Monday March 27, 2017 10:26 PM EST

Smithsonian alters Gadar history

ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ, ਸਿਰ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਅਾਉ

Tremendous racism and severe discrimination, invigorated by the British government, awakened the first Punjabi immigrants on the West Coast of North America, more than 95 percent of whom were Sikhs, to rise to the teachings of Gurbani and make democratic appeals for justice and equality. But when all peaceful means failed, they formed the Gadar Party. Its members included gurdwara granthees, farmers, lumber mill workers, and some students. These Gadarees called on the martyrdom spirit of the Khalsa and made plans to fight for the freedom of their homeland. Thousands sailed from California, Oregon and Washington state, and Canada, in 1914, to launch an armed revolution against the British Raj. But this is not the history being presented now by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. Its new exhibition on Indian Americans distorts the history of the Gadar Lehar (revolutionary wave) by portraying it as a non-Sikh movement, and crediting a single person, Har Dayal, an orator-turned-traitor, as its main organizer.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Friday, May 16, 2014 | 05:00 PM

Words: 4,700

Slug: SmithsonianGadar

Smithsonian distorts Sikh American history

in Indian American exhibition

The Smithsonian Institution has distorted Sikh history in the United States in its new Indian American exhibition. The exhibition, "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape a Nation," does not give Sikhs credit for their historical sacrifices and contributions to the United States and India during the early 1900s, and lumps them and their unique history under the label of “Punjabi” or “Indian.” Credit is shifted to non-Sikhs, and the narratives are either factually incorrect or insufficient, experts in this report said. About 95 percent of the immigrants to North America were male Sikhs. Their struggles for employment drove them from Canada into the Northwest of the United States, into Washington state, Oregon and California. Living in cramped quarters and working for lesser money, combined with racial and xenophobic sentiments, caused wage wars that led to discriminatory immigration and citizenship legislation. The Bellingham Riots, in Washington state, and other significant events of 1907 also were the beginnings of the Gaddar Party lehar, a revolutionary movement for India’s independence that was launched from the West Coast.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Tuesday, Apr 08, 2014 | 02:07 PM

Words: 2,151

Slug: SmithsonianImmigration

Smithsonian mischaracterizes Sikh identity

in Indian American exhibition

The Smithsonian Institution will not remove an image of two men without Kesh (religiously mandated unshorn hair), one tying a turban on the other, from its photo gallery on Sikhism because the two men “self-identified” themselves as Sikhs, a spokeswoman said. It is part of a new exhibition, "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape a Nation," which opened on Jan. 27. SALDEF provided an intern, also without her Kesh, to do research for this exhibition on the “Sikh American identity.” The exhibit also portrays Sikhs as being a fearful community since the 9/11 attacks, and reinforces the stereotype of Sikhs being taxi cab drivers. This is not the first time that the Smithsonian has made a gross factual error about Sikhs.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014 | 03:30 PM

Words: 1,420

Slug: SmithsonianShenanigans

American Sikh soldiers need beard exemptions, US special forces do not

The A-Team has beards?

“Navy SEALSs and special operators can have these full blown beards, why can’t Sikhs?” the reporter asked. “I don’t know,” replied Army Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi. The military last month made minor changes to its religious accommodations policy, and left intact all the barriers that Sikhs face when joining the U. S. military, including for unshorn hair.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Friday, Feb 21, 2014 | 10:52 PM

Words: 1,389

Slug: MilitaryScraps

Sikh mayor welcomes French president

In an ironic meeting yesterday, Francois Hollande, president of France, where turbans are banned from government-related services such as schools and official pictures, was welcomed to Virginia by the turbaned mayor of Charlottesville, Satyendra Singh Huja. France is a violator of religious freedom, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has several times declared. In a September 2013 case brought by a French Sikh who was not allowed to wear his dastaar for a driver’s licence, the committee determined the restrictions result in a potential obstruction to his fundamental right to freedom of religion.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 | 07:02 PM

Words: 584

Slug: HollandeHuja

Report affirms Thatcher and Gandhi colluded on Operation Blue Star

Sikhs ask for full disclosure on 1984 and beyond

The results, released Tuesday, of the UK government’s investigation into its involvement in the 1984 Operation Blue Star confirm that, at Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s request for advice, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did send to Delhi a Special Air Services military officer, who then recommended a paramilitary attack at Darbar Sahib using helicopters. The Jan. 4 report attempts to minimize Great Britain’s role in the attack by explaining why the military advice from the SAS officer had “limited impact in practice.” But while UK officials are splitting hairs on the technicalities and mechanics of the operation, to downplay its actions 30 years ago, Sikhs are expressing outrage that Thatcher agreed to such a request. UK officials met with 30 Sikhs the same day, including Harmander Singh, Fauja Singh’s coach, and Jas Singh, spokesman for the Sikh Federation, UK. They told SikhNN that Sikhs were united in expressing their dissatisfaction with the scope of the investigation and its conclusion. They are asking for an independent UK investigation into 1984 and beyond.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Thursday, Feb 06, 2014 | 01:50 PM

Words: 1,356

Slug: BritishReport

Ravi Singh Charged With Election Fraud

Ravneet Singh, founder of ElectionMall, an Internet-based campaign-services company, was arrested on Jan. 17 by FBI agents for allegedly facilitating nearly $300,000 of illegal foreign money into San Diego’s 2012 mayoral race. According to court case documents released last week, Ravneet Singh, ElectionMall and a retired police officer, Ernesto Encinas, are named as defendants. They are alleged to be part of a larger network of co-conspirators that helped a California-based Mexican businessman hide more than $500,000 of illegal contributions that involved four candidates in the local and federal elections between 2011 and 2013. The FBI is still investigating these and other co-conspirators, and the Mexican.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Thursday, Jan 30, 2014 | 10:39 PM

Words: 890

Slug: ElectionFraud

The American who lived with Bhindranwale

Norman, Kreisman, previously known as Baba Nam Singh Khalsa, was living on the top floor of Guru Nanak Niwas at the Darbar Sahib complex when Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale moved in with nearly 30 of his men. It was July 1982, in Amritsar. He spoke to them in fluent Punjabi, he did paat and seva with them every day, and listened to numerous lectures by the sant on the roof of the niwas. He lived with them for two years before he was kicked out by the Indian government two months before the June 1984 Operation Blue Star. His is a rare account of personal experiences with the Sikh dissident and his men, and of a volatile period in Darbar Sahib’s modern history that was the beginning of the secret genocide of the Sikh people by the central government, and oppression by the state that still exists today.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Friday, Jan 17, 2014 | 08:00 PM

Words: 4,887

Slug: SantBindranwale

Thatcher colluded with Gandhi on Operation Blue Star

A recently released top-secret letter from the British government, dated February 1984, shows that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent a special-forces army officer to India, at the request of the Indian government, to draw up a “plan” to remove Sikh separatists from Harmandar Sahib. The “plan” was approved by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the letter say. The purpose of the letter was to warn the British Home Office of possible repercussions in the British Sikh community following the operation, especially if they came to know of the British collusion. The letter states that the British involvement had to be kept a secret in both London and Delhi. The “plan” manifested in June 1984 as Operation Blue Star, the invasion and attack of Harmandar Sahib.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Monday, Jan 13, 2014 | 11:40 PM

Words: 1,281

Slug: ThatcherGanchi

US Sikh groups demand India release illegally detained political prisoners

And end Gurbaksh Singh’s hunger strike

US Sikh advocacy groups are outraged at India’s defiance in ending Gurbaksh Singh’s 37-day-old hunger strike over the government’s continued illegal detention of Sikh political prisoners who have served out their sentences.

By: Anju Kaur

Dated: Saturday, Dec 21, 2013 | 11:44 PM

Words: 629

Slug: HungarStrike

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