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Thursday, September 25, 2008

My guess is that Sarah Palin didn't realize that she met a Sikh...

Like Megatron, "I still function." I haven't been around, but I still function. Hopefully by year's end I'll have a new video project completed with the fine group of gents behind GNE. Time will tell.

So, guess who Gov. Palin met in NY at the annual UN gathering? India's #1, PM Dr. Manmohan Singh.

I bet the isolated Governor, who has no clue to the world outside of Alaska, had no clue that he was a Sikh. Let alone possibly know that he's from India, which is made up so many religions and cultures. I hope she proves me wrong.

But she definitely will remember the new Pakistani President.

Anyways, check out Sarah Palin chillin with Dr. Singh:

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) greets U.S. Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a meeting between the two in New York September 24, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov.Sarah Palin, right, meets Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 in New York.  (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, right, meets Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008 in New York.  (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

U.S. Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (L) and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talk during a meeting between the two in New York September 24, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008
"Sorry Sarah, I'm a one woman man. I'm with Sonia. Sorry."

OK. Now time for a quick thank you to Golf Digest. Thanks to some great work from some Panthic organizations, Golf Digest posted an apology in their August 2008 edition due to their debacle on making Guru Arjan Dev Ji. I actually had the pleasure to speak with Jeff Tarde, the Editor in Chief.

He was a kind man and was very sincere saying that the mistake was not intentionally done or with malice. It's always great to see items like this where media based organizations are quick to apologize for a silly mistake that was not meant. Take a look at the statement below for the apology:

Thanks Golf Digest.  As seen in the August 2008 edition.
Thank you, Golf Digest.

Big ups for my cousin Harjit Singh Sandhar who started it all up. Look him up on Facebook.

And finally, check out my nephew Runvir. He is the true "Singh is King." Big ups to my Bro in Law Harmohan Singh Gabri (he's on Facebook too) for making a great video on his son.

Later. I'm around...

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Air your security gripes on TSA blog

Air your security gripes on TSA blog

Thu Jan 31, 7:40 AM ET
Via 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."

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bhai Sahib Gurdarshan Singh Rules!!!

Happy New Year… and all that good stuff. =)

The end of 2007 was good to me, as I had some time off from work. With this time off, it allowed me to do something that I had been putting off due to wedding planning. I finally got to update the Inspiration section to RestoringThePride.com, which features kirtan and gurmat recordings of Bhai Gurdarshan Singh of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.

Lovingly referred to as Bhai Sahib here in the DC area, he is true multi-talented individual with skills rarely seen among Sikh Granthis. As a graduate of the Sikh Missionary College, Bhai Sahib is well versed in Sikh history, gurmat, gurbani , and the ability to sing beautiful kirtan. But his one true skill that sets him apart from others is his ability to fluently talk both in Punjabi and English.

Although I'm born and brought up in the States, I have not met any Sikh Granthi, or traveling kirtan jatha, to be able to clearly communicate in both of these languages when sharing the message of Sikhism. Probably this is the case (and I do hope so) for Sikh Diaspora elements in the United Kingdom and Canada, but I haven’t seen this in America. Throughout being raised in the DC area and spending some "sabbatical" at most of the Gurudwaras here, I haven’t seen no other Giani other than Bhai Sahib who has the ability to connect with the Sangat regardless where they are raised (east or west), let alone share Sikhism clearly and concisely to Non-Sikhs (generally Americans who have no idea of the Sikhs at all).

What's best about Bhai Sahib is that when you listen to his recordings, he easily intertwines both Engligh and Punjabi when discussing passages from the Guru Granth Sahib. This ability allows Western based Sikhs (like me) to capture the same message and scope being offered to their parents.

Furthermore, he has a great sense of expressing both his thoughts and emotions to truly show that he is compassionate about his faith of Sikhism, as well as firm believer that he demonstrates with ease. At my wedding, many of my American friends were struck by Bhai Sahib’s frank discussion on the purpose to marriage. However to my delight, they were "upset" at him through his talk. It appears that just when Bhai Sahib was about to make his point when speaking in English, he would switch over to Punjabi leaving them confused yearning for what he was saying.

Bhai Sahib has a great ability to be a Granthi within the Gurudwara and be your friend outside of his profession. This is a talent that must have been hard for him to master, but he has done so wonderfully. If you are ever up to a game of Volleyball, Table Tennis, or to watch a sporting event, Bhai Sahib is a great companion to have tag along… assuming that he does not have a Granthi duty to do which can happen at the spur of the moment.. He has helped me in many ways when I have ever had questions about Sikhi, but more so as a friend.

A couple years back, I was approached by one of my good friends who was adamantly stating that a MP3 recorder needs to purchased in order to record all of Bhai Sahib's kirtan records or audio lectures. He, along with several other friends and me, decided to pitch in and get a device to do this duty. However we quickly learned how audio editing can be a pain in the butt. So as time passed, I agreed to do this work and I try to get whatever recordings I have online as fast as I can. But you can see how "fast" I work, as I just uploaded all 2007 recordings at the end of the 2007 year.

So in short if you are looking for good discussions on Sikhism or wish to better understand the message when kirtan is performed, check out the work of Bhai Gurdarshan Singh. The data transfer for all these recordings has been extremely high since I posted it online, which is a good positive sign that people are enjoying the content.

Recently Bhai Sahib just returned from Houston Sikh Youth Camp (he goes every year) and the Campers there were so inspired by his talks, that they created a Facebook group called Bhai Gurdarshan Singh Rules!!!!!!

And I'm quite happy to say that yes, I do agree with this thought. Bhai Gurdarshan Singh my friend, you do rule.

Bhai Gurdarshan Singh and I
Bhai Sahib Gurdarshan Singh (right), he's one cool dude.

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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!

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

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.

Check out these five promos, plus the last one made by Ambrosial Motion Pictures. Enjoy.

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.

SikhNet Online Youth Film Festival 2007

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.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen.... meet Natasha Bedingfield

... I don't even want to know.

Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten," by jesse6i

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.

Make a movie for the SikhNet Online Youth Film Festival!

I don't have time to use the computer Sir.

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.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rabbi Shergill - The Man!

Rabbi Shergill - He is the man!

For those of you who are not familar with Rabbi, check out a quick bio of him on Wikipedia. Furthemore, check out the music video Bulla Ki Jaana Main Kaun.

I'm a fan of his. He's one cool dude that I'd like to meet.

I'm out.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

23 years later, the wounds are not healed.

Some wounds though may never heal, especially this one.

In remembrance of 23rd anniversary of the sacrilege, destruction, and desecration of Harimandar Sahib complex.

The attack of the Akaal Takhat
Artistic painting of the destruction of the Akaal Takhat in June 1984.
My Dad snapped this picture when he visited Toronto two years ago.

For those of you, who don't know what happened 23 years ago, check out the following video below. It's a documentary called Storming the Temple as it was aired on The History Channel some years ago.

Storming The Temple

If you want, you can download the video here.

I was six years old when 1984 happened, and that is the day I woke up and realized who I am.

What about you?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Lions of Punjab

I hope all is well out there in TV land... or something like that.

Here's a news article from Time in October of 1984 that covered Indira Gandhi's death. I've been meaning to post it for some time, but that silly thing called life gets in the way alllllllllll the time.

But enjoy the article, as it is a good read regarding the true characteristics to who the Sikhs are.

The Lions of Punjab
"The Lions of Punjab."
Time Magazine, 11-12-1984.

If you got some free time on June 12th, check out the upcoming Sikh American Capitol Hill Dinner hosted by the Sikh Council On Religion & Education. Some good planning is underway with a series of high-level personalities being honored at the event.



Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Help, Pleeaaaassseeeeee!!!

Calling out a S.O.S. to everyone out there in Internet land.

On March 29th, the New York Times ran an article of Sikh identity issues being faced in Punjab (what else is new). If you haven't read this depressing artcile, check it out on Gurudwara Tapoban Sahib's forum.

I wanted to go back and download a series of pictures that were displayed on the New York Times website in regards to this article, but they have been archived and are no longer available online. See the image below for Exhibit A:


If anyone has downloaded these images, hit me up as I'd like to have a copy for a project that I'm working on.

Later buddies!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sikhs in Ireland? Cool!

Irish Sikh community participate at St Patrick’s Festival Parade in Ireland

Gurvinder Singh and Jasvir Singh carrying the penant.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:

Harpreet Singh
President, Irish Sikh Council
Phone: +353 (87) 260 5410
Email: hsingh@irishsikhcouncil.com

Satwinder Singh
PR officer, Irish Sikh Council
Phone: +353 (85) 729 4425
Email: ssingh@irishsikhcouncil.com

Irish Sikh Council
Office: 2 Tullyhall Court, Lucan, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Postal Address: PO Box 9828, Dublin 2, Ireland
Email: info@irishsikhcouncil.com
Website: www.irishsikhcouncil.com

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
Sikhs alike.

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.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, and Thanks!

Silent contributions are the best way to help your community. That’s my personal philosophy.

Happy Birthday Bama!

My dear Friends, 2006 was the inaugural year of Dashmesh Pictures and the RestoringThePride.com effort. This March 2007 brings us to our one year anniversary towards both of these efforts.

Thanks to everyone, both Sikh and Non-Sikh, who have supported this initiative by spreading the word on Sikh on the Street, by taking the bold step to have their artwork promoted here, by ordering and distributing freely the DVD, by supporting the film festivals, as well as writing the vast amount of supportive emails in regards to this website.

Not much was expected when starting this project up one year ago. After encouragement from various individuals to post all created video projects online, the website was launched with one specific goal in mind: to promote the awareness and acceptance of those who are members of the Sikh religion among their community and society.

The post 9/11 world has changed many individual’s perspectives to define what truly makes up a person’s nationality and cultural heritage – two items that were challenged and are continued to do so today. With this challenge some may feel to loose pride in whom they are and feel to it might be easier to assimilate to the mainstream and forget the rich traditional infrastructure provided by their ancestral roots.

When one overcomes this challenge, and recaptures their pride, they are gifted with the vision to live in a world that captures the best of both of worlds – where one can walk anywhere in this world and remain culturally strong in their ethnic roots.

The intent of both Dashmesh Pictures and RestoringThePride.com is to reinvigorate that pride of any Sikh who may feel challenged in today’s world. Examples of some of these successes can be seen by Gatka 1, Sikh on the Street, Akaal Media, Sikh Service in World Wars, and the recently added artwork of Harpreet Singh. And who knows, maybe even works like these can encourage Non-Sikhs to reinvigorate themselves to also explore and learn their own personally cultural heritage.

Hopefully in 2007 this endeavor continues to grow and grow strong. One of many items the team here has been working slowly and quietly been working on a sequel to the Gatka 1 film. With the short several years in the making, I only hope that this sequel will be as successful as the original short.

So thanks for hearing my thoughts. Let’s all get back to what we were doing, and continue to strengthen ourselves in whatever it is we stand for. Our stance here is to quietly educate individuals, one at a time, to who the Sikhs are and the valor of their heritage.

One of the greatest items I enjoy walking around is when people look at me and do a double take and say “Hey, you’re that guy who did those interviews right?” or “Have you seen RestoringThePride.com?” when they have no knowledge to who I am.

Silent contributions.

In short, thank you.


Sartaj Singh Dhami

Over 17k hits on YouTube.
Over 17k hits on YouTube. I really hope that equates to 17k more individuals who have learned about Sikhism. Download the video here.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shout out to my Artistic Aunt, Sonia Dhami

News Source: Sikh Chic
Publication Date: 03/08/07

History Carved in Stone


A special tribute to three centuries of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib proudly narrates volumes on the humanistic and universal appeal of Sikhism to one and all who enter its portals. The history of the community has been captured intensely at this landscaped site which now flanks the gate to the historic city - a place dear to the hearts of Sikhs everywhere. The project, commissioned by Markfed and Punsup, was completed to coincide with the celebrations of the tercentenary of the Khalsa in 1999.

The project was given to a city-based landscaping expert, Sonia Dhami, who is the brain behind the entire structure as it stands today - a perfect supplement to the architectural beauty of the existing gates. The project has not only shaped into a technical marvel, but it also offers a wonderful insight into what Sikhi is all about. And the interesting part is that it enlightens and informs via visually appealing artwork, comprising life-size statutes, relief panels, stone wall carvings and engraved rocks and boulders. The work seems to have been planned to the last detail, as is reflected in the meaningful portrayal of every piece of concrete that has been used.

The central feature is the castle wall, and around it are smaller focal points in the form of panels, engravings, rocks and boulder compositions. The landscape has free-flowing curves which have been linked with the different points of interest, creating an eye-catching visual sequence.

In description, the site may be a maze of concrete, but in concept, it is a virtual 10-minute journey through the three centuries of the Khalsa. The layout depicts almost all aspects of history relevant to the fraternity of the Saint-Soldiers. It reflects the Khalsa's travails and tribulations; its victories and accomplishments. The project is a live screen which flashes not only the martial fervour of the Khalsa, who valiantly fought the enemy in the battlefield, but also shows their softer, humane side.

Bhai Kanhaiya is depicted offering water to enemy soldiers. The story goes that when he was confronted by some Sikhs and asked to explain his behaviour, his explanation to Guru Gobind Singh was: "Master, since I have come in touch with you, I see God everywhere and His entire creation as His children. Amongst the wounded, how can I distinguish between friend and foe?"

Yet another scene explains the dynamics of langar, the Sikh tradition which underlines the principle of universal brotherhood.

There are also a series of depictions portraying the Sikh tenets which revolve around the three pillars of daily life - kirat karo, naam japo, wand chhako (work, worship, charity). Other panels give a detailed account of Guru Nanak and his nine successors. A description of how the Khalsa came into being is also engraved on a series of rocks.

As one walks through the garden, one finds that even the vegetation has been chosen to serve a useful purpose. The plants grown symbolize the scenarios projected - the battlefield scene is depicted by the thorny cacti, while the piety of the Khalsa is portrayed by a lotus pond.

The uniqueness of Sikhi stands magnified through every little work that has been executed. Each section of the landscape - right from the relief panels, depicting the amrit baptism of the Panj Piaras (Bhai Daya Singh, Bhai Dharam Singh, Bhai Himmat Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh and Bhai Sahib Singh) and the martial zeal of Hola Mohalla, to the rocks engraved with various achievements of Guru Gobind Singh - furthers one common objective of enlightening the visitor on the historical events related to Anandpur Sahib. The engravings speak of the significance as well as the location of various gurdwaras of this blessed city.

The sequence starts with the detail on Guru Teg Bahadur, the Ninth Guru, who founded the settlement of Anandpur Sahib by buying the land of Makhowal village on the banks of the Sutlej. Set against the picturesque Naina Devi range, this was the place where Guru Gobind Singh later created the Khalsa.

Then there are engravings on Gurdwara Guru Ke Mahal, the shrine which marks the residence of Guru Teg Bahadur. There is information on the three gurdwaras - Gurdwara Bhora Sahib, Gurdwara Manji Sahib and Gurdwara Damdama Sahib. It was at this place that Guru Teg Bahadur received the Kashmiri Pandits and heard their account of the forcible conversions they were being subjected to by Aurangzeb.

Following this is information on Guru Teg Bahadur's martyrdom and Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib. The engravings relate the events of the day when Guru Teg Bahadur's severed head was brought to Anandpur Sahib by Bhai Jaita. Last but not least, is the historic Akal Bunga from where Guru Gobind Singh called upon his followers to fight injustice and tyranny.

The engraved rocks also talk about the gurdwaras at Qila (Fort) Anandgarh Sahib, Qila Fatehgarh Sahib, Qila Lohgarh Sahib and Qila Holgarh Sahib - all of which mark the sites where forts were built by Guru Gobind Singh for the defence of the town. In 1701, the Guru commenced the Hola Mohalla celebrations at Holgarh, where martial games and horse riding events were organized - and the tradition has continued since then.

The entire place exudes warmth, and rightly so, for it is a labour of love, a dream come true for Sonia Dhami and her team of workers, including architect Sukumar Jeirath. The art work has been executed by Amarjit Singh Virdi and Manjit Singh in consultation with renowned Punjabi painter, Jarnail Singh. The engravings, which are concise and well drafted, have been composed in consultation with Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib.

The efforts of 80 labourers, six masons and 15 gardeners have produced a landscape that is a visual treat and imparts rhythm and harmony to the surroundings. As one walks out of the place, its imprint remains in the mind and so does Guru Gobind's message:

"O Lord, grant me this boon,

May I never refrain from righteous deeds;

Fearless and determined, I step into life's battle

With Thy wisdom as my guide;

Singing Thy glory, when I'm finally summoned,

May I die in the thick of the good fight."

Courtesy: The Tribune

Website to see: http://www.terrierservices.com

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Please welcome Amritsar's Harpreet Singh...

RestoringThePride.com has gained a new entry to its artistic team, Mr. Harpreet Singh from Amritsar. Harpreet is a graphics designer and has made some really neat computer desktop wallpapers showing his talents. Click on the image below to see some of Harpreet Singh's works:

Harpreet Singh's Guru Maneyo Granth

Welcome aboard Harpreet! Hey, anybody else out there that wants to show off their talents? Click here to find out how to get your work posted.


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