Connect with us

Arts & Culture

U.S. Sikhs tap Clinton Strategist in Rebranding Effort

Published

on

(Diya TV) — Sandy Dhaliwal grew up in the rural Midwest, and as a Sikh living in Wisconsin, she remembers first-hand accounts of how her closest friends would play with her long hair, dress up and borrow her elaborate garments from annual trips to India, and the vivid images of airline passengers yanking off her fathers turban while calling him a terrorist.

It was quite the contrast.

“People embraced me,” Dhaliwal, 24, said, “Then, on the other side, my brother and dad — all the men in my family — wore a turban. They weren’t really treated as being unique the same way I was.”

According to a 2012 report from the Pew Research Center, there were 200,000 Sikhs, or six percent of the American population, living in the country. That report was conducted shortly after an attack during the same year on a Wisconsin Sikh temple, which killed six, and injured four.

Leaders of the U.S. Sikh community say these types of events, involving verbal and physical attacks, are all too common in their daily lives, and are entirely fueled by the misconceptions Americans’ minds are filled with about those who follow the faith. In an effort to combat misinterpretations, Dhaliwal and other Sikhs launched the National Sikh Campaign in March. Last month, the campaign tapped the services of ex-Hillary Clinton political strategist Geoffrey Garin.

Garin served on Clinton’s 2008 Presidential campaign, and Priorities USA, the Super PAC which backed President Obama’s 2012 successful reelection bid. With Garin now at the helm, the group plans to employ a grassroots strategical social media campaign, with the ultimate goal of highlighting Sikhs’ contributions to society and counter negative perceptions.

“The purpose of the campaign is to give other Americans a better understanding of who Sikh Americans are and what makes them valued members of the American community,” Garin said. “Most importantly, what are the insights about Sikh Americans that are most important to communicate?”

Gurwin Ahuja, executive director for the National Sikh Campaign, spoke at its launch party on March 1. (Photo courtesy of the National Sikh Campaign)

Gurwin Ahuja, executive director for the National Sikh Campaign, spoke at its launch party on March 1. (Photo courtesy of the National Sikh Campaign)

Garin has already undertaken research of his own on the subject, which he says is a “work in progress,” delves into what Americans actually understand about the Sikh community, and how they react to seeing a man on the street with a beard and wearing a turban. Garin currently serves as president of Hart Research in Washington D.C., and said his team will compile a series of facts, stories, and images about Sikhs to relay a comprehensive message to the American public.

Of the most important, Garin seeks to identify common interests between American and Sikh communities; values such as community, service, and diversity are all messages which can be sent to the populous in an effort to dissolve the faith’s “image and message problem,” said National Sikh Campaign executive director Gurwin Ahuja. For now, organizers like Dhaliwal are relying on word of mouth to get the message out.

“What Sikhs actually believe and what people attack are two different things,” Ahuja said.

The issue became mainstream news during last year’s holiday season—in December, a Gap fashion ad in a New York City subway station featuring an Indian American was vandalized with hate speech. Similar movements of religious right have occurred in the recent past—in 2011, the “I’m a Mormon” campaign was launched in New York, and has caught wind throughout the world. Through a series of online images and videos, Mormons showcased believers from diverse backgrounds to contradict societal stereotypes.

Sikhism, a monotheistic religion, was founded in the late 15th century by Hindu-born Guru Nanak in Punjab, a region now split between India and Pakistan. Most prominent in India, Sikhism is often identified globally as the fifth largest religion, behind Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Arts

Promising to be the film fest for “woke desis”, NYC SAFF to debut this November

Published

on

NYCSAFF Film Line-up

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Promising to be the fest for “contemporary, aware, woke desis”, NYC SAFF is set to make its debut this fall at the Altman building in New York City. After the roaring success of the 5th annual Dallas-Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival (DFW SAFF), JINGO Media presents its second film festival in the United States, the New York City South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF), gearing up to make its debut in mid-November at various venues around Chelsea in Manhattan. The first ever New York South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF) opens with a collection of gut-punches, knee slappers, and laughing gags. Running over 3 days, be sure to bring out your inner cinephile.

Opening the fest is Rohit Karn Batra’s directorial debut Line of Descent a white-knuckled cop thriller starring Brendan Fraser, and Abhay Deol. The story follows a mafia family dispute caught in the crosshairs of a police officer who guides their tragic downfall, and an arms dealer with a spy on the inside. The centerpiece film is the painstakingly painted ‘Bollywood Rose‘ based on true events, it tells the story of a forbidden love in a ruthless city. ‘Kaamyaab‘ which as recently screened at the the Chicago South Asian Film Festival(CSAFF) makes its way into NYC SAFF followed by other festival favorites like Ephemera, Khejdi, and Agency bolstering an already stellar line up. Expect to meet indie stars Tannishtha Chatterjee & Nawazuddin Siddiqui at the closing night film, Roam Rome Mein, a story that follows Reena who has run away to Italy in order to escape her overly strict parents, however, her brother, Raj in the turmoils of his own awakening sets out on a journey to find her.

The short film selection features Eliezer Vergaras ‘Fractured Souls‘; a baffling self revelation that unfolds as one mans frustration leads him into cascading tragedies. Vick Krishnas ‘Freak‘, a father must cope with unexpected news on his daughters surprise birthday. The feature lineup has a cup for everyone be it feature, documentary, fiction, or nonfiction. ‘Namdev Bhau‘ a man so flustered by the noise of Delhi vows to not speak and undertakes a pilgrimage of silence until a young boy decides to tag along. The disturbing Mai Ghat’ is based on the true story of two police officers who wrongly arrest a boy and tortured him to death. Its a powerhouse film exploring the violent act putting to question our personal and social conscience. It wouldn’t be a proper a film festival without films that challenge us and make us question ourselves.

Discussing topics that are too often swept under the rug like LGBT, womens rights and the societal oppression.The Last Letter‘ follows Mohan, a 70-year old gay man who has remained in the closet, that is, until the comfort he built for himself comes tumbling down. The Unexpected tells the story of a woman who despite achieving everything in life cannot conceive a child. Through its range of films, NYCSAFF aims to challenge, entertain, inspire and enrich.

Presented by Toyota and produced by JINGO Media, a NYC and Dallas-based events and public relations company, the inaugural, three-day festival boasts world, U.S. and New York City premieres of more than 25 shorts, documentaries and feature films focused on the unique stories of the South Asian Diaspora and those of our brothers and sisters back home. JINGO Media is also the parent company of DFW SAFF, which was conceptualized and created in 2015. 

“We are so proud to create yet another platform for world-class independent cinema from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives,” said Jitin Hingorani, CEO/Principal of JINGO Media, a public relations company that launched in New York City in 2010. “We’re coming full circle with this festival because Manhattan is where it all began for us almost 10 years ago. We are certain that the community-at-large will embrace us and celebrate our joyous homecoming.” 

NYC SAFF has also partnered with The India Center Foundation (ICF), a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the Indian subcontinent, the promotion of its cultural life and the unique relationship between India and the United States. “To partner with NYC SAFF means that ICF is reaching the audience we wish to serve: contemporary, aware, woke desis and lovers of Indian and Diasporic creativity and storytelling. As a filmmaker whose film was so lovingly received at DFW SAFF, I know we are working with a staff who is dedicated and eager to give New Yorkers the film experience they deserve when it comes to screening South Asian cinema. We are looking forward to partnering on great conversations and panels around the films we see together,” said Priya Giri Desai, Founding Director of ICF.

Complete with an opening night red carpet , a curated set of film screenings and a closing night after party, this New York debut of an indie fest, is looking to leave you bruised with heartache, emotional bliss and a belly full of laughter, gasping for more. The first ever New York South Asian Film Festival promises one for the books!

It all goes down from November 15th though the 17th at The Altman Building. With the film screenings occurring throughout the weekend at AMC 34th street 14.

Diya TV is a proud media partner for the event, and will be onsite covering the fest. For tickets and information: https://www.nycsaff.com/tickets

Continue Reading

Arts

Indian Ambassador, Shringla speaks to U.S. Congress about Kashmir

Published

on

AMB. Shringla speaks to congress about Kashmir | Diya TV News

WASHINGTON (Diya TV)  — Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Shringla met with members of Congress at a private roundtable briefing, hosted by Southern California Congressman Brad Sherman. Sherman, who has been a supporter of India, took to Twitter recently to share his concerns about Kashmir and said serious questions about Kashmir were asked at the briefing.

President Trump is being urged to fix the H1-B visa process and do away with country-specific limits, with the latest effort for reform being spearheaded by 60 U.S. business school deans and CEO’s.

In an earthquake, seconds matter. So on the anniversary of the deadly 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked Northern California, state officials announced the launch of America’s first statewide earthquake early warning system.

Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain will be coming to Boston next month to perform at the Berklee India Exchange, where he will also be conferred with an honorary doctorate by the esteemed music school. A Zakir Hussain Scholarship at Berklee is also being established.

And we have incredible video of three kids from India rescuing their dog from a snake that’s equal parts courageous and nuts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Basketball

Gandhi 150th birth anniversary noted around the world

Published

on

Birth Anniversary

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) —  Celebrations for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary have been ongoing for the past year, but culminated with a ceremony in New Delhi featuring Prime Minister Modi and another in Washington at the Library of Congress. And France’s government worked with the Indian Embassy there to issue a stamp in honor of his birth anniversary.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal are meeting this week to continue the US-India discussion on trade and investment.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb came to New Delhi to strengthen ties between the Hoosier State and India. Infosys has already made a large commitment there. Holcomb is part of a large delegation of Americans now heading Mumbai to take in the first-ever NBA preseason games in India featuring the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings.

Bollywood turned Hollywood actor Anupam Kher came to the Bay Area to keynote the Akshay Patra annual fundraising gala that helps feed children in India a hot meal during the school year.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

Continue Reading

Trending

Diya TV , Inc. © 2017 All Rights Reserved