility which doesn't sit right with me. There's too much bending at the knee going on for my liking.

I think the reason that US Sikhs don't feel a need to be reflexively allergic to the Stars and Stripes as some UK Sikhs are towards the Union Jack is that the US did not destroy the Sikh Raj, the UK did that. Also, no Sikh in the US has bent his knee in front of the authorities as some brothers in the UK actually do. Rather, they just shake hands. 

Do you have any examples of servility of US Sikhs?

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50 minutes ago, BhForce said:

Do you have any examples of servility of US Sikhs?

Just an impression I've gained from observing the way they conduct themselves. I'm afraid i haven't any peer reviewed studies to justify my opinions, lol. 

It seems the Stars and Stripes propaganda seems to take a hold of our people over there in a much more vivid and visible way. Any criticism of the U.S. by non-American Sikhs is taken to heart by American Sikhs as if it's a personal attack on them. On one hand it's a sign of loyalty for their host country, but equally it comes across as quite bizarre for those who haven't experienced such behaviour. 

In comparison, if Sikhs in Britain were on the receiving end of the kind of foolish and downright erroneous assumptions about our background that American Sikhs have fallen victim to, i believe we'd be like, "You think we're Muslims? You don't like us? We're ragheads, are we? Eff off, don't care what you think. You're a joke." Whereas with American Sikhs i get the overwhelming sensation of the desperate desire to be accepted and adored by the mainstream. "Please love us, white people. We crave your acceptance. Honestly, we're really nice people." When you set upon that road, you unknowingly become susceptible to compromising many things about yourself for the sake of appeasing certain sections of society. That's a dangerous precedent to set.

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On 11 April 2017 at 7:06 PM, singhbj singh said:

Sikh community in Connecticut run unique Vaisakhi billboard campaign

Staff Writer, Posted On : April 10, 2017 5:50 pm

 

Vaisakhi2-195x300.jpg

This POSTER DOES NOT REPRESENT VAISAAKHI AT ALL.

What it represents is some odd looking man with yards and yards  of blue fabric wound around his head, standing next to a silly looking woman and a child  with wide grins on their faces bereft of ANY KHALSA SPIRIT IN THEIR EYES, FULL STOP!! Not even a hint! Bloody annoying!

 

 

 

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On 11 April 2017 at 7:06 PM, singhbj singh said:

 

Vaisakhi3-225x300.jpg

 

Just because someone is staring at a poster does not prove that he has picked up any messages or learned anything!!!!! Nonsense!

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1 hour ago, sikhojaago said:

This POSTER DOES NOT REPRESENT VAISAAKHI AT ALL.

What it represents is some odd looking man with yards and yards  of blue fabric wound around his head, standing next to a silly looking woman and a child  with wide grins on their faces bereft of ANY KHALSA SPIRIT IN THEIR EYES, FULL STOP!! Not even a hint! Bloody annoying!

 

 

 

...

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