Seeking a Place for Sikhs On Campus

October 26, 2009

Author: Gretchen Hoffmann

Source: The Daily Princetonian

Earlier this fall, Kanwal Matharu ’13 was on his way to class when he recognized the defining garb of a fellow Sikh as he passed by Karambir Khangoora ’10. “I saw [Khangoora] with his turban, and I literally ran up to him and said, ‘Hi, my name is Kanwal, and I’m a Sikh. Do you know where the nearest gurdwara [temple] is?’ ”

Though Matharu and Khangoora found each other by chance, the few Sikhs at Princeton rarely have opportunities to meet with each other, since there is no formal forum for Sikhs at the University. But Khangoora is working to change that. He is currently trying to launch a group on campus to help Sikhs connect and to increase awareness of Sikhism on campus.

“In terms of incoming Sikhs, they don’t really know where to turn,” Khangoora said, adding that he and some other Sikhs had been trying to start a group for the past few years. He said that, to his knowledge, there are only four or five Sikh students on campus, and he hopes the group will not only provide an outlet for them, but will also serve to educate the University community as a whole.

Though the group is still in its early stages, tentative plans include carpools to nearby gurdwaras and an open forum for all students to ask questions and find out more about Sikhism. Another event that was proposed is a “Turban-Tying Day” to “teach other students how to tie a turban and show them what it feels like,” Khangoora said.