A journey through Sikh Musical Heritage
Music is a core part of Sikhi, and having learned the harmonium from a young age, it's something that fascinates me. However, the vast majority of Sikh music you hear today uses neither the traditional instruments of the Sikhs, nor is it sung in the way the Gurus intended the compositions to be sung. This point, as well as the evolution of Sikh music, is beautifully explored in a new documentary on Amazon Prime called the Sikh Musical Heritage - the untold story. This article is my review of this award winning documentary.
Currently in India, we are witnessing the largest protests in human history. These are economic protests by farm workers against billionaires, a nationalist government and corporate exploitation. On a human level, these protests are for the individual livelihoods of millions of farmers in Panjab, Haryana and across India.
I've previously written about the cause of the protests (and you can read about them here), so today, as the protests develop, I want to clear up three misconceptions; (1) the farmers are illiterate and don't know why they are protesting, (2) these new bills are beneficial, and (3) Panjab is the only state protesting.
The farmer's (kisaan) protests in Northern India are reaching a climax, and I'm going to try and summarise a complex movement as simply as possible in 500 words for audiences outside of India that might be curious as many have families back in Panjab that might be affected.
Exactly four years ago to the day, I wrote an article on the outcome of the 2016 election (which you can read here). I made several predictions for Trump's term, and I reflected on the state of the US. I thought the presidency might have a tempering effect on Trump, and while I thought his tendency to speak his mind wouldn't die down. I figured that much of his rhetoric would be just that, and it might end up actually being an uneventful term.
I was wrong.
So after four years of tweets, protests, tariffs, more protests and more tweets, I try to sum up what happened in the past four years, where the US is now, and what lies ahead for the world's oldest democracy.
A billionaire is a weird concept. To their supporters, they're the epitome of success, an indication of what someone can achieve if they have the right talent, work ethic and ingenuity. To their detractors, billionaires are nothing more than a policy failure, the very worst of capitalism and epitome of greed. Is it okay to have millions struggling to survive when a small number of people hoard a huge amount of resources? In this article I set out 5 reasons why billionaires shouldn't exist.
This is real life
Growing up I remember being fascinated by the thought of a break down of society. It wasn't a morbid fantasy where I wanted to see people die, but rather a chance for society to start afresh, a fairer society.
I felt that society in most countries worked to serve an elite that was so entrenched that it was impossible for others to eat from the same table. It's why after watching I Am Legend, the film about the aftermath of a virus mutation, I spent months day dreaming about what such a world would be like (and also fighting zombies). I didn't think for a second that just over a decade later, the coronavirus would cause society to lie on the brink, but here we are: the current generations' 9/11 and 2008 financial crisis all wrapped up in one.
The General Election
When I wrote an article on the 2017 general election, I had no idea that just two short years later I'd be back writing for another general election, the third general election in less than 5 years.
It's something we associate with other European countries where hung parliaments are common. Politics in the UK is supposed to be stable, almost boring. Well, the past few years have turned the UK's traditional, liberal, centrist political stability on its head.
During the years of New Labour I remember thinking how similar the Tories and Labour were - there was very little difference in policy and it was like choose option (a) or choose option (a) - with little real actual choice. I can't say that anymore. Both main parties have been hijacked by extremists. Labour is now further left than at any point in my time on this planet, while the Tories are flirting dangerously with the far-right. While we have a choice now - it doesn't seem like an appealing one.
As with my last article, this isn't about telling you who to vote for, but a call to go out and vote. After all, an engaged Sikh electorate means we can pressure politicians to hold our vote to account and ensure issues affecting our community have ears in the corridors of Whitehall.
The Travelling Singh on podcast
I recently did a podcast on understanding cultures and travel with Australian travel and lifestyle show Priya's Heart.
I spoke about my experiences travelling the world, the places I enjoyed - and those that I'd rather forget. I also spoke about some of the issues I've experienced as a Sikh in parts of the world where Sikhi isn't so well known, including getting taken to a police station in Peru, having a sniffer dog go through my luggage in Bangkok and having an argument with a security guard in the airport in Madrid.
It's the most in-depth discussion I've done so far, as I talk a little about my background and beliefs, as well as describing why I started this blog almost 5 years ago and why I think it continues to serve an important purpose.
You can listen to the full podcast here.
Don't forget to follow The Travelling Singh on Instagram @thetravellingsingh and you can also follow Priya Sharma (who conducted the interview) on Instagram @priyasheart.
This weekend, 4 sikh men in turbans were kicked off a plane in the US, and if Sikhs can just be kicked off planes for wearing turbans, it's a dangerous precedent.
A Sikh gallery in London
When I heard a temporary exhibition housing priceless artefacts from Sikh history would be opening in the summer of 2018, I can't tell you how excited I was. Having spent a lot of my time in museums around the world (and you can read about it in the travel section of my blog), the opportunity to see Sikh history from a Sikh perspective isn't something that comes around very often. Here I review my visit to the Brunei Gallery in London to view the Toor Collection, and the Empire of the Sikhs exhibition.
British Sikh in my twenties, born in the Midlands, based in London, travelling the world seeing new cultures.