Okay yes, it's not like I'm running there now and leaving my home and going there only myself. Yes it can be dangerous if I don't have any guardian with me but hey I'm not doing that now. Yes but I would definitely love to stay in India for maybe a month when maharaj bless me. I will finish my studies and work because who's gonna pay for my ticket? I have to pay it myself. Many of you are not really understanding me here.
I’ve seen a handful in England
Ex-Alexandra Aitken who married the Singh in India
And when I was in Ilford over 10 years ago I saw another one, a youngish white man
Anyone any idea how many there are in UK and other countries in Europe?
A little out of the box, but if we could get some of the truck drivers to be well articulated in English, and maybe wear a kind of ‘uniform’ (like colour codes etc) and says something like ‘proud to be Sikh’; it could gradually make certain populations in America better informed about Sikhs and no longer confuse us with Muslims
How Sikhs are living the great Indian trucking dream in the U.S.
4 months ago
Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
in the 1990s, a turbaned Indian man would have attracted stares in many parts of America, but a lot has changed since then. The Sikhtrucking
community is now a force to be reckoned with. In a relatively short time, they have managed to launch truck companies, trucking schools, dhabas (Indian-style pit stops for truckers), truck washes, and small religious shrines for truckers.
The community also founded The North American Punjabi Trucking Association(NAPTA). The organization’s members include both Hindus and Muslims from the state of Punjab, which was divided between India and Pakistan when the subcontinent gained independence from Britain.
“Historically, the Sikhs have been the dominant players in Indian trucking,” says writer Rajat Ubhaykar, whose book Truck De India looks at the lives of truck drivers. “This traditional competence has led many migrants to take up trucking, which in the USA is often a more comfortable, respectable, and well-paid job than it is in India.”
From humble origins to big businesses
During the first wave of Sikh immigration to the U.S., young men generally took up jobs at convenience stores or found work as cab drivers. However, a few entrepreneurial people, such as Phoenix-based Sunny Samra, entered the trucking business. Starting out with a single truck, he established Legend Transportation.
Since its launch in 2008, the company has built up to a fleet of over 700 trucks and 1200 dry vans. Legend Transportation has operations in 11 states, located in the southwestern and western regions of the country.
Rashpal Dhindsa, co-founder of a California-based Dhindsa Group, migrated to the U.S. in the late 1980s, and purchased a truck a few years later. Along with his partner Varinder Sangha, Dhindsa bought three more trucks and went on to become a multimillion-dollar enterprise after their incorporation.
Business expansion in India
The entrepreneurial spirit has led many Sikh-Americans to invest in the ever-growing trucking and logistics industry in India. While taking notes for his book in a truck-assembling plant, Ubhaykar came across North American Sikhs supervising work on trucks that would operate in India.
“There are America-returned Sikh truck owners-patriarchs with paunches protruding out of colorful kurtas and their progeny sporting trendy faded jeans and branded J-Crew t-shirts,” Ubhaykar wrote in his book.
Sikhs’ turbaned appearance and brown skin sometimes confuse Americans, who mistake them for religious Muslims. In the wake of 9/11, several Sikhs were victims of ethnically-motivated violence across the United States. Racial discrimination continues to be a problem for both Sikh entrepreneurs and truck drivers.
An entrepreneur in his mid-40s said he had to deal with the words “Osama Bin Laden,” “terrorists” and “ISIS” spray-painted on his trucks. Requesting anonymity, he added that his drivers faced borderline violence in many parts of the country.
The entrepreneur was keen to brush this off, however, saying the kind of success he achieved in the U.S. is unthinkable in a country like India, where red tape and corrupt bureaucracy often prove insurmountable barriers for small and medium-scale businesses.
Investing in the community
Unlike in the 90s, when Samra and Dhindsa had very little financial support or backing for their business idea, these days the Sikh community is often ready to help their members with loans, jobs, and immigration.
Ubhaykar adds that continued development of Sikh networks in the U.S. has made it easier for newcomers to find a foothold in the industry through access to credit and training.
Given the growing shortage of truckers, estimated at 150,000, and a growing demand for truck delivery during the pandemic, many Sikh immigrants see a world of opportunity in the U.S.