Why is Fresno the center of Sikhi in California?

          True, both Los Angeles and the Bay Area are homes to very dense Punjabi, Sikh populations, but what is it about Fresno that makes the people come in the dozens for Sikh based events? While the bhangra revolution of the late 1990’s was taking over big cities with the introduction of Dhol Di Awaz, and Bruin Bhangra, a different revolution was taking place in Fresno. 

         Whereas traditional Sikh camps consisted of an “elderly” voice in the room, telling students what to do, Jakara introduced a peer learning experience with the introductions of moderators. This approach took the class room experience of traditional conferences away, and implemented a environment similar to that of an informal discussion. Young Sikhs were no longer intimidated to attend conferences Rather, they were intrigued to meet young Sikhs just like them, that may not possess all the answers, but that were willing to struggle through tough discussions with them.  

         Lalkaar, formerly known as The Jakara Conference, created new innovative ways to keep young Sikhs engaged with Sikhi. This was because the ideas were coming straight from the youth. Lalkaar led to the Jakara Junior camps, and the more recent introduction of The Sikhi Honors and Service Society, The Jakara Movement Clubs, and our high school Conference, Nishaan.      

So, next time someone makes the argument that Sikhi flourishes in Fresno because the topography is similar to that of Punjab. Let them know that the evolution didn’t happen overnight, it’s been 17 years in the making. 

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  • Iqbal Singh
    commented 2016-03-10 11:58:04 -0800
    Well, when I wrote this post I was aiming at Sikh youth outside of Fresno. Following a high school conference that we had in January, lots of high schoolers came up to me and talked to me about how they want to do more in their cities, and it was easy for people in Fresno to put on Sikh events. The purpose of this post is to talk to those high schoolers as well as the Sikh community at large. I am trying to address the fact that no city is essentially primed to start a community based activity. The burden falls on the community to communicate with one another to put events on. For instance, The Jakara Movement started with a group of people wanting to do more. However, these things take a lot of effort and time to take off. I hope this answers your question.
  • Jaideep Singh
    commented 2016-03-08 22:04:57 -0800
    Who is the intended audience for these posts?

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