He lost his brothers and found his calling.
The 9/11 bought a tumultuous turn of events for the US citizens. The never heard before “hate crimes” took the main stage. The otherwise accommodating country of multiple faiths soon became an unsafe ground for all.
At Fart magazine, we review the US turn of events for Indian diaspora and especially for Sikh community.
Hate crimes on rise:
The data from FBI in 2017 raises alarming figures. The crimes Rose in the States for two years. The targets include minorities like: Sikhs, Muslims and Jews.
In its annual report, the FBI states the figures at 6000 plus of hate crimes. The trend is on constant rise. Is America safe for all? The answer may not be affirmative.
The innocent victims:
The 9/11 coverage bought security issues for Muslims and Sikhs. The lack of information led to the peaceful Sikh community becoming the target. Instances of mistaken identity are common. Reason: people mistake turban to taliban!
One such hate crime included Balbir Singh Sodhi. The sikh gentleman became the victim to the public ire after 9/11. A perhaps first incident of mistaken identity, the case garnered reputation due to efforts of Rana Singh Sodhi (brother of Balbir Singh).
The crime that shook all:
Balbir Singh Sodhi became the first publicised victim of the hate crime after 9/11. A person whose family escaped the violence to seek peace came face to face with the same situation again.
The innocent Sodhi family lost two sons to the mistaken identity. Still the American dream remained intact. Each year on the death anniversary of Balbir Singh Sodhi, his brother: Rana Singh Sodhi brings people together to make a difference. His aim to make people recognize Sikh identity has been exponential in saving the community. The family offers turban wearing classes, Paath and Langar sewa to help Americans look up at the Sikh diaspora.
Despite the ambitious aim, the attendance numbers are dwindling. From 3000 supporters to a few hundreds, things are going downhill.
The family recently took mercy on the killer and gave forgiveness to the killer. But what about the other innocent lives shattered in the name of true blood?
The anti hate group:
Rana Singh Sodhi has contributed himself fully to the cause of the cultural awareness. He speaks with students and reaches community through outreach program. He has conducted workshops in numerous educational institutions to instil the spirit of religious tolerance.
Each year the family gathers around the murder spot and prays for world peace and prosperity of the nation.
The numerous times the Sodhi kin has stood up for the innocent lives made White House take notice. From being an invited guest to the president to being the core subject to documentary. The turban of the dead victim lies in the Smithsonian museum of American history.
An untiring journey
The loss of his brothers made Rana Singh Sodhi stand up for protection of his faith. He believes that America was his family’s dream idea of achieving religious freedom but sadly shattered.
A campaign was started to promote Sikh identity and safety under name of “National Sikh campaign”. The man works for his faith in utmost peaceful way. The religious sentiments and the core origin is discussed through love and care. The group recently invited one and all with folded hands to join and learn about the faith.
The family tragedies and the constant hate crimes do not shatter the man or his goal. His love for his faith and identity is commendable. He happily leads classes in turban wearing while his wife Cooks vegetarian meals for the visitors.
His efforts are catching attention but slowly. Still the Sikh men get mistaken for Taliban due to turban and beards.
His work has caught attention of CNN network who have included him in their Bridging the Divide series.
The Sodhi family still has faith in the American people that they will see them truly and respect their unique faith and identity. They also believe that America opens it’s heart to all faiths and goodness. That is why they work for it.