American Sikhs Live in Two Worlds While Studying at Miri Piri Academy

April 22, 2006

Source: Namaste: A Journey Through Spiritual India

On April 22, 2006 Namaste: A Journey Through Spiritual India reported, "At the Miri Piri Academy in Chhertha Sahib, outside Amritsar, India, the students faces look American, they speak in American English, and many of them have all the trappings of American youth: iPods, cell phones and reggaeton ringtones, but nobody could mistake these kids for the average American student. Neither could they be mistaken for the Indians among whom they live, pray and serve. Their white turbans are tied more elaborately, their robes are longer and their symbolic swords, kirpans, are bigger and less, well, symbolic. Located on 17 acres in a village in the Indian state of Punjab, Miri Piri Academy is a school for the children of Western, mostly white, Sikhs who are followers of Yogi Bhajan, an Indian Sikh who brought the faith to the west in the late 1960s. They are often called 'American Sikhs,' but the group bristles at the distinction, asserting that Sikhism in the East and Sikhism in the West are one and the same and there is no such thing as an 'American' version. Nevertheless, the school’s students are mostly the children of Americans who converted to the faith in the 1970s, often after becoming practitioners of Kundalini Yoga and eventually studying under Bhajan."

See also: Sikhism, Schools