DASTAAR – Defending Sikh Identity

Have You Seen the Sikh PBS Aired Documentary? Video Deemed a “Must See Video” for All Sikhs
(New York, New York) August 24, 2006 – Kevin Lee’s documentary, Dastaar: Defending Sikh Identity, will air today, August 24, 2006 on PBS Channel 13 at 10:00 p.m. in the New York Metropolitan area. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people will view the documentary as a result.

In case you haven’t seen the video already, you can watch it below.

"This video presents the struggle of the Sikh American community against discrimination and violence caused by ignorance of an essential symbol of the Sikh faith — the dastaar , or turban.

The documentary begins by observing the simple, quiet act of putting on the dastaar, a daily ritual imbued with the Sikh values of honor, discipline and faith. The solemnity of this ritual contrasts with recent incidents of violence and discrimination against Sikhs due to the wearing of the dastaar , which all Sikh men are required to wear at all times in public. Such incidents include the vicious attack on Gurcharan Singh and Rajinder Singh Khalsa by five men after being accused of being terrorists, two NYPD officers who left the force after refusing the order to remove their dastaars while on duty, and a subway operator who wore his dastaar for 20 years until being recently ordered to remove his dastaar.

Even though Sikhs have no relationship with the terrorist networks of the Middle East, they are often mistaken as terrorists due to their wearing turbans. The film explores how images in the media fuel the association of the turban with terrorism, leading to the widespread discrimination against Sikhs. The film also shows the efforts made by the Sikh community to counter this discrimination through a combination of community activism, legal action, legislation and education. "

Description and video from: http://www.warriorsaintsfilm.com/

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12 Responses to “DASTAAR – Defending Sikh Identity”

  1. sbk says:

    Excellent Video!! Thank you!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very nice documentary. I beleive this was just a trailer. I will buy this documentary’s dvd.

  3. Gurpreet says:

    Truly amazing documentry. Thanx for sharing it.

  4. Gurkirpal says:


  5. Yankee Singh says:

    I must say, life was a lot easier in brooklyn before 9/11.

    This documentary and other projects like this will surely help the sikh community in NY and the other states, to be not referred to as Arab Terrorists, and hopefully help minimise any racial attacks.

  6. Antonia D/Onofrio says:

    How possible is it to spread information in the media to the people who really need to hear it? PBS viewers are probably less prejudiced than most (I hope).

    I remember a news article on Sikhnet when I first starting visiting this site that reported that the Bublin Ireland police force officially ruled that Sikh police could wear turbans. So why not here? It’s going to be a matter of mass education– which takes place in the schools.

    So, as a long time member of the Southern Poverty Leadership Conference, which fights racism and discrimination, my next move will be to recommend building a component about Sikhs and the Sikh faith into its Teaching Tolerance curriculum. That is how SPLC reaches many schoolchildren.

  7. Satkirin Kaur Khalsa says:

    I know Kevin and he did a great job. This form of media is very effective. More movies on the topic chould be made….such as how the Sikhs in India are main in the police and army and historically defenders of peace.

    Then another movie could be made with theological info about how the founders and the Guru of Sikhism
    were from ALL religions….hindu, muslim, sufi…

  8. Rubeena Kaur says:

    Vaheguru jio

    the trailer was good to see and these issues our fellow Sikhs face are important to be aware of.

    but there was just one thing that struck me most about the blog. It says Sikhs are to wear dastaars, which is fine, but then it says that the dastaar is an article of faith that “all Sikh men are required to wear at all times in public”.

    Now as a manmukh i dont know about the essence of sikhi as many of you may know and understand, but we should make it clear to all our brothers and sisters of various religious backgrounds, that women are also supposed to wear dastaars, that it isn’t something men wear and be the ones unfortuneately who face discrimination. In my opinion, I think the reason why Sikhs who wear dastaars, who mostly are men, are discriminated against because the society in which they seldom sees a Sikh with his identity. If every Kaur were to also tie a dastaar as a crown on her head, there would be many more noticable Sikhs, ie who have a strong physical identity.

    I hope that I’m not coming on as a feminist, the same would probably happen if our veerjis didn’t wear dastaars and most bhenjis did. I do hope though that I come on as a concerned Sikh. It is within our the followers of the faith, call us a society, a community, what have you, that the seed to the problem arises. We say Sikhism is such a valuable faith because of the equality between men and women, besides other factors of course, but when are we going to treat eachother as equals? Why is there a difference in men and women about simple fundamentals such as tying a dastaar?

    Bhul chuk maaf Vaheguru jio, just a concerned Singhni expressing a few thoughts.

    Vahegurujikakhalsa Vaheguruijkeefateh!

  9. very great video! i hope that people will understand that how peaceful our religion is!

  10. Satvinder says:

    Jhes jhes bery gud

  11. vickram says:

    hi thanks for putting this i hope people think that sikh are not harmful thanx.

  12. syed waqas ahmed(muslim) says:

    i on the behalf of the whole muslim want to say that rember the year 1984 and continue the fight for the khalistan the muslims are with you
    we respect the identity of the sikh we repect the gurus of the sikh and i only want to say that         “jay boley sonial”