Air your security gripes on TSA blog
Air your security gripes on TSA blog
By DAN CATERINICCHIA, AP Business Writer
Thu Jan 31, 7:40 AM ETVia Yahoo News
Frustrated by long airport-security lines? Certain those screeners aren't paying attention? Wondering why your grandma always gets frisked? The federal government wants to hear — or at least read — your gripes at the "Evolution of Security" blog the Transportation Security Administration introduced Wednesday. And it promises those complaints and suggestions won't vanish into thin air.
The blog, at http://www.tsa.gov/blog
, is getting a rather "blah" response from aviation analysts and passengers advocates who say it will do little to improve process or perception.
"This will just make it easier for them to receive complaints for them to ignore in the name of national security," said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association.
In the blog's initial post, TSA Administrator Kip Hawley said the goal is to provide a forum for the agency to explain why travelers must go through certain steps at checkpoints since interaction at airports is often harried and halted, resulting in "feedback and venting ... circulating among passengers with no real opportunity for us to learn from you or vice versa."
"We will incorporate what we learn in this forum in our checkpoint process evolution," Hawley wrote. "Our postings from the public will be reviewed to remove the destructive, but not touch the critical or cranky."
Terry Trippler, a Minneapolis-based airline expert, applauded the idea but said TSA "was in the right church, just not the right pew yet."
And that church could become anything but sacred. Trippler said he envisions the blog quickly degenerating into an online vacuum where a handful of habitual complainers force TSA officials to respond to them, while other self-appointed security "experts" pontificate on the best ways to improve the process.
Even worse, he said some travelers will avoid the blog for fear of retribution from the government.
The TSA already is fighting an uphill battle in the court of public opinion.
An Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted last month found that only the Federal Emergency Management Agency, still dealing with its mismanagement of Hurricane Katrina, ranked below the TSA among the least-liked federal agencies. TSA tied with tax collectors in the ranking of a dozen executive branch agencies.
The AP poll found that the more people traveled, the less they liked TSA, but also that 53 percent of air travelers though the agency did a "very" or "somewhat" good job. Their top complaint: the inconvenience of security.
By late Wednesday there were 29 comments on the blog, mostly from TSA employees and moderators. One anonymous poster asked why some airport body scanners stop him due to a hip replacement while others do not.
The response from "Christopher," identified as an "evolution blog team member," said answering those kinds of questions in future posts was why the site was started and added: "Come back on Friday to check out our post on the top three questions security officers get from passengers."
Labels: america, education, online, sikh
Nigerian Scammers target Sikh Community (and everyone else in between)
Well it was only a matter of time before this internet scam would target the Sikh community. Recently I got an email from an individual who I did not know, who informed me that a huge inheritance was awaiting for my withdrawal. The emailer also thought that I was part of some Sikh Gurudwara management board (ha!). Here’s a snapshot of the email below:
Mr. Muna Gborie, I presume?
Now I’m sure you’ve seen many types of these emails in your inbox as well, hopefully it is picked up by your email spam blocker. These “I want to give you a bajillion dollars, so contact me right away” emails are all part of large of fraudulent email scam operation based out of Nigeria.
Known as Nigerian Letter scam (or 419 – link1
), individuals in Nigeria run intricate email extraction systems in order to find your email. From there, they send a bombardment of emails to you, and any body else they find, promising millions of dollars if you contact them back. To make the emails interesting, these individuals act as they are some type of rich king/queen/ambassador/billion dollar widow who can only trust you to hold their money in secret. In return, they will cut you a portion of the wealth… so long as you provide your bank account and some upfront money to take care of “administrative items.”
Recently ABC News show 20/20
did a special on these Nigerian scammers and all the people they have caused harm to. Most of the people were individuals who allowed their greed to take over them to fall into this scam. However, one group surprised me.
As you’ll see in the documentary, these scammers targeted a Christian church in New Jersey and twisted their spin a bit to state. The scammers disguised themselves as fellow Christians and stated that since they admired the Church’s work, they wished to pay off their mortgage in full. The scammers would go on to say that they wished to give the Church even more money to help promote their future projects.
Regrettably, this Church gave into this fraud and lost thousands of dollars, all because they trusted these “God-fearing people" in disguise.
And now, as seen in the email above, these Nigerian email scammers are targeting Sikhs and their Gurudwara establishments as well in the same manner.
So check out this video below as it is well worth the watch. This is good information for you, whether you watch it as an individual or as someone who may be affiliated with any type of organization.
20/20 investigation on Nigerian Email Scammers
Labels: education, online, think
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.
Think these guys know who Sikhs are now?
See you at the debates.
Labels: debate, education, youtube
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
, 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: education, think
Open Letter to Minister Conor Lenihan
Minister Conor Lenihan T.D.
Leinster House, Dublin 2
Phone: 459 6285
Fax: 451 email@example.comAugust 16th, 2007
Sartaj Singh Dhami
Thanks to the power of the Internet, recently I read in the news how a Sikh male in your country (link 1
, link 2
) of Ireland wished to volunteer as a reserve in your police force of Garda Siochana
. Unfortunately, this Sikh was not allowed to due to his distinctive identity of wearing a turban which is mandate of the religion Sikhism.
Furthermore, news reports have stated your comment about social integration that “If we are to take integration seriously, people who come here must understand our way of doing things.” You went on to add that “When the president and ministers travel to the Middle East, they accept cultural requirements of the country and the culture they are operating in. It is a vice versa situation with regard to Ireland.”
I wanted to share with you some thoughts as you potentially work towards resolving this matter positively:
1. The literal translation of Garda Siochana, as I understand it, means the Guardians of the Peace of Ireland. As you learn more about the Sikh history and culture, which I’m sure you’ve had some experience as you were a reporter in London for some time
, one of its core essence is to promote peace and social harmony throughout society. As both Canada and the UK have learned, having Sikhs in the police force can be an asset (whether it be cultural understandings or language translations) especially when targeting areas that have a high population concentration of Indian/Pakistani descent.
2. On your comments of Middle East cultures, you should understand that Sikhs are not from that area of the world. Although some still continue to confuse this, Sikhs originate from Punjab which is now a portion of land split between Pakistan and India. Many Sikhs migrated to East Punjab and now call India their home. So it is a bit unfair to impose the cultural influences of the Middle East to Sikhs who are not from that area. If anything, you’ll come to learn that a strong Punjabi cultural trait is to welcome and love guests as if they family members. Another trait of Punjabis, and strongly embraced by Sikhs, is to promote good will wherever they go. This trait has benefited many countries as Sikhs have formed their own Diaspora around the World.
3. Indeed the Sikh population of Ireland has made great strides to understand Ireland’s way of life as well as accept the cultural requirements of your Country. In particular, Sikhs have participated in various high profile parades in Ireland demonstrating their love for your Country as well as their cultural pride. Under the banner of the Irish Sikh Council
, Sikhs have participated in both the Saint Patrick’s Festival
Ireland and the Festival of World Cultures
. In both of these events, Ireland is promoting its duty towards integration by highlighting its unique diversity. You can see photos of the Irish Sikh Council’s participation at the following web link:http://news.restoringthepride.com/2007/03/sikhs-in-ireland-cool.html
4. Final thought: I’d argue that a central theme that Ireland has shared with the world is to promote good will and harmony for all. One of Ireland’s greatest Sons is Paul David Hewson, better known as U2
’s singer Bono
, who shares this theme with the world with his various humanitarian and social goodness based efforts.
Personally I feel that as we start to learn about various world cultures, democratic establishments need to work towards integration efforts versus easily accepting ideals of assimilation. Unfortunately as experienced by this sole Sikh who wanted to participate in Ireland’s civil service by volunteering, the incorrect principles of segregation cannot be tolerated in this new modern era.
As Integration Minister, I encourage you to find a proactive solution that will make the Sikh Diaspora feel even more welcomed in Ireland.
Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts. Although I am not a citizen of Ireland, I felt inclined to share my thoughts thanks to the digital email revolution that we live in.
Sartaj Singh Dhami
Sikhs love Ireland. Why not love them back?
Labels: education, help, irish, sad
From Sarna to Snake
Well the last couple of weeks have been interesting and busy for me. Hopefully by now, you are in the process of making a video for this year's SikhNet Online Film Festival
. I've been busy with fun, fun, fun wedding planning (wow!), however here are two quick items that I wished to comment on that recently hit the news waves.
I want to applaud the efforts of Paramjit Singh Sarna and DSGMC
for taking a stand in enforcing simple traditional Sikh marriages
that are not elaborate and not cash excessive. Although his stance is hard line against the dowry system (which Sikhism is against but for some silly reason still practiced by some Sikhs), this type of measure is needed to jolt people especially with newly coined term of "Big Fat Sikh Weddings
" (thank you Mr. Chatwal). And with the silly "Indian mentality," people are too ego driven and try to show off by outdoing one another.
You wouldn't believe how many times I have refrained from talking to vendors that I'm a Sikh of Punjabi descent. Once they know that, they have one stereotype in mind: Vast amounts of alcohol, big decorations, flamboyant and huge. Worst part, this is coming from Non-Sikhs who have come to learn this by catering to previous customer needs.
My folks were curious to do my wedding reception at this one Hilton location near my home. Once the wedding planner asked me if I was of Indian descent, she pressed me to share more where I'm from in India. She went on even to say "People from Southern India are reserved and have boring parties. People from the North, especially Punjab, have big huge bashes."
Luckily this was done over the phone because my face had a really funny looking frozen expression because of how shocked I was listening to this. So when I finally broke down (I still don't know why to this day) and told her that my origins are from Punjab, she told me this:
"Oh, so what you want is a big, fat, huge, Punjabi bash for your wedding reception."
Really? Is this what I want?
I quickly ended the phone conversation and told my parents that the Hilton was a no go.
Just the other day, I met with a decorator to see what type of decorations we can do for the wedding reception. The Desi decorator quickly knew I was of Punjabi descent with my distinctive turban and beard, and proceeded to tell me that Punjabi receptions are huge and big on visual decorations. Then she proceeded to ask me what my budget potentially would be to meet the decoration request.
I simply gave a one sentence reply: "Simple and beautiful."
I went on to explain my rationale to this and she was presently shocked and happy. "Wow." she said, "Your personality and style is of the Anti-Punjabi nature. I like it."
Anti-Punjabi. Yes that's me, and I'm proud of it. Hopefully the next generation of Singhnees and Singhs can lead the way and remove this horrible stereotype towards the principle and values behind Sikh weddings. It small steps, as Mr. Sarna has done, which will hopefully take us in this much needed direction.
Okay, enough babbling. Time for fun. Time for Snake
I'll have to devote about one-two weeks once Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots
comes out. When the following trailer below was shown at E3
a couple weeks back, I watched it like four bajillion times driving my Mom crazy as I quoted the lines of Solid Snake. This is the game that will make me buy a PS3
, but only when it comes out.
I'm no hero. Never was.
God Bless you Solid Snake!
Quick nerdy observations to the trailer if their are any other Metal Gear
fans out there:
- Naomi Hunter
is seen with Liquid Ocelot
in the beginning and is in the chopper that he is about to board at the end.
- No one is effected by the "mind control" that is invoked on all the various soldiers by Ocelot except for Snake and the masked guy with the glasses who is with Meryl
. This type of mind control, as shown by Gene in Portable Ops
, had no effect either on Big Boss
. I'm curious to see who the masked guy is, and how he may potentially continue the Metal Gear series.
Solid Snake is my video game hero.
That's it. I'm out. Time to wash my hair.
Labels: education, hero, wedding
It's that time again... for the annual SikhNet Youth Online Film Festival!
Big ups to my man Mr. SikhNet
for always of thinking of new ways to promote Sikh youth to take an active role in their community.
I had the pleasure to hang out with Gurumustuk when he was in DC a couple weeks back. Within one day, we shot five quick promo videos for this year's film festival
. It took me about another week to edit all five.
The neat part of this challenge was to use a very simple camcorder, pretty much like the one in your home, and shoot these quick promos.
So... you have no excuse not to make a video! =)
Take a look at the five promos shorts below. The Nihung Singh's are my favorite ones.The deadline for this year's film festival is August 31st, 2007
. Cash prizes are being awarded, and any age group can enter the competition. Check out the logo below for more information.
So what are you waiting for you bama? Make a movie for the festival this year before Nihung Singh comes after you!
I'm pooped. Later.
Labels: accomplishments, education, films, help, khalsa, online, sikh
Ladies and Gentlemen.... meet Natasha Bedingfield
... I don't even want to know.
By the way, check out the promo videos that I did with my good ol' buddy Mr. SikhNet
for the 2007 SikhNet Online Youth Film Festival
. Two are posted below.
Be sure to make a video this year for the film festival you BAMA! More awesome promo videos to come soon! Here's a hint: "He He Heeeeeeeee, WAAAAAHHHHHEEEEEEEGUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!"
That will be the theme for the summer.
Enjoy the 4th if you are in the States. If you aren't here, go back to work.
Labels: accomplishments, america, education, online, sikh, youtube
Sikhs in Ireland? Cool!
Irish Sikh community participate at St Patrick’s Festival Parade in Ireland
Gurvinder Singh and Jasvir Singh carrying the penant.
Dublin, 22 Mar 2007:
Irish Sikh Community displayed their rich cultural heritage this weekend by participating at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, one of the most celebrated events in Ireland.
The Sikh pageant was organised by Irish Sikh Council
. With the theme of the parade being ‘Legendaries’, the Sikh community pageant was titled “Portraits of Courage” displaying the sheer valour and the vibrant cultural beauty that marked the golden era of Sikh rule in Punjab.
The two hour parade route was flocked by millions of spectators. Parade was kick-started at Parnell Square on a very positive note and the response received was outstanding. The outfits of both the gatka players and dancers were a fresh addition to the diverse assortment of costumes at the event and did not fail to engage the interest of onlookers. Parade was also watched by Honourable President Mrs Mary McAleese and Prime Minister Mr Bertie Ahern.
All the participants gave brilliant performance and despite the fact that both the Gatka demonstration and the dances were a bit more physically demanding than merely strutting along in the parade, as they required continuous expert body movement and synchronisation, all the participants had trained hard enough and were prepared to deliver their best. The performance also included a 9 feet Sikh warrior puppet and a float carrying the Nagara (Drum) that was specially brought over from UK for the event.
Fortunately enough, the rain too kept off for the two hours, while the cooling light drizzle was rather welcome. The parade drew over half million spectators and was broadcast live in Ireland and Germany. Over 70 TV channels from around the globe including Channel Punjab covered the event.
For a community just establishing itself, the pressure was immense to live up to the expectations of the parade, which is famous for its elaborate floats and colourful performances. Irish Sikh Council collaborated with Baba Deep Singh Gatka Akhara (Ireland), Baba Ajit Singh Gatka Akhara (UK), Soul of Punjab (Ireland) and Asli Baharan Punjab Diyan (UK) to
present well choreographed performance.
A lot of ground work went into preparing the performance. As per Harpreet Singh, President of Irish Sikh Council
, “Preparations started from the Day 1 when we submitted application for participation at the parade in September last year. From drafting the theme on paper to presenting the performance at the parade, every member of Sikh community put lot of efforts in making this event a big success. Young children aged 5 and above enthusiastically practiced Gatka, every weekend regularly for nearly 6 months. After- school sessions were demanding on them, yet their enthusiasm and excitement was enough to ward off any lethargy.”
The skills of Irish Gatka
team were brushed up by Surinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh Gill of Baba Deep Singh Gatka Akhara. The Bhangra team lead by Jagroop Singh from Soul of Punjab having already given over 60 stage performances were in equally high spirits as their Gatka counterparts in rehearsing for the parade.
Generating finances for the parade participation was another challenge for Irish Sikh Council. “We were provided 50% of funds by the St Patrick’s Festival Office. Raising another 50% was a big challenge. But we were surprised to see the immense support of the Sikh community. The
remaining funds were raised with in days” said Hardip Singh, treasurer for Irish Sikh Council.
“It was not work of a single person. Voluntary service by number of community members and support of the St Patrick Festival Office went a big way in helping organise the pageant. Designing of floats, arranging PA systems, booking training halls, choreography and a lot of other efforts went into preparing for the day”, Satwinder Singh, PR Officer, Irish Sikh Council.
“Sikhs are a law abiding, hardworking and vibrant community and have always given more then their capacity to the countries they live in. Irish Sikhs feel proud to have been part of the national festival of Ireland and thank everyone who helped achieve this.”
## END ###
For more information please contact:
President, Irish Sikh Council
Phone: +353 (87) 260 5410
PR officer, Irish Sikh Council
Phone: +353 (85) 729 4425
Irish Sikh Council
Office: 2 Tullyhall Court, Lucan, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Postal Address: PO Box 9828, Dublin 2, Ireland
About Irish Sikh Council (ISC):
Established in July 2004, Irish Sikh Council is a wholly independent and non-profit making organisation that aims to:
- Advocate, campaign and make representations on the concerns and aspirations of the Sikh population, primarily of Republic of Ireland, onmatters of education, race equality, spiritual development, communityrelations and other matters of relevance to the status and development of the Sikhs in Ireland.
- Promote good relations and harmony between the Sikhs and other communities in Ireland; and inform and guide Sikhs in Ireland to contribute and participate actively in the life and development of Ireland.
- Promote responsible ethical and moral values in society.
Irish Sikh Council is involved in
- Working with public bodies and public institutions to create understanding, inclusion and provision for the concerns and aspirations ofSikhs.
- Disseminating and delivering accurate and useful information about Sikhs and Sikh lifestyle to public, voluntary and private bodies primarily in Republic of Ireland and if within scope and resources permitting, internationally.
- Promoting understanding and practice of ethical lifestyle amongst Sikh population in Ireland, based on teachings of Guru Granth Sahib.
- Initiating and supporting projects and activities in partnership with other groups and organisations (public, voluntary or private) which share the same aims and objectives as ISC.
About Sikhs in Ireland:
Sikhs over the years have migrated from Punjab to a number of countries all over the world, and clearly the Republic of Ireland happens to be one of them. Immigration of Sikhs to Island of Ireland started in early 1900's. The earliest immigrants to Northern Ireland were Sikhs who were mainly former members of the British army who arrived in the late 1920s from India via East Africa and Britain. They settled in the city of Derry. There are presently over 219 Sikhs in Northern Ireland (2001 Census), most have come from the Punjab. In 1990 the Northern Ireland Sikh Association was formed and shortly afterwards the Northern Ireland Sikh Cultural and Community Centre was established in the Waterside district of Derry.
In the Republic of Ireland there are about 800-1000 Sikhs, mainly living in and around Dublin, ranging from toddlers of a few months of age to the very elderly. Most are from the migrant generation and have settled comfortably, contributing to Irish society. There is also a small but
significant second generation of Sikhs, born and educated in Ireland. The Gurudwara in Dublin is the main centre, for community get together, prayers and community activities. In year 2004, Irish Sikh Council was established to represent and communicate needs of Sikh community in Republic of Ireland.
Sikhs are well known for their honest hard work and sincerity, two principles given them due regard in all professions. Thus in Ireland, Sikhs hold respectable positions in the areas of medicine, IT, business, the hotel and catering industry and only recently, a considerable number of Sikhs have shown a lot of interest for recruitment in An Garda Siochana. A sizeable portion of Sikhs here, also happen to be the third-level students pursuing various courses in universities such as Trinity College, the Royal College of Surgeons, DIT, Griffith College etc.
Sikhs have integrated exceptionally well in Ireland and have struck quite a good rapport with he Irish people. Ask any Sikh the reason for their smooth transition to the Irish society and the answer inevitably will be, the easy-going nature and warmth common to both the Irish and
Infact, the blend of the Sikhs and Irish culture is more evident in the second generation of Sikhs - who may speak Punjabi at home but perfect their Irish at school; love chips and beans as much as they enjoy Allo-Gobhi and are as busy in their hurling practice as they are in Gurbani
(hymns in Guru Granth Sahib) lessons. All these children are proud representatives of two cultures at the same time -proof enough that the Sikh and the Irish culture do not contradict each other, but infact go hand-in-hand and serve to beautifully complement each other.
Labels: education, gatka, ireland, irish, sikh