Monthly Archives: September 2012

Communicating like a Boss

This post is a tad more on the serious side, but I hope you enjoy nonetheless. If you need some light-heartedness and you enjoy puppies, feel free to click this smiley at anytime:    😀

This week, this image has gone viral:

It’s a picture of a woman named Balpreet Kaur in the Ohio State University bookstore. She’s a Sikh woman with some facial hair. The photo was posted in the “funny” section of Reddit and was made fun of.

Bullying.

What’s new?

But the story gets interesting; Kaur posted a response to the person who posted her picture and to those who commented on it. She said this:

“Hey, guys. This is Balpreet Kaur, the girl from the picture. I actually didn’t know about this until one of my friends told on facebook. If the OP wanted a picture, they could have just asked and I could have smiled 🙂 However, I’m not embarrased or even humiliated by the attention [negative and positve] that this picture is getting because, it’s who I am. Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair. Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body – it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn’t reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying ‘mine, mine’ and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it? When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are. 🙂 So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello. I appreciate all of the comments here, both positive and less positive because I’ve gotten a better understanding of myself and others from this. Also, the yoga pants are quite comfortable and the Better Together tshirt is actually from Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that focuses on storytelling and engagement between different faiths. 🙂 I hope this explains everything a bit more, and I apologize for causing such confusion and uttering anything that hurt anyone.”

As a Sikh I’ve come into contact with multiple women who have more facial hair than our society is used to. In fact  many would say I have more facial hair than society is used to myself. Many Sikh woman remove their hair, and I don’t judge them in the slightest. But to see Balpreet Kaur handle this with so much self-respect and respect for those she was addressing, it makes me proud. You don’t see whole ton about Sikhs in the media and stuff (except for the shooting this summer) so I’m glad that when we are noticed it’s in a positive way. When I looked this lady up on Facebook and saw we have three mutual friends, I felt even more connected to this Kaur. Women have been dealing with keeping their facial hair for awhile. But now it seems like we have someone who’s  representing our struggles to the world, the face of Balpreet. It’s not like she asked for this either, someone else put this picture up. She merely responded to it. My favorite part of this entire thing? The way it was handled. Balpreet Kaur didn’t reply with anger, which was awesome. To top it off, the person who posted the picture wrote an apology. Check it out:

“I posted this link a few days ago:http://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/109cnf/im_not_sure_what_to_conclude_from_this/

I know that this post ISN’T a funny post but I felt the need to apologize to the Sikhs, Balpreet, and anyone else I offended when I posted that picture. Put simply it was stupid. Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you’re making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.

/r/Funny wasn’t the proper place to post this. Maybe /r/racism or /r/douchebagsofreddit or /r/intolerance would have been more appropriate. Reddit shouldn’t be about putting people down, but a group of people sending cool, interesting, or funny things. Reddit’s been in the news alot lately about a lot of cool things we’ve done, like a freaking AMA by the president. I’m sorry for being the part of reddit that is intolerant and douchebaggy. This isn’t 4chan, or 9gag, or some other stupid website where people post things like I did. It’s fucking reddit. Where some pretty amazing stuff has happened.

I’ve read more about the Sikh faith and it was actually really interesting. It makes a whole lot of sense to work on having a legacy and not worrying about what you look like. I made that post for stupid internet points and I was ignorant.

So reddit I’m sorry for being an asshole and for giving you negative publicity.

Balpreet, I’m sorry for being a closed minded individual. You are a much better person than I am

Sikhs, I’m sorry for insulting your culture and way of life.

Balpreet’s faith in what she believes is astounding.”

The fact that two people, Balpreet and the uploader, were able to calmly go about expressing their views was so awesome. If Balpreet had gotten angry and defensive, maybe the other guy would have gotten angry and defensive, and then other Reddit users would have gotten angry and defensive, and then this would have turned into one of thousands of internet squabbles consisting of cursing each other out and thumbs ups and thumbs downs or whatever else. But instead, the two of them took this opportunity to reach out, educate, and be educated. This is how it should be. I wish more of us were able to communicate as effectively as we’ve seen here. If world leaders could do that, maybe we’d avoid wars by having discussions instead, and coming up with better solutions. In addition to inspiring Sikhs around the world and educating people about who we are, I think Balpreet has shown us all the true power of the dignified word.

Next time your talking to someone and things get a little heated, remember people like Kaur. Keep your cool. If your argument is valid, you should be able to make an impact with it while still being polite about it. Don’t be mad, bro. You’re too cool 🙂

-M

Tagged , , , , ,

Hindu Extremism ft. Chris Brown

So this week I saw a preview for this film called The World Before Her that’s being released in certain areas (see if you live near a screening HERE!) about two extremes of the women of India. The movie follows beauty pageant contestants, who go through rigorous training to compete. Additionally we see a second type of woman which is what interested me the most: the Hindu fundamentalists. The documentary-style film takes a look inside a camp for girls who are supposedly trained for combat and taught to dislike other religions. Before I saw this preview I had no idea this kind of thing existed. I still don’t know a lot about it, and my sources could always be wrong. If I was Hindu and I saw a Hindu camp being portrayed as something it wasn’t, I would definitely be frustrated. So please, if you know more about this let me know.

Check out the preview HERE, and an article I read HERE.

You can’t deny that the footage shows people who are outwardly praising violence for the sake of India and Hinduism. Since watching the trailer I’ve learned that these Hindu fundamentalists believe India should be a Hindu nation with a Hindu government. But even though these people exists, I know that all Hindus don’t feel this way. The majority of Hindus would probably be annoyed at what goes on in this camp and others similar to it, as would most people. The reason that this footage fascinated me isn’t because I was angry or scared. It fascinated me because it showed that every religion has extremes. Everyone points to Islam as the “violent religion” when in reality they are basing this off of violent people who claim they are Muslim, but who aren’t representing the religion the way the majority of Muslims choose to. In the western world, I think we perceive Hinduism as a totally pacifist and peaceful religion, which is probably because of Gandhi’s popular pacifistic teachings and the fact that he was Hindu.  But even the religion that was claimed by Gandhi is also claimed by people who are taking their beliefs to a violent extreme. And yet we don’t think of violence when we think of Hindus, but we think of it when we think of Islam, most likely because of the way Islam is portrayed in society. Like the Hindu fundamentalists, Muslim extremists are the minority of a larger, peaceful religion. Many would say these violent people aren’t Hindus or Muslims at all.

The girls in the video clip at one point shout “Ask for Kashmir, we’ll slit their throats.” This is probably in reference to Pakistan wanting the Indian part of Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. This chant doesn’t exactly fall into line with Gandhi’s famous “An eye for an eye makes the world blind” quote. This just goes to show that you can’t judge someone because of his religion. Everyone is an individual and follows his religion with his own interpretation. Just because one Hindu wants violence, don’t think they all do. If all Sikhs advocate for one thing, don’t look at a Sikh and think you know everything about her.

I think Chris Brown has a few words he’d like to say about people assuming things of others: CB Words of Wisdom

Also, beauty pageants. This actually is a topic I’ve been thinking about recently, but the other part of the video clip was way more interesting to me, at least right now. But yeah, I don’t really know how I feel about beauty pageants. I can see how someone could just take it as a fun, harmless event, but I tend to think the **** out of things. So my thing about beauty pageants is that if the women and men who take part in them are truly as charismatic and smart and well-rounded as they claim, society would totally benefit from them taking an active role and doing things to make the world a better place, right? It’d be cool to see the women they show in the clip take part in India’s progression as a country instead of competing for Miss India. But that brings it back to what if these are just sort of for fun, which I mean they’re not hurting anyone, so why not? But THAT brings me back to what if they are hurting someone as in little girls around the world as in the objectification of women?

Clearly my thoughts on this matter are not developed.

Anyways, the movie seems pretty awesome. I’d love to see it but it’s not screening anywhere near me 😦 If you do see it, let me know what you think of it, I’d love to know!

I hope you’re having an AWESOME week so far. (If you’re not, feel free to click on the Chris Brown link again. It’s not going anywhere, I promise. Click it, listen to his beautiful voice, it’ll be great. Wait but what if you don’t like Chris Brown…Taylor Swift? Flo Rida?  Maybe click all three at once, idk, you do you, I won’t judge. OMG NOW WE’RE BACK TO CHRIS BROWN AND THE JUDGING THING okay sorry I’m done)

Have a good one!

-M

Tagged , , ,

Swamped

Hi! Okay, so this week I’ve been really busy with school and SAT prep AND starting my job. Anything I post right now just isn’t going to be the quality that I’d want it, so please forgive me for postponing this week’s post until tomorrow :/

HOWEVER

If you’re craving some South-Asian awesomeness and can’t wait until tomorrow, I have a board on Pinterest right HERE  that’s 100% South-Asian/ Middle-Eastern if you want to check it out. I was thinking about making a slide-show with images from that board at some point, but drastic times call for drastic measures I guess.

I’m sorry if none of this has made any sense.

SEE YOU TOMORROW 🙂

-M

Test your knowledge!

It’s here! It’s finally here! The (drum roll please)

!!!!INTERACTIVE POST!!!!

I’ve put together some trivia about the Indian subcontinent. Test your knowledge of  landmarks, language, important people AND more. All you have to do is read the question, click on the answer you think is correct and either be transported (magically) to the next question or to the page of despaaaair.  I hope you’re able to learn a couple new things and enjoy 🙂
Ready? Go!

1. The Taj Mahal is a famous Hindu temple:

True             False

Tagged , ,

Libya and Egypt

If you’ve been keeping up with the kardashians  news the past few days, you’ve probably heard a lot about Libya and Egypt. Here’s a quick summary of what’s been going on:

-Guy makes a private film promoting Islamaphobia (the idea we should fear and/or hate Muslims)

-Movie isn’t popular AT ALL, I think it was screened once, but word spreads through a couple of mouths

-A group in Egypt and one in Libya attack U.S Embassies, four American officials are killed.

I’m not going to go into my opinion about the movie or of the attacks because people are still on edge. But I will talk about the most pressing concern associated with all of this, at least to me: the backlash we’re going to feel in America. Again.

As I watched the news this week, I saw footage of the attacks on the U.S Embassies and more riots going on. And absolutely we need to know what’s going on. But what I’m not seeing in the news are these images:

These are Libyans showing their support for America after the attacks on the embassies. So many people are showing their support, but they’re getting half (if even that) the media attention than the people who attacked. Obviously the attacks and the riots are big news, but these Libyans who are in support of America would be big news to the people who have only seen negative images of the Middle East. After the tragedy of 9/11, Arabs, Desis, and Puerto Ricans even, all faced discrimination because we look like the terrorists they show in the news, even though we have nothing to do with them. And I thought after the Oak Creek Gurdwara shooting which was done out of ignorance, media outlets would take us into consideration, but I’m not seeing a big change. If we don’t fix this, the vicious cycle will continue: The attacks in Egypt and Libya were fueled by an uninformed person. These attacks are being portrayed as entire countries in anti-American uprisings, which is causing more Americans to be uninformed, which can cause more problems in the East. It’s up to the media. I’m calling on CNN, Fox, NBC, anywhere that has a voice: I’m calling on you to show the good along with the bad. You can end this. When 9/11 happened I was too young to be looking at the headlines or know what they meant, I just knew the things people were saying. Now I can see what’s going on in the news and the way people who look like me, my bro, etc. are being portrayed and I’m scared the hate is going to surge. The majority of Muslims, Arabs, Indians,  are peaceful. I want as many people as possible to hear that message, especially now.

Be safe, be kind.

-M

Tagged , , ,

Blog-Post-Bloopers

So the post “Gotta love the pugh!” was actually take two. My first attempt ended up being kind of intense, and I never posted it. But here it is if you’re interested, the first paragraph (not bolded) is the same as the published post:

The Sikh word for turban is pughari, or pugh. Someone who wears one is a Sardar, or Sardarni if she’s a woman. Hindus and Muslims sometimes wear head coverings as well. Each religion does so for its own reason, but none do it to promote violence or any radical beliefs. Turbans are as innocent as the Jewish Kippah, which is the head covering Jews wear. Please don’t be confused. A person killing innocent people in the name of their religion is religion-less in my eyes. That person shouldn’t be wearing a turban. For the sake of by brother, my loved ones, please don’t be confused.

Okay, I just had to get that out. Honestly I shy away from doing posts about serious things, like the real talk up in that paragraph. My pathetic reason? It just hurts. 9/11 was a tragedy that occurred when I was five. My life from that point forward was  people discriminating against me. I don’t know much about what it was like for my brother, who’s 2 and a half years older than me (he wears a turban), but I imagine my experience has been a walk in the park compared to his. And that’s sort of saying something. And yeah, absolutely you want to fight back, enlighten people, stand up to them like a bad a** lawyer.  But I guess I’m still immature and I’m still a kid, because at the end of a long day of lawyer-ing, all I will be thinking about is my brother and what people did to him. And as bad as this sounds, as much as I disagree with giving into this, sometimes you don’t want to explain anymore: Constantly telling people the difference between you and terrorists. You say it, and you think about it, and it hurts. And so sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. It’s like if you have a nightmare where people think you’re a freaky horror-movie clown. Then you wake up, and some people have some misconceptions and think you’re that clown. So you’re happy to clear up these misconceptions, but in the back of your mind you’re still thinking about that nightmare. I’m happy to clear up misconceptions in real life. I love knowing I helped someone get the facts. But when I don’t have to, I don’t want to think about the nightmare; my brother getting bullied. I’m sure I’ll mature, I’ll be stronger when I’m not in a high school setting which is tough for anyone. One day all of the pain caused by the disaster that was 9/11 will be a memory.But right now, it’s too soon.

…this is not going as planned. This wasn’t my intention for this post at all. Do you see that title? Does that sound like a “real talk” post? No! I swear this is all my fingers. They just keep going man. Haha yes, this is fingers speaking, mwahahaha we’re in control! No! Must…write…happy things like intended…Never! We are in control! MWAHAHA–ahh!—

Hello, this is toes speaking. Both mind and fingers are unavailable due to their squabbling, but we’re here to make this a smooth post. Please fasten your seat belts when the light indicates to do so, and we’re going to have a great post today.

Whew, sorry about that guys. It’s all good, my fingers are locked up where they belong.

Finger Prison

Unfortunately I think this post is too ramble-y to go on anymore, and I never even got to the point. Imma end this right here and make another that’s actually what this was supposed to be.

-M

Tagged , ,

Back to the Pind

I hear the word pind quite a bit. Your pind is basically your hood back in Punjab. Apparently people get kind of possessive over them. The whole thing kind of reminds me of the burrows of New York. 

I was sitting with my grandparents last weekend when it hit me: I must have a pind too. Why hadn’t I asked about this? I was so pumped to find out what pind we were from and find it on google maps and tattoo it on my face, until this:

“Bee ji, what pind are we from?”

“I’m not from a pind, I’m from the city.” It hadn’t occured to me that it was possible to not be from a pind. But that’s right, I remembered; my grandma’s from Lahore. Lahore=city, city is not pind. Got it.

“Dar ji, what pind are you from?” My grandpa’s from the city of Patiala, which I’ve always thought was village-sounding, which in retrospect doesn’t make any sense, but back to the story:

“I’m not from a pind.”

This had gone down hill fast.

“Man, I wanted to be from a pind.”

My Dar ji replied, “Well I wanted to be born in a king’s castle. ”

And that was the end of that conversation. But later that day when we were alone, my mom reminded me something I had forgotten: My Nani Ji (my mom’s mom) is from a pind. That began my investigation.

My mom talked to her parents later that day and asked what pind my Nani Ji was from. The reason she hadn’t brought it up in front of my other grandparents is because being from a pind can be taken as being “simple” or something silly like that. But my Nani was overjoyed to hear I was interested. From her we learned the name of my Nani Ji’s district: Jalandhar, her pind: Sri Shanker, and her pind-within-the-pind: Uchi Dharamsala. She didn’t know the address, because in her pind there weren’t really addresses at all. If you had to go somewhere, you knew where it was. If you had to send a letter, you’d put the recipient’s name on it and the mailman would know where to go. That’s pind life.

My mom and I began google-ing the jalebis out of Sri Shanker and Uchi Dharamsala. My mom’s never been quite as interested in India as I am, but this was different. We know close to nothing about my Nani’s side of the family. She grew up without parents, under the care of her grandma. My mom’s never asked many questions about my Nani Ji’s life, and this was a new connection, a link, to that half of her heritage. So after some searching, we found Uchi Dharamsala.

“Uchi” means up high. It was explained to us by my Nani Ji that there was a ramp or a hill that defined the Uchi Dharamsala area. We think it’s the slope next to the stairs. The building you see is the local Gurudwara. My Nani’s house was literally just down the street. So close but so far. The area doesn’t show up well on google maps as it’s not a big city or anything. We found this picture and others here.

Something about this place feels familiar. I can see my Nani walking up the steps. This picture isn’t just India to me, it’s a part of my family history and, is it a stretch to say? Of who I am.

People ask me why I want to visit India, and it’s for this feeling. That, whether it’s a pind, city, whatever, you belong somewhere. A place that knew you before you knew it. On day when I visit Lahore, Patiala, Sri Shanker, I won’t have to introduce myself. We go back the most real way.

Thanks for hanging in there through this history lesson.

Quiz on Monday.

🙂 M

Tagged , , , ,

Gotta Love the Pugh!

The Sikh word for turban is pughari, or pugh (pronounced like a pug dog). Someone who wears one is a Sardar, or Sardarni if she’s a woman. Hindus and Muslims sometimes wear head coverings as well. Each religion does so for its own reason, but none do it as a symbol of promoting violence or any radical beliefs. Turbans are as innocent as the Jewish Kippah, which is the head covering that some Jews can be seen wearing. Please don’t be confused. A person killing innocent people in the name of their religion is religion-less in my eyes. That person shouldn’t be wearing a turban. For the sake of by brother, my loved ones, please don’t be confused.

Intense, I know. I don’t know how to make the transition into light-hearted…actually how bout I try the–

Are we light-hearted now? Okay, cool. Thank goodness for magical powers.

I found some cool pictures of people of different religions wearing different types of turbans. I love how different they all are, how cool they look, how empowering they must feel, AHH feelings! Okay, without further ado, I give you turbans:

This lovely turban reminds me of bread and makes me rather hungry

A Sikh wearing a Dastar (Pugh)

A Sikh Nihang

You got your pretty colors going on here

And looks like we got another Nihang

This one he’s actually wearing a patka, which is the version of the pugh usually worn by yonuger guys.

High school grad-swag

Hope you enjoyed!

-M

Tagged , , , ,

There are some random links showing up on certain words, I’m trying to get it taken care of. In the mean time, beware of shady links!

I’m giving my self four minutes to write this post. Cue music!

(Getting that link took 3 minutes. I–OH. OKAY. IT’S BEEN FOUR MINUTES. I NEED FOUR MORE MINUTES. CRAP, I’M OUT OF QUARTERS.)

 

Okay, I just wanted to do a quick post about this shirt I ordered the other day. It looks like this:

Eeek I’m so excited. I LOVE the design. Heer Ranjha and Mirza Sahiba are two of Punjab’s tragic love stories. The other two are Sassi Punnun and Sohni Mahiwal. Laila Majnu is actually Arabic/Persian, but it’s popular in Punjab as well, and as of right now it’s my favorite ❤ I think I’m going to have to devote a whole post to Punjabi and other Eastern love stories. Sounds like a good Valentines Day post 🙂

It’s by a place called b-coalition. I’m not getting paid to say any of this by the way, I just think they make some cool stuff.  Check them out here.

-M