Tag Archives: indian

BOLLYWOOD LET ME CALL YOU OUT REAL QUICK: RELIGIONISM AND ETHNICISM IN BOLLYWOOD

(Disclaimer: I wrote this like months ago, in case something I say doesn’t make sense time-wise.)

I hope religionism and religionist are actual words…

White privilege, Gandhi, man—I’ve been going HARD lately. So I was like, I should definitely do something light-hearted this week. But then I figured, I might as well get it all out, you know?

BOLLYWOOD.

Cheerful…

chandnichowk9

Scenic…

b1f03-veer1


Romantic…

soulmate

And overall just a hoot, right?
handsup




Mhmm. It is all of those things. But, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes, bollywood gets a little bit offensive.

Just…

sinb1

A tad…
sinb3

rude.
sinb4

When portraying minorities. The minority I’ve noticed being discriminated against the most is Sardars, who are Sikh men who wear turbans. Sardars are almost always portrayed as drunk, irrational, uneducated men. Some infamous offenders are Jab We Met and Veer Zaara (although Bachchan isn’t actually wearing a turban in Veer Zaara). Also, Sikhs are often shown doing things that are blatently against Sikhsims, such as idol worship, and, overall,  Bollywood mixes Hinduism and Sikhism. A lot.  And I have a couple issues with that.

First, the whole drunk thing. An argument I hear for this very often is, “But it’s true!! Sikhs ARE drinkers!” Okay, I get it. It is true. But…it’s true to the point that it’s like, an issue. Like, the biggest issue for us, basically. Drugs and alcohol are killing Panjab. 73% of Panjabi youth are addicted to drugs. Not just users. Addicts. I have family members who have had to recover from serious drug problems at very young ages. And yes, Sikhs are known to drink. Fine. But does that mean that Bollywood has to portray Sikhs as alcoholics all the time? Think about little Sikh boys and girls. When all they is  see Sikhs portrayed as is drinkers, that’s what they’re going to think is expected of them. And so how can we ever progress? We can’t. And Bollywood’s not concerned about it.

Now when Sikhs are somewhat reasonable people in Bollywood, it’s great! But, it’s also not, because, the more reasonable they are, the more the movie makers want us to believe they’re actually Hindus. They do pooja, worship idols, have Hindu weddings, and do other things that I don’t even know what they’re called, because as a Sikh, I never learned them. Also, characters who are Hindus often wear karas. This I just don’t get. Like, I was thinking about it the other day–karas were given to Sikhs so they could be identified as Sikhs on the battlefield. And so I was thinking, I get that religious traditions blend together sometimes, but karas are for ride or die Sikhs, like, literally. When I was in India, I noticed how there isn’t really a line between Sikhs and Hindus, and that scared me a little. We make up just 2% of India’s population, making it totally possible for us to kind of get washed away. And seeing so much Sikh-Hindu confusion in Bollywood seems like a symptom of this. Even Rocket Singh, which is the best portrayal of a Sikh-Sardar Bollywood has ever done, shows Sikhs praying to pictures. This even got my grandma heated. So you know it’s not just me, a rebelious youth. Also, there’s the fact that the Indian constitution says that Sikhism is part of Hinduism. SO YOU KNOW, THERE’S THAT.

Indianconstitution

Look, I love watching B-wood movies. And I’m not trying to turn anyone off of them. I just feel like we need to be aware that they don’t portray minorities, like Sikhs and Muslim, well. I don’t think anyone should stop watching them. But when you do watch them, and you see that the only Sikh and Muslim characters are the rickshaw drivers or something like that, notice. Just notice. And if you want to stand up in the theater, declare the movie ethnicist or religionist, walk out, and hold a picket-sign protest, feel free. If you feel like sending a strongly worded email to Karan Johar about how, while you have marathons of his movies every rainy day, they are damaging the image of minorities in front of an international audience, be my guest. Or blog about it heatedly. Either one.

See you next time, hopefully engaged readers,

-M

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HELLO

Listen, it’s been a week. I’m sure it’s been some form of a week for you too. So let’s do something fun this post. Let’s just chat. No. Even Better. Let’s chaat.

File:Dahi Puri (cropped).JPG

Anyone? Anyone? (K DO ME A QUICK FAVOR AND PLS TYPE “ANYONE” AND SEE IF YOU SPELL IT “ANYWONE” BC I DID IT LIKE 5 TIMES.)

 

Speaking of chaat…I miss food in India. And I miss how often people eat in India. When we were there, skipping meals was totally out of the question. In fact it was more acceptable to have 2 dinners in one night than no dinner. And I’m a 2 dinner type of girl NOMSAYN.

 

 

Oooh has anyone seen Disco Singh?

 

 

 

 

 

For those who don’t know, its a Panjabi movie that was just released and it’s said to be REALLY good, as it has a super talented cast and crew. I can’t wait to watch it, but until then I will be patiently waiting. Here in America…in the Bible Belt. Yeah it might be a while.

 

OH YEAH AND ALSO

HAPPY VAISAKHI GURPURAB EVERYONE!

Vaisakhi is a festival marking the beginning of the harvest season in Northern areas of the Indian subcontinent, celebrated by many religions–

 

 

 

But for Sikhs it’s also a religious holiday, because on Vaisakhi of 1699, our tenth prophet, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, gave Sikhs their identity (uncut hair, karas, kirpans, etc.) and established the warrior-mentality that Sikhs would use to fight injustice and violations of human rights. Jusreign explains it pretty well–

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHvZeo057jc

 

ANYWAYS. Yeah. That’s about…all I got? Idk. Listen guys. I have a lot of stuff I want to post about. Like deep stuff you know. BUT I JUST DON’T KNOW. I DON’T KNOW HOW IT’S GON GO. But obviously I have to because the posts tend to be dull these days, because I’m not talking about what’s on my mind–which is always when the interesting posts happen. So okay. This is my promise to you. Next Monday, I’m going to talk about something big. Something that’s been irking me. I don’t know what it’ll be, but it’ll be good.

 

See you then?

-M 🙂

 

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AM I ACTUALLY INDIAN THO?

( I accidentally published this earlier in the day before it was finished, my B.)

Anyways, hey guys. I’ve been wondering. Am I actually “Indian?”

Because I think the answer is no.

Tom Hanks – Really?

 

Yes, Voice of Reason, really.

 

Well then you might have some revisions to make there, M.

 

Revisions? What do you mean revi-

 

 

 

indulging

Oh. Right. I’ll fix that. 

 

Also, what the heck, M?! What do you mean you’re not Indian??

 

It’s actually not as crazy as it sounds, I promise. I’ve just kind of realized that nothing about me is actually Indian. Let me explain myself in three nice and organized main points.

*AHEM*

REASON 1

Technically, I’m not Indian. Like, in technical ways. 

Think about it. My nationality is American, because I’m a citizen of the United States.

And my ethnicity is Panjabi.

listofmodernethnicgroups

So even technically, nothing about me is actually Indian. It’s not my nationality, and it’s not my ethnic group. It’s no one’s ethnic group, really. “Indian” is a nationality. Panjabis who live in India are Panjabi by ethnicity and Indian by nationality, Panjabis who live in Pakistan are Panjabi and Pakistani the same way, and Panjabis who live in the U.S are Panjabi and American. I’m a Panjabi-American.

So there’s that.

ALSO

  Reason 2:

Culture Confusion

I’ve always been friends with the brown kids in my school, most of them of ethnicity originating in India (see what I did there). And while I was always able to be pretty tight with them, and we’re always able to have a laugh, I noticed pretty early on that, whenever we talked about our cultures, there was always some confusion. They wouldn’t know what I meant when I said there’s a new bottle of Rooh Afza in my house. I wouldn’t know what they meant when they said they had a Bharata Natyam class to get too. I noticed my friends were able to connect over their cultures in a way I wasn’t. In fact, even after knowing some of them for a while, they would ask me if I was Indian, or, lol, just ask me what I was. Not in a rude way at all–they were sincerely unsure, because I didn’t do any of the “Indian” things that they did. There were occasions where they labeled parts of my culture, like Bhangra, as strictly Pakistani, and not Indian. Which is fine. I love Pakistan and I love that my grandparents were born in such a beautiful place. And it’s true, a lot of the traditions and customs my family is familiar with–like Rooh Afza, for example–are familiar to Pakistanis as well. But my friends saying this  just kind of showed how unfamiliar my Panjabi culture was to theirs, that they did not consider it Indian.

And they were kind of right. Panjabi culture is different from that of a lot of India. We speak a language specific to our region,we eat unique foods, we have different traditions, and most Panjabis in the world are either Muslim or Sikh, not Hindu, like the majority of India (even though there are some Hindu-Panjabis).

I know that India is pretty diverse, and many regions have traditions and cultures that are pretty unique. But there are a couple of factors that make Panjabi culture even more different, I think. For one thing, more than half of the Panjab region is in Pakistan.

File:Punjab region 2.png

This has allowed our culture to have some Pakistani influences, even for those of us who don’t live in Pakistan.

Additionally, because most Panjabis in India are of a different religion than the rest of India, religion has had a different influence on our culture. For example, Panjabis are famous for many meat dishes, including some with beef. Because Sikhism doesn’t ban meat, at least not as explicitly as Hinduism, Panjabis have developed a unique cuisine to reflect this.

 

 

And lastly,

 

Reason 3:

Politics and Stuff

India has always oppressed Panjabis, it’s just a fact. Sikhs and Panjabis have always fought valiantly for India, and they continue to do so today:

sikhsinmilitary

And yet, today, the Indian government channels over half of Panjab’s water supply to other parts of the country–an act which is prohibited in the Indian constitution.

Also, 30 years ago,  the Indian government attempted to wipe out the Sikh population of India, killing and displacing over 50,000 Sikhs and Panjabis.

India still denies visas to Sikh refugees who fled to different countries during the genocide 30 years ago, and to those who speak out against the government’s actions against Sikhs.

Additionally, over 73.5% of Panjab’s youth are drug addicts–not just users, but addicts. The Indian government has barely acknowledged this tragic and strange statistic, nonetheless done anything about it.

Not to mention Bollywood, India’s major movie industy, which almost never fails to portray both Sikhs and Panjabis as unintelligent, drunk, and irrational. (There are quite a few good articles on this, so the link is just to the google search. You can take your pick from there.)

There’s also the fact that Mahatma Gandhi, who is hailed as the Father of India, refused to acknowledge Sikhism as a religion.

As I learned about them, all of these unfortunate facts kind of made it harder and harder for me to identify as an Indian. And I’ve learned that this is actually not uncommon. Some Sikhs, particularly after the Sikh genocide,  find it hard to even identify as Panjabi, nonetheless Indian. And not just the crazy rebellious youths such as myself. 

 

So…with these three reasons, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not really Indian in any way. The last reason is kind of the kicker for me. Even if the first two reasons were still there, I might not have a problem calling myself Indian if it weren’t for the last reason, which is the lack of respect and fair treatment Panjabis and Sikhs get in India. I’m not trying be dramatic or anything here, really. Like, am I going to start correcting people when they call me Indian from now on? I don’t really know. I just know that this feels right. ” Panjabi-American” feels so right. It’s what I am, you know? I listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan while eating hot dogs. I go to Starbucks in my Patiala salwar kameezes. I’m a blend of these two cultures, and I think they’re really all I need to describe myself when it comes to the culture that has surrounded me my whole life.

Let me know your thoughts?

See you next week 🙂
-M

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MAKEUP TIPS FOR THE BROWN FOLK

Kind of a departure from the norm, but I thought I’d mix it up a little! South Asia is my biggest passion, but, fun fact about me, makeup is actually pretty high on the list too! I’ve learned most of what I know from Michelle Phan, but sometimes I find the things that work on her don’t work the same way on me, color-wise. I’ve also found that there are things that I LOVE doing that seem to work even better because of my color!  I share them wit u now. 

First of all, I want to make clear that there is a HUGE  range of skin tones desi people can have.

They can be dark and beautiful.

They can be light and beautiful.

And they can be anywhere in between. And beautiful.

Our skin can be darkest brown or whitest white. We can be born with black hair or blonde. Brown eyes or blue. Our physical features don’t define whether or not we’re brown. Trust me, I’ve seen everything I just listed on a brown person, naturally.

Okay, that kind of got off topic. But it’s just a pet peeve of mine when people are like “Oh, you don’t look Indian.” We don’t have to fit into some kind of mold to be classified as our ethnicities.

Okay sorry. Basically what I’m trying to get at here is that these tips might not work perfectly for ALL brown folk…but imma do my best! These are things that I’ve found have worked for me. And I would define my self as Sonam Kapoor-colored, in terms of skin, hair, and eyes:

If you’re Kareena-colored of Mindy-colored, you can still try them out, they could work for you too!

1) FILL IN YOUR EYEBROWS.

Okay. I have naturally thick eyebrows, and I don’t thread/wax/pluck them because of my religious beliefs. So I’m never in danger of having overly plucked eyebrows, but I’ve found that, just because they’re naturally thick, it doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from some filling in! I just make sure not to use something too dark to do so. I use something around this color:

And it just kind of fills in all the gaps! Some of my eyebrow idols include…

Olivia Culpo

Lily Collins

Kajol (obviously)

Lucy Hale

Lourdes Leon

And, of course, Brooke Shields. The Goddess of Eyebrows.

2) DARK LIPS

I was always under the impression that dark lips are a risky move. But once I actually tried it out for myself, I found that they’re actually pretty easy to pull off on my skin color. I soon realized that dark lips look amazing on pretty much every person of color.

(^^I think she’s technically white but still)

3) COLORED EYELINER/SHADOW

I’ve found it really pops! Especially turquoise!

4) WINGED LINER

We as brown people were made to rock winged liner.

And yeah! Man…I feel like I had more tips in mind when I was planning this post…which now escape me…I’m probably going to remember them all in a couple of days but I won’t be able to post them because I’ll be in India. Gosh dang it. Oh wait, okay I got it. I’ll just share them with you telepathically when I remember them. Keep your brainwaves loose.

Let me know if you have any tips, whatever your skin color is! 🙂

-M

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PREPARE YOURSELF

(I apologize for the probable abundance of grammar and spelling mistakes and overall rachetness of this post. It is late and I am terrible.)

T-minus 9 DAYS until your girl’s taking off! And while I’m going to have posts while I’m gone, they mighttttttttt be on the slightly shorter side. Maybe. I don’t really know. 

😀

BUT in case they are, fear not. Imma hook you guys up. The following are some of my FAVORITE online desi Youtubers, bloggers,  etc., that are always there to fill my heart with joy and brownness. So if you get lonely while I’m gone, maybe you can check them out! Everything is all linked up and stuff, for your clicking pleasure 🙂

*AND NO, I AM NOT JUST DOING THIS BECAUSE I DIDN’T PLAN A POST THIS WEEK. I DON’T CARE WHAT VOICE OF REASON TOLD YOU…*

1) JUSREIGN

Okay if you’re Punjabi, you probably already know him. But if you’re not, or if you are and you haven’t checked him out, do so! He’s a hilarious Youtuber who constantly holds it down for the Punjabi/Sikh communtiy. His vlog channel is great as well. 

2) SUPERWOMAN

Again, I feel silly introducing her, because she’s so well known already. Another great youtuber, also holding it down. Plus she got that girlllll power! Oh, and she has a vlog channel too!

3) BROWNGIRLBLOGGIN

A Brief Anecdote:

For a long time I read her blog (and loved it every time I did) in silence. Then one day I finally plucked up the courage to comment, and I linked her here as well. I was kind of like OMG WHAT DID YOU JUST DO THAT FOR SHE’S GOING TO COME HERE NOW AND READ THE BLOG AND LAUGH AT ITS WEAKNESS AND MY NAIVETY. OR WORSE, SHE WON’T. But I was wrong. She came to the blog and commented, and even tweeted me, and it was the greatest thing.  :)))

ANYWAYS. BGB is a hilarious blogger. Definitely go check out her stuff, and bring a box off tissues, because you will laugh so hard you WILL cry. Also, sometimes you will cry actual emotional tears. Because it gets deep sometimes. 

4) BOLLYWOOD RECAPS

bollywoodrecaps

I think I told you guys about this blog before. It’s genius. The name kind of explains it all: it’s got a bunch of recaps of your fave Bollywood movies, done in a hilarious way. It’s even enjoyable if you haven’t seen the movies!

 

5) HUMANS OF KARACHI

Source: Humans of Karachi

Basically, this is part of a project that photographs average citizens of various cities across the world. In my search for South Asian cities in the project, Karachi, Pakistan, is the only one I’ve really come across so far. It’s soooo interesting and beautiful. You get a picture of a person, and, if you’re lucky, a bit of his/her story. One of my favorite things about Humans of Karachi is that it shows people from all walks of life. There are even some Sikhs and Hindus photographed!

6) KAURISTA

kaurista

Another one you might know already, but it’s awesome nonetheless. Kaurista has kind of a polished blog/online magazine vibe, and it discusses issues brown people often face and whatnot. 

7) AYESHA AROUND THE WORLD

travelblog

One of my Punjabi sisters BRUUUUUUUAH friends traveled a bunch of places in Europe this past summer and blogged about it! Okay this isn’t really desi…but she’s desi! Also, she went to Turkey, so almost desi? Yes? The Turkey posts were my fave 🙂

Okay, and last but not least…

8) Zayn Malik

The ultimate desi.

No but all jokes aside, HE WORE. AN UCHKIN. GUYS. ZAYN WORE AN UCHKIN THIS PAST WEEK AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL. I KIND OF…SCREENSHOTTED IT…AND…EDITED IT…AND I MADE IT LOOK REALLY NICE, BUT MY PHONE IS IN THE CAR AND IT’S COLD OUTSIDE AND IT’S OUT OF BATTERY SO I CAN’T SHOW YOU. BUT I WILL SHOW YOU SOON. IT’S BEAUTIFUL. 

Ahem….I’m sorry, I got a little dizzy there, my bad.

M, what are you talking about?

I don’t know voice of reason. I feel like I totally just blacked out!

M…did you take your pills today?

What pills?

…*whispers* your fangirl pills!

OH! Oh gosh, I didn’t. Wait…did I just…fangirl?

…mhmm.

In front of them???

It’s okay, M. It’s okay. 

I’m sorry guys. I’ve been meaning to get my little…err…problem under control. But it doesn’t seem to be working. 

Have a great week! 🙂

-M

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THESE ARE THINGS I’M PLANNING ON DOING WHEN I GO TO INDIA

And imma need those of you who have been to India to tell me whether or not these are terrible, terrible ideas. 

1) Speak Punjabi.

Like okay. My Punjabi isn’t the best, right? I mean I can have a conversation…but every now and then I….I say something in Spanish, okay? Idk why! It’s like I think brains store 2nd languages in the same compartment or something and therefore get them confused sometimes. I’ll be like “Oh Mummi, bohot frio hai aaj.” And so I’m afraid that when I’m trying to seem like a born-and-raised Indian in shops and stuff, I’ll be haggling, and start saying prices in Spanish. If nothing else, I will confuse the poor shopkeeper, if not give away my Amreekan-ness. But I don’t want to speak in English! I want to blendddddd. BLENNDDDDDD. 

 

2) Bump into my soulmate and have a song-sequence. 

soulmate

soulmatesoulmate3 soulmate4 soulmate5

 

This one is not up for debate, please proceed to number 3. 

 

3) Wear only salwar kameezes. 

 

salwar5

I’m going to be there in the winter, so it’s not like I’m going to be hot (North India gets pretty cold in the winter. In fact, in Kashmir, it gets sooo cold that they have these self-heater situations that are like baskets with burning coals in them.

Source: Tribune Pakistan

They wear them under their shirts, I think. Dangerous? Maybe. Effective? Fo sho. 

). And I do get that a lot of kids my age in India wear jeans and t-shirts, so it’s not so much of a fitting in thing. But I’m finding that, out of everything, salwar kameezes, particularly Patiala salwars, are what I’m most comfortable in and feel the best in. I’ve been thinking about trying to make them my regular attire, so what better place to start than India?

4) Visit Wagah Border.

 

Wagah Border is one of the borders between India and Pakistan. At the end of each day there’s a border closing ceremony (you can read more about it HERE), and so there’s that. But the main reason I would want to go to Wagah would be to see Pakistan, even if it’s just a glimpse. As some of you may know, so much of my family history took place on the land that is now Pakistan, from Punjab to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pakistan is the playgrounds my grandparents played on. It’s where they took their first steps, and spoke their first words. Pakistan is the homes and friends they left behind. I’m so thrilled to be able to see India this winter, but Pakistan is just as important to me. Hopefully one day I can visit there too, but for now, it would be amazing to just see it. (Speaking of Pakistan, have you guys seen this video? #tears

)

 

Speaking of tears…

5) Visit the Taj Mahal and not leave until I start crying from it’s beauty. 

Which shouldn’t take long. 

 

6) Go to Hamandar Sahib and…explore 😀

Listen. Obviously Harmandar Sahib is beautiful, right? But for some reason, I never even thought about the upper floor(s?) until recently. It’s like, there’s more?! WHAT’S IT LIKE UP THERE? IS IT GOLD? IS IT PEACEFUL AND GOLD?

Look at this girl! She made it to the upper floor!

golden temple inside carvings 466x700

Source: travelinda123

It looks gold and peaceful. 

A week or two ago I had yet another dream I was in Amritsar and I was in Harmandar Sahib and I went to the upper floor and it was comprised of a bunch of pink girly bedrooms like what even.

 

So is this a thing? Can people go to the upper floors in the Golden Temple? Also, will we be able to sit and listen to kirtan, or is it more like a quick in-and-out thing? Idek. 

 

 

Okay, so there they are. These are the things I want to do. What do you think? Good? Bad? Completely impossible? TELL ME. TELL ME SO I KNOW. 

 

I hope you have an AWESOME week! Remember that you are da bomb. You are Kanye West. 

M

 

 

 

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When brown people see each other in public…

…it goes one of three ways.

Scenario 1: STARE LIKE YOU JUST DON’T CARE

and i was just like--

and i was just like–

girl she did not sa--

girl she did not sa–

staring1

Wait…Is that…

staring5

…a brown person??

staring2

staring4

staring3

staring6

*20 minutes later*

staring2

staring5

but if one of you tries to wave? or acknowledge the other one in any way?

staring11

coverblown1

WTH?? She’s actually acknowledging me?!?! ABORT. ABORT.

coverblown2

SO ANYWAYS GUYS HAHAHA.

SCENARIO 2:

Ignore like there’s no tomorrow. (Usually happens among the younger crowd.)

ignore1

Desi. 12 o’clock. Don’t make eye contact. I repeat. Don’t. Make. Eye contact.

ignore2

Oh god. Time to get my ignore on.

ignore3

ignore4

ignore8

ignore5

go away plz man

Aaaand finally…

Scenario 3:

Notice the other brown person, smile at them, maybe wave, and be on your way. 

Uhh..M?

Uhh..M?

…Pssst! Hrithik!! That was your cue, man!

I’m sorry M, but I still don’t understand this scenario? Acknowledge the other desi? Wave??

Oh my God. Hrithik. Just like we practiced, ok? Shahrukh will help you out, right Shahrukh?

Of...of course..

Of…of course..

Okay, great! Let’s try this again!

Scenario 3:

Acknowledge the person, and smile and wave to him/her!

hrithik22

good…

hrithik23

okay…

hrithik28

come on guys come on you can do this!

hrithik25

M! I can’t do this! 

hrithik24

I’ll be in my trailer.

hrithik26

I’m sorry.

hrithik29

ME TOO. HRITHIK OUT.


hrithik30

GUYS! GUYS COME BACK.

…Ok. Well…this is just awkward…

REALLY THOUGH. HAS ANYONE ELSE NOTICED THIS? WHY. WHY DO WE DO THESE THINGS. I’VE DONE IT. YOU’VE PROBABLY DONE IT. ALWAYS SCENARIOS 1 OR 2. NEVER 3. WHY??

If you’re a brown person! I challenge you! Next time you see a fellow brownie who you don’t know personally, try scenario 3! And I have a feeling this might go for other…groups? of people as well. Like, I don’t know, if you’re a blogger. And you see someone else who you know is a blogger but you don’t really know him or her. I have a feeling this would trigger scenario 1 or 2. I just have a feeling. Like the peas did.

So you try it out too, ok?!

Okay. I have an offended Shahrukh and a distraught Hrithik I need to take care of.

SEE YOU GUYS IN A WEEK. MAKE IT A GREAT ONE! SMILE LOTS! : ))))

-M

PS SORRY IF THIS WAS WEIRD, I DID IT IN LIKE .2 SECONDS I’M SORRY D:

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French-Sikhs, it’s Turban Time.

Update: 2/22/13–  It is true that the U.N has declared the turban ban to be a violation of rights, but France has not officially lifted the ban. There is an upsurge in protests against the ban, and the Prime Minister of India– who is a Sikh– has recently made a statement regarding it. You can read more about this HERE for the Prime Minister’s statement and HERE for information on the recent protest.

 

 

SO this week something awesome and long overdue happened over in France.

At the same time, something awesome happened in the U.S– a blogger just typed “France” and then realized that she has left-over french fries waiting for her.

WAIT RIGHT HERE.

Okay, so as I was saying, in 2004, the French Government banned certain head-wear in public schools, which included turbans worn by Sikh men and women, as well as children, considering them “conspicuous.”

People protested this ban all around the world, but to no avail. In fact, you could say that the French government sort of got on a role, because in 2010 they also banned the burqa and niqab, which look like this:

These are banned everywhere in France, not just in public schools.

Well, let’s hear it for oppressing peoples’ culture!

THIS IS STILL A POST ABOUT THE TURBAN BAN I PROMISE! But the thing that got me about the burqa and niqab ban is that this law might be helpful in some countries where many women are forced to wear a burqa or niqab, because it would allow women to tell their oppressors “I can’t wear it, it’s against the law.” But…this is in France. Technically though, this ban was part of a law banning all face coverings, including some helmets and stuff, but people who speak out in support of the ban say that burqas and niqabs oppress women. ( So that I don’t get on a tangent about this, you can check out my post on the oppression of women HERE if you would like) But really anytime you force a person to do something, you’re oppressing them. So couldn’t they just have banned people from forcing women to wear burqas and niqabs? Sigh. This law is still in effect.

ANYWAYS back to turbans. After it was passed, students began getting expelled from school for not removing their turbans. And big ups to those kids by the way– in a post-9/11 world, it’s hard enough going out with a Sikh identity. Not only did these kids have to defend themselves everyday around their peers, but from the law as well.

One of the parents of a boy who refused to remove his turban opened the Shere Punjab private school, welcoming students who wore turbans.

Maybe I should explain why turbans are such a big deal for Sikhs. Basically, during the time of our Gurus, or the founders of our religion, people who were minorities were often killed, and Sikhs have always been minorities. It was a scary, messed up time. But Guru Gobind Singh Ji, our 10th leader, told Sikhs not to hide. In fact he told them to wear their identity proud so that everyone knew they were Sikhs and that they weren’t afraid to show it. So Sikhs grew out their hair, put on karas, or silver bracelets, and donned turbans. This became the Sikh identity. Sikhs risked their lives to show their devotion. And so today, wearing our identity is so important because those are our ancestors. I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching here–and by no means am I saying that you have to wear a turban to be a Sikh. These are simply some reasons why Sikhs may choose to do so.

Anyways, another thing about this law– in a press release, it was said that the law was partially enacted to protect the safety of Sikh students. I definitely see where they’re coming from here, because as Sikhs, we get bullied for our identity all the time. But then shouldn’t they outlaw bullying instead? It’s like when people say its a woman’s fault for getting raped because she wears dresses, when really it’s the rapist’s fault. So this month, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that France did not have a valid reason for the law, and that the ban infringed upon a Sikh’s right to manifest his/her religion, as stated in this press release issued by United Sikhs: http://unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-14-12-2012-01.html

This ban had no place in the 21st century, and I’m glad to see it gone. I have a little cousin named Arik who lives in Paris. His parents don’t wear turbans, and neither does he. But it’s good to know that if one day he wants to, he can. Congratulations Arik, and to all my French-Sikh brothers and sisters, and to everyone who didn’t support the ban in the first place. For the French ladies who are waiting to put their burqas and niqabs back on, maybe this is a step towards your freedom as well. I definitely hope so, and I hope that day comes soon 🙂

And with that, I’m off. I hope you have an awesome holiday, whether it be Christmas, Hannukah, Quanza, or just that awkward day when the whole world is celebrating something and you’re not. If you’re that last one, I feel you bro. You can come to my house on Christmas–we’ll drink cha and watch the sunrise.

-M

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