US Army enlists 1st turbaned sikh soldier after 3 decades

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Simran Singh Lamba has become the first Sikh with turban and beard to graduate as a soldier from the army of the United States of America (USA)

Simran Singh Lamba has become the first Sikh with turban and beard to graduate as a soldier from the army of the United States of America (USA)

 

Simran Singh Lamba has become the first Sikh with turban and beard to graduate as a soldier from the army of the United States of America (USA), nearly after three decades. Just hours after becoming US citizen today, Spc. Simran Singh graduated from Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

“When the bullets begin flying, it doesn’t concern anyone what religion you are. I bleed the same colour,” said Spec. Simran Lamba, 26, after his graduation ceremony from basic combat training.

Lamba said his black turban, full beard, unshorn hair and religious beliefs posed no problems during his 10 weeks of training.

“I am proud to be a Sikh, I’m proud to be a U.S. citizen, and proud to be a U.S. Army soldier,” he said.

The US Army already has two recently graduated Sikhs medical officers ( Tejdeep Singh and Kamaljeet Singh) , but it hasn’t had one in the enlisted ranks. Simran Singh was recruited because of his special skills in two languages Indian Hindi and Punjabi.

“The Sikhs are warriors in Indian culture. Once our soldiers heard that, they were all for him,” said Lamba’s battalion commander, Lt. Col. Bryan Hernandez.

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Sikh Sant Soldier – First two Sikh soldiers to guard the British Queen

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First two Sikh soldiers to guard the British Queen

First two Sikh soldiers to guard the British Queen

Friday said it is hard work but Queen Elizabeth II gets first Sikh guards Sikhs soldiers Sarjvit Singh and Simranjit Singh, who will guard the British Queen, pose at Wellington barracks. (AP)
definitely worth it.

Singh, 26, who serves with 21 Signal Regiment of the British army, started his royal guard duties in May at the Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. He was joined by India-born Lance Corporal Sarvjit Singh, 28.

Hailing from Coventry, Simranjit Singh said: “Being in London and parading in front of hundreds of people has been brilliant. Being Sikh hasn’t made any difference.

“My family and friends are very proud of me being in the army and have been down to watch the ceremony. It’s been hard work but definitely worth it.”

Married to Jagtinder, Singh joined the army in 2006 after working as a helpdesk operator in the National Health Service.

He is now based in Colerne, Wiltshire, where he works in the motor transport department of the regiment’s headquarters looking after vehicles and radio equipment.

Lance Corporal Singh, 28, was born in India in 1981, and came to England in 2000. He joined the army in 2004. When he learned that his unit would take part in public duties this summer, he immediately volunteered for the royal guard.

Mounting guard duty is normally carried out by the Guards of Household Division in their distinctive scarlet tunics and bear skin caps, but when the Guards units are busy with operational duties other regiments step in.

Sardar Jarnail Singh Ji Press Reporter of DAINIK JAGRAN

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NEW DELHI — An angry journalist threw a shoe at India’s top security official after a confrontational exchange during a press conference over the 1984 anti-Sikh riots that left thousands dead. The shoe missed Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, who continued taking questions Tuesday as officials escorted the journalist away.

S. Jarnail Singh Ji (Press Reporter)

S. Jarnail Singh Ji (Press Reporter)

He was later taken into police custody, but it was not immediately clear whether he would face charges, said police spokesman Rajan Bhagat. Local television channels identified the journalist as Jarnail Singh, a veteran reporter with one of India’s largest newspapers, the Hindi daily Dainik Jagran. Before throwing the shoe, Mr. Singh asked Mr. Chidambaram several questions about the Central Bureau of Investigation’s findings last week that cleared a senior Congress party leader, Jagdish Tytler, from any involvement in the bloody riots that left 3,000 dead. Mr. Chidambaram said the CBI was an independent body and the government played no role in the decision, and called for the public to be patient. Mr. Singh, dressed in an olive-green shirt and a white turban, then threw his blue and white sneaker at Mr. Chidambaram, narrowly missing his face. Moments later, Mr. Chidambaram repeatedly asked the reporters in the room to “settle down,” and said, “the emotional outburst of one man should not hijack a press conference.

 

” Soon after, Mr. Singh told TV news reporters that he regretted throwing the shoe but he felt Mr. Chidambaram was dodging the question. “I just wanted to ask him how justice will be done, but he was not interested in answering the questions,” he told CNN-IBN during a telephone interview from police custody. “I don’t think it was the right way, what I have done, but the issue is right.” Mr. Singh didn’t say whether he was inspired by Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who last month was sentenced to three years in prison for throwing his shoes at former U.S. President George W. Bush in Baghdad. The 1984 riots, which remain a very controversial issue in India, left more than 3,000 dead, most of whom were Sikhs. The carnage erupted across India after former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s Sikh bodyguards shot her to death. Many blame Congress party officials for turning a blind eye or even supporting the rioters in the violence that ensued after their leader was slain. On Tuesday, hundreds of Sikhs held protests over the CBI’s findings in front of the home of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. Jagdish Tytler, the center of the controversy, was a lawmaker at the time and remains a divisive figure in Indian politics. He is currently campaigning for re-election to Parliament in elections that begin later this month.

A YOUNG Sikh man – Winning trust through work – S. Amaninder Singh

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A YOUNG Sikh man taken off a Qantas flight because fellow passengers were afraid to depart with him on board was the trigger which led Amaninder Singh Sandhu to seek a role within police.

Struck by the fear and ignorance of people regarding his race and religion, he thought that one way to win the trust and confidence of the public was to work for an agency that exemplified those qualities.

SARDAR AMANINDER SINGH

SARDAR AMANINDER SINGH

Superintendent Mike Wilson (centre left), Commissioner Howard Broad and Constable Amininder Singh Sandu (centre) with supporters from the Sikh Community.
Photo: Ann-Marie Pickles

In September 2007, Amaninder attended a police recruitment session in Auckland, intending to be an observer. However Asian Liaison Officer Jessica Phuang encouraged him join the session. When he raised the issue of wearing a turban as a possible barrier to his joining, Jessica said, “Let’s worry about that when we get there.”

The turban has spiritual and historical significance and is worn with a great deal of pride by orthodox followers of Sikhism. Sikhs do not cut their hair or beards, to demonstrate they are living their lives as Waheguru (God) wills.

That ‘can do’ attitude first demonstrated by Jessica has typified the subsequent relationship between police and the Sikh community as the question of uniform was considered.

Police needed to ensure that the health, safety and public recognition elements of the uniform were maintained, while Amaninder and the Sikh community wanted to preserve the essential elements of faith necessary to practice the Sikh religion.

Both parties approached the issue with goodwill and a desire to reach common ground.

In December 2007 the Sikh Council of New Zealand presented police with a sample turban, correctly tied for consideration. Police confirmed that the turban was acceptable and the process of developing protocols to govern its use was begun by Inspector Jason Ross and Advisory Officer Jackie Mulligan.

From that point Amaninder, the Sikh Council, Police College and Police National Headquarters representatives, including Superintendent Wally Haumaha, Senior Sergeant Iain Saunders, Sergeant Rakesh Naidoo and Kefeng Chu, worked together to find a solution to issues which arose. The understanding and knowledge of all parties grew as a result of this process.

In March 2008, three members of the Sikh Council stayed at the Police College to experience first-hand the life of a recruit. They agreed to solutions to minor problems – for example an acceptable smaller version of the turban for use during swimming training and with the riot helmet.

Amaninder is a trailblazer. He is the first Sikh police officer to wear a turban as part of NZ Police uniform and the first turbaned officer to graduate from the Police College.

The work undertaken to make the turban a part of NZ Police uniform has already reaped rewards for other officers.
Constable Jagmohan Malhi, an officer based in Nelson, was able to return to the practice of his faith and adopted the approved turban in September.

Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji Khalsa Gets Padamshree Award

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Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji

Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji

Release: 30th Jan 2009, 17th Maagh (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi ) It is a proud moment for Sikhs round the world as Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa has become the first sikh kirtania of to get Padma Shri Award (the highest honor) in India. Bhai Sahib is the Hazoori Raagi of Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar. The Government of India has officially communicated its decision in a Press Release (Padma Awards-2009 ) to honor Bhai Sahib Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji Khalsa this year. (you can fin his name at 23rd number in of Padma Shri list. Bhai Sahib Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji Khalsa is doing kirtan for past 25 years and is one of the finest raagis having knowledge of all 31 raagas in the Gurbani of Dhan Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Bhai Sahib has also a notable knowledge of bani in Dasam Granth and he sings Dasam Bani in raags too. Bhai Nirmal Singh Ji is the second Gursikh sikh to Padma honor after Bhai Sahib Bhai Veer Singh Ji who got this award in 1960. Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

SARDAR AMANINDER SINGH JI is the first gursikh police officer in New Zealand to wear turban on duty

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A young Sikh man taken off a Qantas flight because fellow passengers were afraid to depart with him on board was the trigger which led AMANINDER Singh Sandhu to seek a role with the police.

SARDAR AMANINDER SINGH JI

SARDAR AMANINDER SINGH JI

Struck by the fear and ignorance of people regarding his race and religion, he thought that one way to win the trust and confidence of the public was to work for an agency that exemplified those qualities.

In September 2007, AMANINDER attended a police recruitment session in Auckland, New Zealand, intending to be an observer. However, Asian Liaison Officer Jessica Phuang encouraged him to join the session. When he raised the issue of wearing a turban as a possible barrier to his joining, Jessica said, “Let’s worry about that when we get there.”

The turban has spiritual and historical significance and is worn with a great deal of pride by followers of Sikhism. Sikhs do not cut their hair or beards, to demonstrate they are living their lives in accordance with the teachings of their Gurus.

That “can do” attitude first demonstrated by Jessica has typified the subsequent

relationship between police and the Sikh community as the question of uniform was considered.

Police needed to ensure that the health, safety and public recognition elements of the uniform were maintained, while AMANINDER and the Sikh community wanted to preserve the essential articles of faith necessary to practice the Sikh religion.

Both parties approached the issue with goodwill and a desire to reach common ground.

SARDAR AMANINDER SINGH JI

SARDAR AMANINDER SINGH JI

In December 2007, the Sikh Council of New Zealand presented police with a sample turban, correctly tied for consideration. Police confirmed that the turban was acceptable and the process of developing protocols to govern its use was begun by Inspector Jason Ross and Advisory Officer Jackie Mulligan.

From that point, AMANINDER, the Sikh Council, the Police College and Police National Headquarters representatives, including Superintendent Wally Haumaha, Senior Sergeant Iain Saunders, Sergeant Rakesh Naidoo and Kefeng Chu, worked together to find a solution to issues which arose. The understanding and knowledge of all parties grew as a result of this process.

In March 2008, three members of the Sikh Council stayed at the Police College to experience first-hand the life of a recruit. They agreed to solutions to minor problems – for example an acceptable smaller version of the turban for use during swimming training and with the riot helmet.

AMANINDER is a trailblazer. He is the first Sikh police officer to wear a turban as part of the New Zealand Police uniform and the first turbaned officer to graduate from the Police College.

The work undertaken to make the turban a part of New Zealand Police uniform has already reaped rewards for other officers.

Constable Jagmohan Singh Malhi, an officer based in Nelson, was able to return to the practice of his faith and adopted the approved turban in September.

A Tribute To ISHMEET SINGH July 30, 2008

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Ishmeet Singh’s emergence as the Star Voice of India in a high eyeball gathering Indian TV channel reality singing talent contest, coupled by the increasing awareness about identity among the ethnic minorities in an increasingly globalized world, and the high profile 300th year celebrations of the Guru’ta Gaddi Diwas. All these have somehow combined in making the Sikhs realize that they must take care of the one symbol that has caught the imagination of the world. The Turban.

Instantly marking out the Sikh from a crowd of a million, a turban has done for the Sikhs what takes communities many many years and efforts to achieve.

See the last issue of the famous Time magazine (India ‘Idol’ Launches a New Turban Legend) which features the 18-year-old Ishmeet Singh and calls him as winner of the “glitzy American Idol-inspired Voice of India contest on Star TV last month.” It wrote: “(T)he phone hasn’t stopped ringing at his family’s home in Ludhiana, the busy industrial hub of Punjab. But the kudos is about more than Singh’s impressive singing prowess; he has earned it by the fact that he is a keshdhari (turban-wearing) Sikh.”

The Time article continues: “It is his sabat-surat [appearance conforming to the Sikh ideal] that has brought him where he is today,” says his proud father Gurpinder Singh. “He has shown other Sikh boys that they don’t need a trendy hairstyle to attain stardom.” At a time when more and more young Sikh men are relinquishing the turban — considered the very core of a Sikh man’s cultural and religious identity — community leaders have hailed Singh’s win as, literally, a godsend. Sikh blogs have been pointing out that Singh was declared a winner on Guru Nanak Jayanti, the anniversary of the birth of the founder of Sikhism. And he has been honored by the Akal Takht, the highest seat of the Sikh clergy.

The event also gave the Time the opportunity to explain the Sikh faith to a wider world audience. On Sikhism, it wrote: “Founded by Guru Nanak in northern India during the 15th century, Sikhism drew from Sufism, Islam and Hinduism, but rejected what it saw as their worst traditions, such as the Hindu caste system. … The religion claims 23 million followers today, 76 percent of whom live in the Indian state of Punjab…But the battle to preserve the turban may well be the toughest facing the Sikhs since they were first rallied as a martial nation by their tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, in 1699, to fight the oppressive Mughal rulers of India.”

Such efforts help the Sikh community in explaining to the world that they are a unique nation and cannot be confused with people of Middle East origin, something the average American is prone to do, as symbolized by the many hate crimes against the Sikhs in the United States in the wake of 9/11.

The Sikhism’s norms enjoin Sikh men to wear their hair long and sport a turban. But Sikh scholars estimate that in some regions of Punjab — home to 60% of India’s 14.6m Sikhs — as many as 80% of Sikhs no longer comply. And that may reflect the generational conflict in many a Sikh household, between conservative parents and children who want to break free. The Time magazine quoted the Chandigarh based sociologist Dr. Rajesh Gill, whose 18-year-old son sports a turban, and said she spoke for many Sikh parents when she said, “A turban is a Sikh’s pride, and I don’t want my son to shear his hair once he becomes more independent.”

The number of turbanless, clean-shaven Sikhs has grown astronomically in the last two decades. “Thanks to the onslaught of satellite TV, there’s a drive towards mainstreaming,” says Gill. As young people travel far for work, they feel less obligated to adhere to the demands of their culture. Some cite convenience as a factor since, as per this argument, young, working mothers have no time for the elaborate, early-morning practice of tying turbans and washing boys’ long hair on weekends. What kind of argument is that to cite for a mother who brings the children into this world? That she assumes no responsibility to transmit the religious, cultural values and will merely feed well and send the kids to a good school? Efforts to preach values to young Sikhs have lagged. Even Sikh schools do not preach Sikhism, the Time article said quoting a Sikh scholar, who added that as a result the children don’t realize the philosophy behind wearing a turban.

The euphoria over Ishmeet Singh’s victory reflects the need of the Sikh community’s elders to find turbaned role models. “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, always seen with a spiffy turban, is an obvious example, but cricketer Harbhajan Singh is no hero. Daler Mehndi only to a certain extent, he does not put “Singh” in his name. “Sikh organizations from Vancouver to Melbourne are renewing efforts at prachar, or preaching, to the 3 million-strong Sikh diaspora,” the Time said, adding the “how to tie a turban” schooling is part of the initiatives.

Even on Baisakhi, the Sikhs, increasingly aware and worried about the younger generation’s attitude towards the religion and much concerned about their outer identity symbol of the turban, celebrated the festival simultaneously as the International Turban Day.

In Amritsar, as part of the Mr. Singh International, Sikh models walked down the ramp and were feted not primarily because they were beautiful or had perfect attributes of the body but because they had all that but were also Sikhs, or at least sported all the outer symbols of the religion — the hair, the turban, the untrimmed eyelashes, a perfectly tied turban and an impressively styled beard.

At a time when the human body has started to pre-empt all other measures of value in the West, the effort by certain organizations to ensure that the sabat-soorat Sikh also remains in the race, and in fact, becomes the in thing in fashionable circles are being appreciated by the community.

Social isolation is a dreaded state and the turban must not be allowed to become a symbol of that in a world where the clean shaven hair styles are being marketed as fashionable. Contests like Mr Singh International and efforts like that of Ishmeet Singh have made a contribution in this regard upon which the community must build further.

A string of successful Sikh modeling contests will lead to similar pressures closer home. It makes our youth take a pride in a stylishly worn turban.

The majority of children between three and twelve in the United States spend more time in front of a screen – television, computer, video-game, mobile phone – than with their parents, teachers or their friends: on average more than five hours a day, as against four with teachers, less than three with friends – and scarcely more than an hour with parents. In these conditions, the transmission of customs and values that was once assured by the family is not happening. The imaginative and moral distance between progenitors and their offspring is growing. In such circumstances, the child or our youth will learn more from what goes on in a modeling contest or on a TV reality show than the traditional channels of value transition. It is necessary that the community learns how to hog that space. Ishmeet Singh is helping us. Initiatives like that of Jaswinder Singh, the SGPC member who has been a prime force behind many Sikh modeling contests, are to be appreciated. The turban wearing achievers must be celebrated.

That is why the fact that the Time magazine features Ishmeet Singh in a thorough report instead of dismissing the Idol-ization in a passing reference should be celebrated.

But while we must do that, we must also remember, as the WSN had pointed out earlier also many a times, whether we have indeed thought through all the implications of celebration of the youth, of the human shape, of the Sikh modeling contests, of the images that will beam eventually in gurdwaras after any Ayur Herbal Sikh Value-laden Turban Tying and Eyelashes-preservation Contest? We must ensure that our youth realizes that even while it celebrates turban, it is necessary to understand that the gurbani hymn being played in the background of the modeling contest is commensurate with value system that they have in their lives.