A lot of Sikhs are outraged by the audacity for some Gurdwareh, including Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall, to support Narendra Modi on his tour to the UK. They are appalled that Sikhs could agree to have our institutions included in the ‘Modi Welcome Committee’. But why is supporting the new Indian Prime Minister the worst decision ever?
Yesterday I was listening to BBC Radio 4’s Digital Human series and its first episode which was about secrets. A definition of secrecy given in the introduction really caught the attention of my ears and inspired this article; described by a contributor as “the decision that there is more to be lost than gained by revealing information“, I wondered how much we as a community have to gain if we can learn to be 100% honest with each other and ourselves.
A short teaser for the upcoming feature film production of ‘Their Last Stand’. Back this film through our crowd-funding programme and help mould this untold narrative at: http://www.naujawani.com/their-last-s…
‘Their Last Stand’ is the story of how twelve Sikhs faced the invasion of Darbar Sahib Amritsar, by the Indian State in June 1984. Despite being from differing backgrounds, they find themselves encamped together and forced to come to terms with the reality of the situation that they are in: besieged, without provisions, and facing a certain death. Amidst the questions, lamentations and struggles that each of them goes through in the hours that they are together, is a growing realisation that they have a decision to make – the most important one of their lives.
Starring: Ajmeet Singh, Baljit Singh, Biravtar Singh, Charan Singh, Chater Singh, Gurpreet Singh Rehal, Iqbal Singh Grewal, Jairam Singh Parmar, Pavandeep Singh Sandhu, Satbir Singh Kalirai, Shamsher Singh, Sunmit Singh
Written and Directed: Harwinder Singh Mander
1st Assistant Director: Raj Hundal
2nd Assistant Director: Narvir Singh
Camera Operators: Raj Hundal, Narvir Singh
Editor: Narvir Singh
Script Editors: Jagdish Kaur Lall, Meharban Singh Lall
Produced: Jagdish Kaur Lall, Bhups Deol
Music by Jetsonic & Squire Tuck; ‘The Last Whale’ by Jeremy Wray
Executive Producer: Jagdip Singh Mander
Jagdeep Singh as ‘Danny’
Sahib Singh Pooni as ‘Arron’
Narvir Singh as ‘Jason’
Harvy Mander as ‘Bobby’
DoP & Editor
Gurbir Singh Nakhwal
Harwinder Singh Mander
The past week marked 30 years since the start of the Sikh Genocide which originated in Delhi. One of the key conclusions many Sikh thinkers have made, including my fellow writer here Ranveer Singh, is that in order to destroy State propaganda, we must create our own narrative. Film is not the only medium for story-telling, but globalisation through outlets such as YouTube has allowed us to share emotively to the world like never before. Film educated me, and I’m confident it can do the same for others.
Maybe they’re right. According to lots of new research, we are officially the generation of distraction. The mass appeal of memes, vines and tweets on social media is indicating how data is rapidly getting more and more condensed for our easily distracted young minds. Before the internet, we blamed the television for wasting our time, so is it the media itself that’s the problem, or are we unable to switch off and spend time doing what’s truly important to our development as individuals and as a society?
I’ve often heard Sikhs refer to the mighty Guru Gobind Singh as being a ‘warrior-poet’. We’ve been patronised to death with the ‘martial-race’ term, but what’s all this poet stuff?! Aren’t they the wishy-washy middle-class types who drink expensive coffees musing the problems of the world from afar? Or perhaps poetry is some dated, unused, form of communication, no longer needed since WhatsApp arrived? Poetry is a literary art form that we admire from really far away and we often brag about how the Guru Granth Sahib is written in poetic verse, but what is the significance?
There’s a vacuum created by lovelessness. As a community, we aren’t the best at talking about love, in our relationships, our families and even our homes. When we do, it’s mentioned as a magical vague ‘thing’ in the air brought into our lives through luck and yogic pixy dust. What is love, does it exist in our lives and what is its importance?
We’re the lucky ones. Thanks to the hardworking generations before us, we’re in a position to travel like never before. We’re given the time to look up at the sky, to dream up an adventure, and if you have what it takes, you go out and make it happen. “I got some time off from work and want an adventure… thinking of going Dubai.” Sorry made up desi-dude, but Dubai is not an adventure and is likely to bring as much culture to you as staying at home. Not to mention the exploitation of immigrant workers you’d be supporting by travelling there.
On a recent trip to my local leisure centre, I overheard two unconnected women speak to their children on separate occasions that hit me harder than my first ever dive into the pool. One told her son, “if you don’t get in the big pool, you’re gonna be black and blue” following his refusal to leave the children’s pool because he wasn’t feeling ready and was too scared. The second mother dropped the standard “watch when I get you home” line as her kid wasn’t brushing their hair fast enough in the foyer area. I had gone to the pool to relax, but was left assessing how to avoid child violence, and instead encourage growth and freedom.
“We followed an unwitting Sikh and identified 3 different types of Singh Nod” -Sri Davinder Singh Atteh-da-bora
The Secret Story of The Singh Nod is a short video revealing a greeting that is being made the whole World over every single day, but which is also going unnoticed. It is akin to the handshakes of secret societies or the mutual acknowledgement made between 50-something year old white men in corporate boardrooms when passing over women for promotions. Intrepid explorer and anthropologist Sri Davinder Singh Atteh-da-bora went on to the ground in London to follow a Singh who makes these greetings – or ‘nods’ – so that the secret story could be brought out for all to see.
Pardeep Singh Bahra
Tiran Singh Bharj
Sahib Singh Pooni
Gurbir Singh Nakhwal
Harwinder Singh Mander
Gurbir Singh Nakhwal
For a long time, I’ve been pondering over where our community has strength and what we’re known for in society. We often brag to others how Sikhs are the most law abiding, the strongest, or how we earn the most money out of the different minorities in the West. The last example stands out considerably whether you go to North America or here in Europe. But does financial wealth come at a cost far higher than just monetary?
Whenever I’m asked about my patterned turbans, I usually spit some waffle in an inaudible manner which leaves the questioner regretting that they ever asked. It’s not something that I had expected to be an issue – the colour and style of my turban is my choice, surely? But sadly, being judged and interrogated for my colourful and patterned turbans is something that I face quite regularly. And what’s worse is that it’s mostly fellow Sikhs who bring it up.
Born into a town with no worth,
Could’a been worse, only Isleworth,
Then to Hounslow,
Where life seemed a little cursed
Life seemed normal
Till about thirteen,
Continuous loss of best friends,
Felt it was me
Natural born rebel
Ability to bring hell
I guess I just really
wanted to be felt
Always made me lose my rag,
Punching walls was the only,
Release I had.
Went from the nerds and geeks,
to hanging with kids on streets,
building that built up hate
Saw a friend smoke a cigarette in year seven,
Who said you only get cancer ‘n go to heaven,
If you smoke past the line,
Theyre either dumb or blind,
The violence was creeping in,
And weed ‘n alcohol were leaking in,
into my body,
no one could stop me
smoked weed at fourteen,
But my cousin must have been,
Two years younger
‘n he was with me,
So instead of helping he,
I sunk him lower than he was supposed to be
no one ever thought lets help ’em
Until came a kind kid from Feltham
Started breaking the ignorance of racism,
Joint forces and found women,
Double dating, re-arranging,
So he had a girlfriend ‘n I did too,
They were friends ‘n so were us two dudes
After about two years,
And a hell of a lot’a tears,
He broke up with her,
But she got close to me,
And I pursued her,
Without telling he,
Worse of all, I didn’t tell my girlfriend
And nor did I try to end,
It with her,
nor did I try to mend
It with her.
I hurt the people who loved me most
And maybe even the ones to do so first,
‘N so I wasnt much of a ladies man.
Even betrayed the man who gave me the plan
And then baam!
Joined a gang
with new fake mates,
I stayed up late,
smoked more weed,
Got lost in the greed,
Used each other,
Abused each other,
And on my seventeenth birthday
Fought in a new way
Arms and legs flinging,
A new rage
I just need to RIPPPP OUT
a new page
Too many fights
Too much sight,
As a kid
But was rocked on many’a occasions,
Felt lost in a box labelled asian
So before eighteen,
I switched it all up
Dived into culture,
Searching like a vulture,
Then found meaning
And my heart starting singing
6 months later,
And I had new strength
Goodbye to the faker,
Buried by my undertaker
I was being treated like an equal,
And be forgiven by the people,
and it happened.
Turned a new chapter
And started a fresh.
Attempts to be the best and…
clear up my mess…
There’s a strange whiff in the air. At first I thought it was the dirty smell of burning garbage from the recent Divali celebrations but it’s something a million times more refreshing and clean. Some local folks and I are inhaling a deep breath of fresh air and it tastes sweet. We plan on exhaling it into a new voice that our community has solely missed.
Singh Street Style is a fashion blog centred around photography of Singhs (male Sikhs) wearing fun and colourful clothing. It has been refreshing to see images you rarely see otherwise – we’re all bored of seeing the devolved-looking ‘caveman-Singh’ that somebody seems to have gone out of their way to make look butters!
While the majority of blokes are matching their shirts to their turbans and ladies are matching their chunis to their handbags, let’s take some time out to appreciate the simplicity of the reliable t-shirt. This fool-proof garment has been around for thousands of years since caveman times (maybe not that long) and in the last decade has been adopted by Sikhs in the Diaspora as their number one must-have article of clothing (after the Kacchera obviously!) In this series of articles, i’m writing about the various t-shirt makers to find out what drives them, starting with Canadian company B-Coalition who make some of the most popular tees for the Punjabi/Sikh masses.
The forced disappearance of Punjabi intellectuals over the last 30 years is the unspoken war that has been fought since Indian Armed forces invaded Darbar Sahib in Amritsar. This orchestrated campaign by those in power to permanently silence key academics, scholars, authors, playwrights, poets, journalists and students has denied Punjabi society of those who might have helped it to advance. Men who have called themselves Sikhs have sat alongside others who merely don the garb, to abduct targeted people as they walk in broad daylight. It is shocking to witness, let alone endure. But what is more shocking is that the Punjabi society which remains untouched sits silently still and few step up to replace the intellectuals, save for those who echo the status quo.
Written and directed by Harwinder Singh Mander
Director of Photography by Gurbir Singh Nakhwal
Produced by Narvir Singh and Harwinder Singh Mander
Music by Matthew Huffaker
Starring: Navdeep Singh, Avneet Kaur, Harwinder Singh Mander, Jagdeep Singh, Shamsher Singh, Biravtar Singh, Imrat Singh
Bobby Rai, an ordinary young man of a Punjabi-Sikh background was murdered in highly suspicious circumstances as he walked home from his local train station. He had become one of the most recognisable spokesmen in the #iPledgeOrange movement the previous year and his murder came as a shock at a time when Sikh activism in the UK had mostly dissipated. A lack of suspects and rumours of an investigative cover-up leads the 9-6 Network to investigate ‘Who Killed Bobby Rai?’
A short docu-fiction inspired by real life events and in tribute to the #iPledgeOrange movement.
Narrator … Bhupinder Deol
Daljit Singh … Sulakhan Singh Khosa
Rick … Ben Gardner Gray
Carrie … Shauna Leone
Doug … Alex Corbet Burcher
Ryan … Nour Eid
Raghbir … Iqbal Singh Grewal
Commuter … Kate Stern-Weiner
Paramedic … Mena Shah
‘Sikh 1’ … Gurbir Singh
‘Sikh 2’ … Narvir Singh
Bobby Rai … Harvy Mander
Director and Writer … Harwinder Singh Mander
Director of Photography … Gurbir Singh
Sound Recordist … Narvir Singh
Composer … Bobby Singh Kang
Producers … Harwinder Singh Mander and Narvir Singh
Executive Producer … Jagdip Singh Mander