Day 2 of Lalkaar 2012 complete. After early morning Nitnem, the conference began with a powerful video documenting the quotidian apartheid that occurs in our Gurdwaras, villages, hearts, and minds. The first workshop called for "deconstructing the divisions." Participants were challenged to re-think where we get knowledge about caste from, how it influences our thinking, and what are the ramifications for our community in the future. The second workshop, titled "confronting caste" sought a historical understanding by re-looking at the institutions that shook the basis of "untouchability" in Punjab. The Gurus gave us a "spirit" with the institutions of langar, khanda di pahul, Singh/Kaur, and even calling for Sikhs to discard caste and pay no attention to it in marriage. Discussions revolved around Gurbani, Rahit Literature, and selections from Jagjit Singh's The Sikh Revolution. Here are some pics: Keep reading below the fold for the rest info on the rest of the day! Read more
For every Lalkaar conference, things have to go exactly right and it requires enormous coordination from a large team. Most participants interact with their facilitators and spend most of their times in various groups, rarely thinking about all the pieces that make a successful conference. They don't see staff sevadars like Jasmine doing the exhausting work of filling the buckets for drinks and keeping stocks high to serve nearly 150 participants. Read more
The opening ceremony of Lalkaar always begins at the Gurdwara. For years in Fresno, but for the past 2 years West Sacramento Guru Ghar has been home to us. Here's some pics from last night! (Special shout out to our videography/photography team - Navi/Aman/Aman/Ajay)
Yesterday, the fabulous Lalkaar Committee, staff, and Facilitator Class of 2012 converged upon Davis, CA. The facilitators are busy going over materials and making sure they are ready, competent, and capable. The staff is dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's, making sure that all aspects of the conference will run smoothly. We'll continue live-blogging and keep all interested, updated. Looking forward to all the participants joining us this afternoon. Then inaugurating the conference at the Gurdwara this evening. Stay tuned.
Last year the Jakara Movement held the first ever Bhujangi Youth Academy camp, aimed at young “at-risk” Sikh males, ages 13-17. It was a HUGE success. You can see the previous description and reflections write-up from last year. This year the camp is happening again and we're expecting more bhujangis, more counselors, and a more terrific camp. We need your help and that of our sevadars and readers to spread the word. WHEN: July 15-24, 2012WHERE: Camp Sierra (central California)HOW TO REGISTER: Visit www.bhujangi.org WHO TO CALL: For more information, call 1-408-905-7454 (English and Punjabi) There will be fun activities such as paintballing, horseback riding, and sports. There will also be classes to instill a sense of pride in our collective Sikh past, but also an opportunity for reflection, emotional growth, and anger management. The Jakara Movement is willing to work with all families of any means. As the deadline is soon approaching, we need your help and encouragement. Recommend a family member or talk to a friend if they have a young son, nephew, cousin, or brother that may be able to benefit from such an experience. Read more
During Spring 2012, our Jakara Juniors camp focused on health, nutrition, and wellness. We encouraged all Sikh children to be the Guru's Pehalwaan. We have examples of inspiring Sikhs that celebrate healthy minds, bodies, and souls. Fauja Singh is the best-known, but he isn't alone. Introducing Man Kaur! Man Kaur, aged 95, of Chandigarh took up running under her son's encouragement, 72-year-old Gurdev Singh. Last year in Sacramento she received two gold medals in the 90+ age group in the 100m and 200m events. The Kaur Sprinter! Read more
Caste is one of those dark secrets in our community. Some defend it as “culture”, others downplay its discriminatory effects, and some go even as far as to blame the victims of the violence itself. Many have documented the ongoing apartheid that exists in our villages and in our minds. Some scholars have recently looked at the issue in light of the Sikhi belief in equality, but the existing practices of discrimination by Sikhs. Professor Natasha Behl produced her dissertation, titled “The Politics of Equality: Caste and Gender Paradoxes in the Sikh Community.” She began her research asking the simple question: How do ordinary Sikhs maintain a belief in equality while also participating in caste- and gender-based discrimination? How do Scheduled Caste Sikhs and Sikh women take political action in a community that engages in discrimination, yet denies its very existence? Read more