Dashmesh Pictures: Homepage Dashmesh Pictures:  Mission Statement Learn about Team Dashmesh Pictures Dashmesh Pictures:  Newsworthy Items Featured Works Other Works Contact Us Links and Reference Help Wanted Inspiration and Guidance Donations Welcomed

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's about damn time.

News Source: ANI, via Yahoo News
Publish Date: 11/29/07

Bhindranwala's portrait installed at Golden Temple's Sikh Museum

Thursday November 29, 09:27 PM

By Ravinder Singh Robin

Amritsar, Nov 29 (ANI): The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) on Thursday installed a portrait of slain rebel Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala at a Sikh museum situated in the premises of the Golden Temple.

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar had earlier announced to install the portrait of the controversial religious leader on November 30. However, it went ahead to install the portrait a day earlier.

Addressing the gathering during the installation ceremony, Makkar said that the SGPC has always been honouring martyrs who have fought for the Sikh community, and it was a moment of pride to install the portrait of one of the great martyr of the 20th century.

Speaking on the occasion Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, hailed the SGPC for taking a 'historic step'.

He described Bhinderanwale as an "epitome of martyrdom".

A rob of honour "sarpao" was given to Isher Singh, son of Bhindranwala, on the occasion by Vedanti.

In 2003, the SGPC, an apex body controlling Sikh places of worship, had declared Bhindranwala as a "martyr".

Bhindranwala was killed in 'Operation Blue Star' launched by the Indian Army to flush out separatists from Golden Temple complex in Amritsar. (ANI)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CNN/YouTube Presidential Debate... did my question make the cut?

On November 28th, CNN will host the second YouTube Presidential Debate. This time around, it will feature the Republicans in the hot seat as they are questioned by American citizens on the hot Presidential Election topics.

Close to 5,000 people submitted questions to this event, but only 40 will be chosen and aired at the debate.

A couple months ago, Supreet and I decided to make a quick video for a question to this event. We knew that asking a totally Sikh based question would not make the cut. So we had to pose a legitimate question to the Presidential candidates while trying to interweave who Sikhs are. With some thought, here is the question that was submitted:

My question to the CNN/YouTube Presidential Debate.

So there you have it. Only time will tell if this question get posed to the Republican candidates or not. But one thing for sure is that the CNN debate screening team who reviewed the question didn't know who Sikhs were, they sure do now.

CNN Debate Screeners
Think these guys know who Sikhs are now?

See you at the debates.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thank Waheguru for Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Today, the Sikh nation celebrates the 538th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith.

Without the gift of his divine knowledge, the word Sikh would have never gained its new definition as the world knows it as today. Without Guru Nanak Dev Ji, we all would continue to sink among all other obstacles in the worldly ocean.

Without Guru Nanak Dev Ji, I would have no pride.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as depicted Sobha Singh
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as depicted by Sobha Singh

As I start to study the actual words of the Sikh Gurus, their is one line that has hit me very hard of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. In the very last passage (or Salok) of JapJi Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev Ji says the following powerful line:

Salok in JapJi Sahib
Salok from Guru Nanak Dev Ji's JapJi Sahib

As I dwell on this line, I think how wise Guru Nanak Dev Ji is even in our time today. Here Guru Sahib shares how those who try to live a life of truth and commitment may or may not continue to do so. How some may stray from his unique way of life that he is proposing, while others except it and walk with him.

Now think of it in today’s time. Many people ponder in our community why some reject Sikhism’s great message, its way of life, and the identity that shows all Sikhism’s way of life? While others openly choose to do so saying that the identity, or the Sikh way of life, is no longer needed in the 21st century.

And yet here, Guru Nanak Dev Ji states that some choose to engage his new way of life called Sikhism, while others hide from it.

Truly, Guru Nanak Sahib was a mortal man who had the gift from the divine. And that divine power, God, gave the strength to Guru Nanak Dev Ji to share its message and its name, Waheguru.

May Waheguru bless us all so that we come closer to Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message, and no longer attempt to hide from it.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as depicted Sobha Singh
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, as depicted by Sobha Singh

In loving memory of the 538th birthday of Sikhism’s founder and First Guru, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539).

A happy Gurpurab to all on this most auspicious day!

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Air travel tips that work for me

With the Thanksgiving Day travel starting here in the States, I’m sure much is on the Sikh air traveler’s minds as they go through the various security checkpoints with other passengers in airports. Security surveillance in airports is at its maximum, with many air passengers expecting long lines and delays to and from their destinations.

In recent months with Sikhs facing unwanted (and personally, un-needed) ridicule when traveling by air due to new TSA guidelines, many Panthic organizations have stepped up and assisted in sharing Sikh viewpoints to work towards the common goal of maintaining security without compromising religious sensitivities.

During my marriage a month back, TSA was at the height of providing additional scrutiny to those wearing religious head coverings (such as us Sikhs). I spoke with many of my relatives who traveled by air to attended the wedding festivities. Many stated that they were not singled out for secondary inspection, but my Mama Ji was. When talking to him about his secondary screening, who is a hardcore Taksali, he stated that he personally had no issues with the questioning by the TSA.

As I asked him to recall specifically what happened, he stated that after he completed the metal detection screening process, TSA security officers asked if they could check his turban for any type of item that may be concealed. He personally agreed to this, and the TSA security officer touched his turban lightly on the top within vicinity of other passengers at the metal detector location. He did not carry his kirpan with him on his flight over.

I then asked him if he objected to this process and he said no not at all. However his response was unique and brought a smile to both of our faces. He went on to say when that you have no sovereignty for people to identity who you are or where you belong, people will continue to encounter issues like these.

Upon reading all the various reports of Sikhs having their turbans inappropriately touched, or in some cases removed, there is one common theme that I see over and over in each reported case via media outlets: The lack of Sikh air passengers potentially not understanding their rights, nor the enforcement of those rights by TSA security officers.

I only came to this conclusion after reviewing the TSA guidelines before Supreet and I headed off to our honeymoon. During our honeymoon trip we traveled back and forth from the continental United States to Hawaii, all the while making several travel stops on various Hawaiian islands by airplane.

On each day of air travel, I encountered no issues from the TSA while traveling even with their heightened screening of anyone with a head covering.

Maybe it was my luck (such as potentially dealing with TSA security officers that were not power hungry), but I carefully reviewed specific sections of the TSA website and my specific airliner to know what rights I was entitled to. Sadly in some cases where Sikhs were forced to remove their turbans in public, my guess is that they did not have a clear understanding of their rights as their reactions in the various reports did not show this.

So here on some tips in regards to air travel that has worked for me, especially during TSA’s extra surveillance:

1. Know your rights. Read and understand your rights on the TSA website. Check out this link of prohibited items as well as this link discussing how the TSA screens passengers with religious sensitivities. Did you know that at the start of the screening process you can request for a private screening if need be?

Knowing this information, as well as specifically understanding the terminology used by the TSA, can be part of a great defensive strategy when going through the airport screening process. Furthermore, it can defuse any potentially unwanted situation by demonstrating that you are a knowledgeable air passenger who is not violating any security protocol.

2. Check out various Sikh advocacy groups (SALDEF, Sikh Coalition, and United Sikhs) for their own references on how to travel with minimal scrutiny within the United States. Many of their air travel guideline advisories differ slightly from each other, but all basically state the same thing.

3. Pack bags accordingly. Know exactly how many checked-in baggage and carry-on bagger or your air carrier will allow. Basic rule of them is two checked-in baggage, one carry-on baggage, and one personal bag. However this might vary from airliner. Supreet and I flew on American Airlines and they have a section devoted to baggage restrictions. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to get the approved TSA lock for travel within the United States. I’ve seen TSA officers welcome these locks when they see them on luggage.

4. Get to the airport well in advance. Compensate for the security process, especially if you request to go to a private screening room for whatever reason.

5. Have all appropriate paperwork in hand at all times. To have your boarding pass and identification in hand even before meeting the first security checkpoint will streamline your process. Furthermore, keep it in hand once going through the metal detectors as security officials will see it again.

6. Welcome the security process at all times. This goes hand-in-hand with Step 4 above. When the time is appropriate, be sure to take off shoes and follow instructions as needed. If you welcome the process and follow instructions, this will defuse any potential unwanted situation.

When going through the metal detectors, verbally ask the guards if they are ready before you enter even if they flag you in. By starting a dialogue before this process starts lets them know you are ready to comply and again, it can help to potentially defuse unwanted situations. This in particular worked well for me.

7. Don’t bring any unwanted attention. I know this is hard when having kesh and a turban, especially when it is very visible. So you know you are already being watched, so don’t make things any harder than it needs to be. If you comply and welcome the security process, you hopefully will not encounter any negative experiences. While at IAD one time to see one of my friends off, I waited outside the security line to verify that my friend passed security with no issues. While waiting, a Muslim woman wearing a hejab standing next to me passed some water to her family or friends who were in the actual flight security line. By doing this, Dulles Security was all over the place trying to identify what the woman passed into the security line as it was a violation. I felt bad as the woman was being ridiculed, but it was obvious that security knew of her presence due to her identity hence she had even further unwanted attention.

8. Keep your cool at all costs. No matter how much cultural or sensitivity training a TSA security official receives, I still believe that many of them will not be able to identify who a Sikh is as well as understand the religious sensitivity of the turban. With that said, there is no need to get upset or visibly agitated if they ask inappropriate questions or wish to commence with a pat-down of the turban. If this option does arise, you should know your rights and not give into any type of touch/feel in public vicinity. Request that you know your rights and demand to be taken to a private screening room.

Being a Punjabi, I know it is in our nature to get upset first and ask questions later. At SCORE’s Capitol Hill Dinner this last year, this Uncle got so upset at Capitol Police because they would not let a Giani Ji enter the facility due to his kirpan. I literally had to yell at the Uncle to keep his cool, as he kept shouting to the police officers that they should know who Sikhs are after all their cultural training they should have received. After removing this Uncle and rationally talking to the police officers, they let in the Giani Ji after several minutes after talking to their superiors.

9. Smile. It’s amazing what a smile and having patience can do for you. It has worked wonders for me, and works well in any stressful situation… like going through airport security.

I’m out. Happy Turkey Day!

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Alive and well, and married!

So it has been months since I actually wrote a post to this blog, whether it be my thoughts or items in the news that is of interest to me.

I do however have good excuse. I got married.

Yep, my biggest project that I have taken over the last eight months has been planning my marriage to the wonderful Supreet Kaur. From my side of the family, I was the one on point to plan and execute the the whole shebang. So whether it was meeting with various vendors or planning the actual reception, yours truly had many long nights to get the whole fun item created and up and running.

So I’m sure you can forgive me for my tardiness. Below are some photos from the Anand Karaj event and lunch reception on the day of the wedding for you to enjoy. I’ll be sure to send the link out of all the photos once Mr. Glenn Barnett posts all of them online on Pictage.

That freakin horse was huge!
Getting on the horse was half the battle.

Me and the Mrs.
Ahh yes, a moment of bliss.

Fish Eye shot.
The fish eye shot makes the hall look packed... well, it was though.

The newly weds. Hey... that's me on the right! =)

If I have time, I’ll devote one whole blog post to my ordeal on getting on the horse that was used for the Bharat. That damn thing was huge and it had no stirrups what so ever.

I do want to give a big shout out to my boy Shane Gill of Jeeta Jatt and Where Not to do Bhangra fame who hooked up an awesome comical video that we played in the Sunday night reception. I’m in process to get it online so that you can see it, as it was another film project completed this year, along with the notoriously seen Nihang Singh promo videos on the SikhNet website for their Youth Film Festival. I’ll have to create two new web pages to showcase these.

If you haven’t seen, all the video projects that I had on YouTube were pulled offline. I guess in the last couple of months, YouTube had a big crack down on videos that they felt violated copyright rules.

I know for a fact that the parent company that creates Indian Idol complained over the video segment that I posted online of when they went to Punjab which showcased Punjabis dancing and singing near the grounds of Harimandar Sahib (Golden Temple to you Goras).

Oh well, I’ll just start to looking for new alternatives for posting videos. Recently I’ve done a lot of research on SwishZone technology. Cheap man’s alternative to the Adobe Flash line.

So that’s about it. In the next post, I’ll share some of the honeymoon pictures of Supreet and my trip to Kauai which was beautiful.

Is there a way to embed pictures from Flickr into websites? I guess I’ll have to research that.

Alright, I’m settled and ready to get back to more fun projects. I recently helped Ish and her team promote her new Sixth River project here in DC, and good ol’ Gurumustuk wants me to brainstorm some Blabber projects for the SikhNet online fund raiser.

Man, it’s good to be back. Hopefully I can finally update Bhai Sahib’s website sometime soon.

Wedding Planning Information

For all of you who are in stages of wedding planning, these are the only vendors you need to have a kick booty event… especially if you are in the DC area. Thanks to my bro Kabir, he’s schooled me on getting the following top knotch photo and video team:

VideoBlue Sky Films. Check out there section on Indian weddings and be sure to work through Mr. Neil Benjers.

PhotoGlenn Barnett. Check out his website as his team has covered a slue of Sikh weddings. Great team to work with and they will make you look good (they even did it for me).

As for other items, here’s what my family and I went with:

CardsUniversalWeddingCard.com. Their staff did a good job with a very quick turn around.

Venue for Gurudwara Ceremony - Guru Nanak Foundation of America

Venue for ReceptionSheraton Primere of Tysons Corner. Ask for Shaier Heidar. I know many Indians who wish to choose the Hilton at Dulles. Personally, I’d avoid it all costs.

DJing/LightingEventEQ. Simply the best team in the DC area for all lighting and DJing. You will not be disappointed when they make your whole reception look like a private concert. I worked through DJ Jag, but their whole team is great. DJ Lucky at Platinum Productions was used for our Saturday lunch reception, and his team rocks as well. Two excellent vendors to work with.

DecorationsL’Ambiance in DC did a nice job for our Sunday reception.


Labels: ,