Traveling to India? Please Pay Attention to New Visa Requirements

August 31, 2010

The Sikh Coalition has received inquiries from community members about new visa requirements for traveling to India. In June 2010 the Embassy of India changed its requirements for former Indian nationals. See https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/guidelines for more information.

Also, irrespective of foreign nationality or visa type, individuals may no longer be allowed more than one entry into India within a two month period without special permission. See http://www.mha.nic.in/pdfs/FAQ-TVisa170510.pdf for more information.

Travelers to India, please familiarize yourself with the new requirements and plan ahead! Please contact the Embassy of India for more information (http://www.indianembassy.org/visa.php).


An Intern’s Reflection

August 19, 2010

Sikh Coalition Staff and Interns at South Street Seaport

Written by Navjot Kaur, Summer Education Intern 2010

After years of following the Sikh Coalition’s work to dissolve ignorance surrounding Sikhism, it was a privilege to take part in their summer internship program. As an individual who was raised in the state of New York by two Sikh parents, I cultivated a deep connection and love for both the Sikh and American way of life, as well as the intersections between both.

Over the course of my internship, I was deeply inspired by fellow interns and staff, who worked and continue to display their faith in Sikhi – as a philosophy that teaches its disciples to treat all of humanity with the most basic level of love, respect, and compassion. Reaching out to others, both Sikhs and non-Sikhs in both the American and global community, was an empowering feeling that fuelled my desire to come to work, everyday, with the determination to bring results and as much of a difference as I could.

As I corresponded with numerous members of the community for education-related projects, many members of the sangat shared poignant, heartbreaking, and inspirational stories as to their experiences as Sikhs. These stories shed light on their struggles to maintain their faith and identity in a constantly evolving but bias-marked world. Having experienced constant bullying, harassment, and the discomforting feeling of “being different” throughout my grade school years, as someone who carries the distinct physical identity of a Sikh, I had always aspired to, one day, take part in an effort to spread awareness about a faith that teaches the beauty of and conviction in being different. Through their work to teach, and open up dialogue – I saw and took part and in ongoing effort to do just this.

There is a diligent, confident, and compassionate spirit that catalyzes all work done at the Coalition, and I am proud to have helped carry the torch for its extraordinarily executed and incredibly altruistic cause as a summer intern.

For more information about the Sikh Coalition’s Internship Program, please click here.


Beyond a lifetime, still inspiring

August 16, 2010

~ By Sally Hartman, Sikh Coalition Legal Fellow

As my legal internship with the Sikh Coalition comes to a close, I have begun to reflect on my experience over the course of the past three months.  I feel fortunate that my time with the Coalition has been characterized by a unique blend of a legal and cultural education.  By getting to know the Coalition staff and hearing stories of victories in the community, I have come to realize the extent to which their lives truly embody the spirit of heartfelt advocacy.

Air Marshal Dr. Puran Singh Bajwa

I am mindful that none of this would have been possible without the generous support of the family of Dr. Puran Singh Bajwa.  Through honoring the memory of Dr. Bajwa, they have opened the door for countless other future attorneys to explore the rewarding and uplifting field of Civil Rights law.  This opportunity is consistent with the essence of Dr. Bajwa’s life.

As an Air Marshal in the Indian Army, Dr. Bajwa was noted throughout his career for his dignity and his proud practice of the Sikh faith, serving as an inspiration to many generations of military personnel who followed him. In his retirement, the advanced study and practice of Sikhism and teaching it to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren was Dr. Bajwa’s chief pursuit in life. As a physician, highly decorated military officer, and community leader, Dr. Bajwa literally touched and made a lasting impact on tens of thousands of lives.

I am hopeful that my work this summer has, in some small way, been able to mimic the incredible dedication that characterized Dr. Bajwa’s life.  I have been honored to work alongside our staff attorneys to educate both the government and private-sector employers as to the Civil Rights of Sikh men and woman who are being discriminated against.  By familiarizing myself with the relevant legal context, honing my research skills, and drafting advocacy letters, I truly feel that I have taken a step forward in a promising direction.  I hope to continue this journey as I go forward in my education, and make Civil Rights Law a central part of my future practice.

Thank you once again to the family of Dr. Bajwa.  In helping make possible my experience this summer, you have honored his memory, established a meaningful opportunity for future lawyers, and bestowed a wonderful gift on the Sikh community.


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