Fighting for a Voice in N.Y.

May 5, 2007


Source: The Star

THERE was a spring in their steps as they marched around midtown Manhattan to mark Vasakhi, the Sikh New Year. It wasn’t a boisterous affair but echoes of “I’m Sikh and I’m proud of it” was almost unmistakable.

Men in turban and women wearing the dastar (head cover) lined the streets to watch last Saturday’s parade.

Bhangra beat: New York is home to 50,000 Sikhs who are beginning to drum up awareness of their cultural identity and practices.

“This is a proud day for me,” said computer engineer Iqbal Singh Grewal as he munched on prashad, a cocktail of nuts and sweets that was handed out during the procession.

Prashad is usually given out at the end of a religious service; the person receiving it symbolises his acceptance of the teachings of that day.

New York is home to an estimated 50,000 Sikhs, mostly stereotyped as taxi drivers and convenience store owners. Many of the newer immigrants these days start out at construction sites.