On Saturday May 10, 2008, accused murderous mob leader Kamal Nath spoke at Northwestern University.
The nationally renowned Sikh Coalition notified its members and encouraged them to write to Northwestern’s administration (which I did). Sikhtoons posted this take on the situation.
So what’s the deal? How did we get here? Various human rights organizations report Kamal Nath as being a key facilitator in the 1984 pogroms, where thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed. Sanjay Suri, a journalist, reported Kamal Nath’s presence controlling the crowd that attacked Gurudwara Rakab Ganj. You can see the details in a report produced by Ensaaf. Click here for the report, and just search it for Kamal Nath (pages 54, 72, 104, 127).
So why isn’t Kamal Nath behind bars? This case reminded me of a NYTimes article I read 8 years ago. Read it!
In India the Wheels of Justice Hardly Move
By BARRY BEARAK
Published: June 1, 2000
Way back when or, to be more precise, way, way, way back when — an illiterate meat cutter, Abdul Waheed, filed a lawsuit against his next-door-neighbor, a stubborn milk merchant named Mohammad Nanhe.
The article talks about how tiny cases take many decades to resolve. Just imagine how long it would take to resolve a case involving a powerful politician!
Organizations like Ensaaf (the word translates to Justice) are doing everything in their power to make sure justice is served. That’s all we as citizens of the world can want — a justice system that works. And of course, it is our duty to protect “justice for all,” which is what makes America so great.
For more information, I encourage you to see the movie Amu. The Indian censor board cut 6 lines of dialog from the film, saying, “Why should young people know a history that is best forgotten?”
Finally, the Chicago Tribune’s Mandy Brachear has this post on the story.
Earlier this year, the Sikh community in California pushed for the revision of a textbook, and the board of education listened. The textbook contained an inappropriate image of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion. Stickers will be distributed to cover the image, and new prints of the textbook will be revised. Wow. All I can say is it’s a great example of Sikhs getting together, pushing for change through the right channels and the right ways, and our government reacting appropriately in response to concerns. Check out the New York Times article: Bowing to Sikhs’ Call, California Wants Textbook Change. What brought my attention to this incident was an article I read in Reform Judaism Magazine, which highlighted the incident as an example for how Jews should take action for similar errors in textbooks. Many have cited the Jewish community as a great community for all minorities to model in the United States, so it’s exciting to see that the Jewish community is giving us props. Congrats to all that made this happen.
This is an Op-Ed piece written by the Sikh Coalition.
As a kid growing up, I was always seen as the “genie” — you know, the dude with a turban that comes out of a lamp. Thank you Disney. A stereotype, but a benign one. Unfortunately as Sikh kids grow up today, they are labeled by their peers as “Osama” (thanks CNN) so I can only imagine what it’s like to be a fifth grader with a Sikh turban. Hopefully efforts like those highlighted in the editorial will ensure our schools give all students and equal chance at education.