Sikhs in the United States have long been confused with ultra orthodox Muslims because of the traditional turbans on their heads, especially since the 9/11 terrorists downing of the World Trade Center in 2001. Many were assaulted and publicly humiliated until a few organized groups stepped forward to better educate Americans about their religion and culture. The 26th annual Sikh day festival which turned Madison Avenue into a “mini Mumbai” for a few hours was one of the educational vehicle for that purpose, to also further their cause in letting the world know of their desire to separate from India as a country with their own government. If successful, this would mirror the creation of Pakistan as an independent Muslim nation from India. The Sikhs have been fighting this battle since 1984 after their temple was bombed by the Indians which prompted the 100,000+ US based Sikhs to demand their own day of festival in New York City, a separation from the much larger Indian Day Festival. Today at the festival, food was abundant and free for all, regardless of origin, race or culture. They chanted for freedom and rejoiced in their moment of unity. The atmosphere was positive and energetic.
I sincerely wish them all the best in their mission for a separate country.
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