Thursday, 23 July 2015

Who is Representing You as a Panjabi Sikh?

It really boggles my how many "cultural experts", self proclaimed "legends" and wannabe "media" people represent the culture yet have very little knowledge of the roots here in Vancity. What is there to expect going forward? How do we handle cultural diversity? Racism? The role of the Gurdwara for Gen Z? The dialogue is weak, without any substance yet most of us Apnay go to these "experts" for advice and salvation. My kids are learning more about the culture through Jus Reign who's based out of Toronto than anybody here in our city. The brushing shit under the carpet and worrying about when it happens mentality really needs to stop.

So let's get something straight from the start.  I'm not claiming to be a expert on our culture nor am I a devoted Sikh.   However, through my journeys as a Panjabi munda, hailing from Generation X, I've had many personal accounts of cultural diversity living in Canada and the UK.  Whether it was dealing with racism to running my own Panjabi music podcast.  I'm a pro-supporter for cultural growth, whether that means we should embrace technology or look at our values and principles to see if they make sense in 2015.

I read somewhere recently that a best actress award in a movie for some Panjabi awards show had only two nominees.  Seriously, just two? On an arts level we really need to pick up steam.  I can vouch for the singing community that we have plenty of them, but where are the directors, actors, screenwriters, publishers? I personally feel there's a massive void in the Panjabi arts sector of our culture outside of India. Is that because to your family being a DJ is a faux-pa? Perhaps it's an embarrassment to your family if you want to be model or actor.  Believe it or not these issues, culturally, are still here today as Panjabi Sikhs.  Are the people on your media stations the ones you want to represent you and your culture? Think about it seriously! My answer is NO based on where I live.  If you think it's Ok for a 50+ year old to talk and represent on your behalf of your culture and your 40 and under then we have some serious issues.  That's a decade more of inconsistency and cultural differences.  There's a reason why my kids adore Jus Reign and can't stop watching Lily Singh yet get livid when I put on Gaunda Punjab TV or something similar.  Relevance is the key to a striving and evolving culture.

I agree there are roots and guiding principles that give us our DNA as Sikhs.  Those should be respected and never forgotten.  In my humble opinion, our beloved Gurdwaras need to do some major PR and re-branding work to stay relevant with generation Y and Z.  What role should they play? What impact will they have on our kids in 15 years? Sikhi is Sikhi but it has to evolve and grow just like other great cultures.  Between every Guru that has passed there had to have been an evolution of Sikhi.  It logically must make sense because all of our Gurus must have had their own interpretation of Sikhi.  Again I'm not questioning our Guru's, what they taught us or what the messages are.  My point is the message delivery system has changed dramatically in the last 10 years and I don't believe our Gurdwaras have adopted a plan to rectify that nor do they realize what might happen 10 years from now.  Preparation is important before they become irrelevant. 

Zero rant here but something to think about; this is definitely podcast material though!

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