Monday, February 28, 2011

Sikh Works To Make A Difference

I love it when Sikhs mobilize themselves and put their Sikh values into action to help people in need by working with mainstream organizations. This accomplishes so many great things. We get to do authentic seva by selflessly helping individuals who are truly in need. We learn how successful institutions are organized to be effective and sustainable. Finally, and perhaps most importantly over time, it exposes non-Sikhs (and Sikh youth) to the best of who we are as a community.

Thus I was delighted to hear about Sikh Works, a wonderful project sponsored by the Sikh Youth Alliance of North America (SYANA). Here's some pictures from their first project working with Habitat For Humanity in Tampa. Florida. I wish them the best of luck and hope their efforts are supported and replicated across the continent. I look forward to Sikh Works Canada!

Here's what they're all about.
Social activism has been a cornerstone of Sikh teachings. From the time of Guru Nanak Dev Jee, the concept of Vand Chakna has been central to the life of a Sikh. Intrinsic to the goal of connecting with Vaaheguru, is the idea of actively serving the Guru. By putting words into action, by using our gifts and talents to further Guru’s work, we learn the humble nature of humanity, and see the magnificence of Vaaheguru’s creation.

Sikh Works is an attempt to encourage Sikh activism and volunteerism by creating opportunities throughout the year for Sikhs to congregate and make a difference, large and small. Each activity is designed to bring a group of Sikhs together and can be completed through the course of a weekend. The hope is to not just stimulate activism in that particular event, but to create an attitude where service and action become a part of daily life. Coming together in this way is not only productive but fun! A bond is created in working together that can lead to lifelong friendships.

Join us for a service project – make a difference in your life and in someone else’s.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sher Soorma - Gupsy Aujla ft Dev Dhillon

A great video showcasing Sikh contributions to WWI and WWII. If the British (or Canadian) armed forces ever wanted a video to recruit Sikhs, this would be it.

Gupsy Aujla is proud to present his brand new single 'Sher Soorma', a project dedicated to the forgotten legacy of the Sikh Regiment. The single features the awe inspiring vocals of Dev Dhillon.

This project is dedicated and pays a tribute to the sacrifices of each fallen soldier who fought bravely during the two World Wars. It was during these wars when thousands of young Sikh men enlisted into the British Army, carrying on a proud tradition of bravery and valour.

'Sher Soorma' has been vocalled by Dev Dhillon, who appears courtesy of Aman Hayer. An awe inspiring intro has been provided by the supremely talented Jelly Manjeetpuri, who is one of the most influential figures in the Punjabi music industry. The song, which was painstakingly written by Shiv Malr and Dev Dhillion, has been given a powerful music backdrop by Gupsy Aujla, who adds his experience and desi touch to the single. The song also features sarangi played by the world famous 'sarangi master' Jatinder Shergill.

The project is being supported by a number of successful and influential British Born Sikhs including; International Bhangra superstar Sukshinder Shinda & Renowned English cricketer Monty Panesar. Also supporting the project are internationally acclaimed producers Tigerstyle, and leading MMA fighter Subaig Singh.

The video for the song, which was shot by acclaimed director Guvy Heer, features war footage of the Sikh Regiment during World War 2. Jarnail Singh project manager managed to secure exclusive access to Whitthington Barracks, the home of the Staffordshire Regiment of the British Army. The team were also given exclusive access to RAF Cosford.

Talking about the single, project manager Jarnail Singh stated;

'We initially sat down to find a project where we could educate and remind the younger generation about our Sikh history and our identity, we wanted to put into format were it would be easier to put across. We concluded that the legacy of the Sikh Regiment, who fought proudly during the two World Wars was a perfect example which we could use for 'Sher Soorma'.

Monday, February 21, 2011


A new short firm that just came to my attention about Sikhs in New Zealand. The film Manurewa has taken a top prize at the Berlin Film Festival. Here's some clips:

Sam Peacocke | Short Film (excerpt) - 'Manurewa' from Rokkit on Vimeo.


The last light of a cold winter’s day sees Isaac, a 17-year old boy, traversing the vacuum of industrial wasteland and empty suburbia.

Meanwhile a young mother worships in the warm sphere of a Sikh Gurdwara; her husband Navraj stuck working at the local liquor store.

Two young police officers kill time driving the beat, an ambulance glides into the gloaming past a group of young girls who wander in search of alcohol and something to do.

The descent into darkness brings these disparate characters together when Isaac shoots Navraj during a violent hold-up.

Tragically, they are both connected on parallel journeys towards equally dark fates.


“Manurewa” is based on a real murder of a South Auckland liquor store owner in 2008.

Navtej Singh bled to death while the police and ambulance waited outside; hamstrung by bureaucracy. Meanwhile the public walked in and out of the store without helping; some even stealing alcohol.

The film doesn’t form its own conclusions, but it leaves a lot of questions to walk away with.

“Manurewa” was self funded by the filmmakers and relied on the generous support of sponsors FUJI FILM New Zealand, Panavision New Zealand and Park Road Post.

The film was shot on 35mm with a skeleton crew, utilizing available light as much as possible. It was shot on location in South Auckland and features mostly non actors. The film was made with the blessing of the Sikh community and the family of the victim.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunshine in a Jar

I recently got a copy of a fantastic cook book entitled Menus and Memories From Punjab: Meals that Nourish the Body and Soul. Its written by Veronica "Rani" Sidhu. I've written about the book before and how it intertwines authentic Punjabi recipes with Rani's life story. You can the book here in Canada and here in the US.

Here's a new recipe from Rani:
“Sunshine” Pasta

Did you know that, not only Punjabis, but also Moroccans and Italians love lemon pickle? I like to call it “sunshine in a jar” because it makes so many traditional Punjabi dishes taste so much brighter. From subzi parauntha to saag and mukee di roti, a little pickle goes a long way. In my cookbook and memoir, Menus and Memories from Punjab, I reproduce the simple, foolproof recipe Bebeji Jagdish Kaur taught me. (p. 55)

She loved cooking for our large extended family and so, in honor of her and the newest member of our extended family, Milo Umberto, born in Florence, Italy, I’ve developed this perky, fast and flavorful pasta dish. When she was alive, I would have prepared it on Sunday night after having the langar meal in the afternoon at the Gurudwara. That way she would have had “daal/roti” at least once that day. She would have loved it. You may find it a go-to for a day when you are working late.

“Doctor” this recipe. Use your imagination! Add chopped red bell pepper or hot green chilies instead of the peas or with them-- or ¼ cup sliced black olives. Find more ideas on Rani’s

“Sunshine” Pasta (vegan)
Yield: 4 servings

8 oz. spaghetti
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup green peas or edamame, slightly cooked
¼ cup slivered lemon pickle nimboo achaar
1/3 cup sliced flat-leafed parsley or cilantro
1 teaspoon achaar masala (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the spaghetti and salt. Give a stir and continue boiling for about 8 minutes. Save a ¼ cup of pasta water and drain the rest in a colander.

In the empty pot heat (medium) the oil and add the garlic and pepper flakes. Sauté for about a minute but do not brown. Add the peas and lemon pickle and cook for another minute. Add the parsley or cilantro. Toss in the spaghetti and the reserved pasta water. Add achaar masala, pepper and salt to taste. Toss again. Reheat slightly if necessary. Toss in the cheese, if using.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pag Di Saanjh: A Tribute to the Sikh Turban..

A beautiful Punjabi poem with English subtitles:

Pashaura Singh Dhillon is a poet and singer based in the Central Valley of California. He writes and sings in Punjabi about a variety of social issues ranging from human rights to the environment, and Sikh philosophy. He is the author of a collection of poetry, Diva Bale Sumundaron Paar (The Lamp Still Burns Across the Sea) and is currently a radio host in Fresno for Punjab News and Views. In addition to live performances, his poems have been featured on television programs, online media sites, and published in leading newspapers and magazines both in the United States and abroad.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Before You..

Before you speak, listen.
Before you write, think.
Before you spend, earn.
Before you invest, investigate.
Before you criticize, wait.
Before you pray, forgive.
Before you quit, try.
Before you retire, save.
Before you die, give.
- Mr. William Ward

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ik Onkar TV

A new show for a new generation of Sikhs. Featuring the latest in Sikh music, multimedia, animation, discussion on Sikhi, and profiles on Sikh professionals and athletes.

This show is an initiative of the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Attention All Youth (Superwoman)

From "Superwoman":
It shouldn't take a crisis to get you inside the Gurdwara...

I encourage the youth of today to step up and learn your religion, culture and traditions because one day not too far away the existence of our faith will be in your hands. Life is busy but we always seem to make time for things don't we? Giving back to the community and serving in your place of worship should be no different. Gather your friends, spare a few minutes and discover the difference a little service to others can make. Although I specifically refer to the Gurdwara in this video I truly believe this applies to all people everywhere. And remember...there's always enough time in the day, but never enough determination.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gurbani Anywhere and Everywhere

A great summary from about mobile Sikh resources.

Vaheguruu ji ka khalsa, Vaheguruu ji ki fateh!

More and more people today believe that Sikhi has gotten harder to follow in society in recent years. This may have included pressures from society, keeping full kesh or basically everyone trying to 'fit in' into their groups. Either it is at work or school, at home or a constant battle with oneself! We heard the ongoing pressures everywhere, from our parents, our history, even our childhood punjabi teachers! We are not here to add to that but help assist you and open up a new direction of learning for you.

Recently Gurbani Anywhere sevadaars have launched a new version for the iPhone apps. Their original was a great full searchable database engine of Sri Guru Granth Saahib Jee, Dasam Granth Saahib and Bhai Gurdaas Jis Vaaran. This got us thinking, how technology is advancing and taking a new positive direction and this should attract more of us in learning about Sikhi, and keep us on track!

One very popular saying amongst most of us, "We don't understand what the Granthi is saying at the gurudwara!". Well now (if you haven't already) can follow along when your raagi, who sings that famous gurbani shabad you hear almost everytime you goto the gurudwara or someones house program, "jo maangay takhur apnaay te, soi soi devay"! Everytime the granthi saahib is taking hukamnama, you can follow along! Even the ardas we read everyday, you can follow along!! AND it will be available in english translations and transliteration. Almost all of us have phones now, what more can we ask for!?

Their (Gurbani Anywhere) new version is just incredible! A re-innovated search, your whole nitnem (gurmukhi and english), you can open any ang, take a hukamnama with random shabad option, and even a Events section to keep uptodate with local programs. DOWNLOAD IT NOW!

Sikhi Gurbani Search Apps/Softwares available for your Phone:


iGranth and Gurbani Browser. Gurbani Anywhere coming soon.

no searchable app available at this point rumours are iSikhi/Gurbani Anywhere sevadaars (similar to iPhone) are working on something for BB. However, there is a sundar gutka app -

Gurbani Anywhere, iSikhi (yes it has been updated for version 4+), iNitnem Gurmukhi/English 

Gurbani Everywhere - works with any phone that has a web browser and supports viewing of locally stored HTML files.
Any phone with web browser/internet connection you can goto

If you need more information on the above apps/programs, please let us know.

Compare this to what was available 20 or even just 10 years ago! The power is in our hands to push ourselves to learn, develop and progress our Sikhi. This is just the handheld/wireless world, the internet is another one we can touch another day! :)

Vaheguruu ji ka khalsa, Vaheguruu ji ki fateh!

Navdeep Bains speaks in the House on the Quebec kirpan issue

Navdeep Bains speaking in the House on Jan. 31, 2011 on the Quebec kirpan issue. Appropriately, his remarks are in French.

Monsieur le Président, depuis mon élection en 2004, je porte mon kirpan à la Chambre des communes. En 2006, la Cour suprême a confirmé le droit des Sikhs de porter le kirpan.
J'ai visité d'autres parlements, la Cour suprême du Canada et le Congrès américain. Je portais toujours mon kirpan et cela n'a jamais posé de problème.
Il faut que notre discussion soit raisonnable et respectueuse, évitant la rhétorique qui ne cherche qu'à diviser les Canadiens.
Dans mon travail, j'ai toujours fait la promotion du respect et de la compréhension. C'est le Canada dans lequel j'ai grandi et que je veux léguer à mes deux filles.
Soyons raisonnables et équitables. En bref, soyons Canadiens. Respectons notre Charte des droits et libertés.

Mr. Speaker, since my election in 2004, I wear my kirpan in the House of Commons. In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the right of Sikhs to wear the kirpan.
I visited other parliaments, the Supreme Court of Canada and the U.S. Congress. I always wore my kirpan and it has never been a problem.
Let us be reasonable and respectful discussion, avoiding rhetoric that tries to divide Canadians.
In my work I have always promoted respect and understanding. It was Canada where I grew up and I want to bequeath to my two daughters.
Let's be reasonable and fair. In short, let us be Canadians. Respect our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.