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The Sikh Global Village ArgentinaDownload Synopsis

Some of the Sikhs have moved from Bolivia to Argentina e.g. the eralier Granthi at Rosario. Others have moved southwards from Bolivia through marriage, because of better economic prospects. However for many, if not most new immigrants the final El Dorado is North America. The devaluation of Argentina currency at the beginning of this century to a third of its earlier value against the US Dollar has been a set back for the immigrants.

Second and Third Generation
The second generation of Sikhs who married Argentinians is totally assimilated locally and except for Singh as the surname have very little association with Sikhs or Punjab.

Establishing contacts for a visitor is difficult because of the small numbers and problems of language, as very few of them speak English or Punjabi. During the author’s visit to Argentina in August, 2005, he met with a wide spectrum of Singhs. Except for the first generation immigrants or children of the first generation father and mother from the Punjab, the first names are local e.g. Leandro, Dante, Louis, Carmen, Nora, Esther etc. Hardly any of them have visited Punjab but when met by the author, they were exuberantly friendly and wished to know about their Sikh heritage and Punjab culture. There were several gestures to show their emotional and sentimental pleasure at meeting a turbaned Sikh. A barrage of questions would follow and without exception they had a strong desire to visit Punjab - finances permitting. Some of the ladies even expressed a desire to marry Sikhs from Punjab! Most of the immigrants seem to be quite well off compared with the background of the early immigrants. But there are not many “rags to riches” stories similar to North America or UK. On the other hand, there are no stories of trouble-making or jailed Sikhs. One would place the Sikh immigrants and their newer generations as professionals, middle-middle income group, retailers, farmers and transport operators. They are universally handsome, beautiful and hospitable. They maintain some kind of Indian touch through cooking “daal” or “alloo-mattar curry and yogurt”, sometimes wearing Punjabi dress or doing yoga with “keertan” background, and by keeping photos of Sikh Gurus’ photos and the “khanda” symbol. There is a cultural gap, which needs to be bridged through literature, books, VCD’s on the Golden Temple and Punjab, preferably dubbed or written in Spanish. They are ripe to be inducted into Sikhism and Punjabi culture.

Gurdwara,Contact with Punjab and maintaining of Sikh and Punjabi Ethos
There are very few Sikhs with turbans. Amongst the first immigrants, quite a few of them kept the turban. But majority of them took off the turban due to isolation and to gain local acceptance. Getting a job, except with the British enterprises that respected Sikh identity, could have been problematic.Marriage to local women was another contributory factor.....

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Article Published in The Sikh Review - December 2004 - No. 624
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