American Turban

Prelude to a new project

This blog is now just over six years old.

I started this blog in October 2010. I had just become an American citizen and being moved by the experience of the citizenship ceremony, I was compelled to express the enthusiasm I felt in adopting this new national identity alongside hundreds of others, but even more so, I wanted to openly reconcile this national identity with my religious one. I wanted to demonstrate that despite our different appearance as followers of the Sikh faith, we have a legitimate claim to American citizenship and all the rights therein. Weeks after my ceremony, I wrote my first post on this blog about how I felt and what I wanted to say to both the Sikh and non-Sikh American around the alignment between what it means to be a Sikh and what it means to be an American.

Over these six years, as I had documented and discussed American Sikh issues and events, some infrequent writing cadence in latter years allowed me the opportunity to implicitly reflect on this question. And, as I scroll through this blog today, I observe the development of my own sense of what it means to be a Sikh and what it also means to be an American — as self-assured as I was on this topic in 2010, I see that the last six years have really been a journey on both the spiritual and political paths. I find that where I am today is a different place than where I began in 2010. As much as anything, this blog has unintentionally been a transcript of my own education about my faith and place in this country and the world.

Today, as many of us consider our current social and political environment, the time seems appropriate to rededicate myself to this blog, but also to continue this project in novel ways. As I explore new platforms in the coming year, I hope this also allows different ways to learn, consider, discuss and develop.

As a prelude to the next chapter, I feel it appropriate to share once again a 2012 StoryCorps recording of my father and me discussing our experiences as Sikhs in the west — he as a new immigrant and me as a child growing up. We recorded the interview in April of 2012, and it was broadcasted by NPR the following August, just days after the mass murder of six Sikhs at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek by a white supremacist. Listening to the interview, it strikes me that it is just as relevant today as it was four years ago. Perhaps things haven’t changed in many ways.

But, six years is a long time in the internet/social media world and expression has itself undergone a transformation in medium and content. Perhaps our current times provides for the opportunity for more dynamic and engaging conversations with each other about the Sikh faith and the American identity. Starting next week, I will seek to engage with interesting people on these conversations and share them here.

Stay tuned.

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