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The first novel written in Punjabi has been adapted into an animated film!

If this is the musical score then the movie is sure to rock.

Published in 1898 Bhai Vir Singh’s Sundri (or Sundari) was written with the aim of “boosting the morale of the Sikhs [of their own history and cultural heritage] after the downfall and subsequent annexation of the kingdom of Punjab.” Written with a literary rhythm and flow I could only hope to emulate, Bhai Vir Singh paints Sundri as a heroine who embodies the Khalsa virtues of discipline, courage and compassion through her strength as a woman and her fighting and equestrian spirit.

Read the short story for yourself.The movie is to be released in May and June 2008 in different cities across North America.

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Ensaaf and Human Rights Watch released a damning joint report against the Indian government titled “Protecting the Killers: A Policy of Impunity in Punjab, India” along with a slideshow and video testimonials.

Lots of links to click on above, but definitely worth taking a look at each carefully.

As much as I love my Armenian brothers in System of a Down (SOAD), please don’t think like me and conjure up images of rock stars when you hear the word Armenian. Rather, I’d like you to consider this: Interesting how Armenians have creatively switched gears from directly confronting their Turkish-government-in-denial to instead lobbying their US Congressman to declare that the Ottoman Empire authorized and committed genocide against their ancestors. Yes, it may have taken twenty years for Armenian-Americans to get the attention of their legislators and draft a bill. And yes, the chances of the bill being passed by the House are slim to none in our current geopolitical climate. Yet our community may want to take note of this as an example of how powerful we can be if we organized ourselves as one voice with specific and unified goals and employed our collective votes and lobby machines in the same manner. And we shouldn’t forget the role of rock stars: the guys in SOAD have held demonstrations in Washington, D.C. to fight for recognition of their history. Perhaps a Sikh band similar to SOAD could get together to remind people of our “forgotten” history as well.

What can you do right now to be part of the movement? If you’re downright lazy, register to vote. Have a bit more energy? Register to vote and join a rock band.

The wonderful folks at SALDEF developed and recently released a video designed to help law-enforcement agencies become familiar with Sikh customs and principles. It illustrates various scenarios in which law-enforcement personnel may interact with Sikhs (i.e., Mr. Awesome Kirpan Wielding Sikh awaiting assistance for his crappy Jeep’s flat tire, Mr. Sharp Looking Off-Duty Sheriff Sikh photographing Famous Government Structure, Mr. Regular Dude Sikh walking through security at an airport) and also addresses the proper etiquette to be observed when handling an article of faith or entering a gurudwara.

The video highlights both the Sikh community’s desire to correct public misperceptions and the welcoming attitude of government agencies in furthering cultural competency within their ranks. Hopefully, this video will prevent future mishaps and misunderstandings by maintaining free-flowing dialogue between both groups.

I have to admit that this video also serves some selfish purposes because of its general applicability: I think I may show it to anyone who asks me “so tell me about Sikhs.” And the SALDEF folks will get a little plug as well. Superb.