New immigrants are closer to Sikh and Punjabi culture and
these new arrivals, though in small doses, help maintain the
culture. Some of the Sikhs, even though clean-shaven, and
despite the small size of their homes, keep the SGGS. They
have access to recorded “shabad keertan” and of
course Punjabi pop and Bhangra music. A third generation girl
who otherwise is Argentinian in all respects, wore “Salwar
Kameez”, though probably as a fashion statement, along
with her beautiful mother on her law- degree graduation ceremony.
Cooking of Punjabi dishes along with the beefsteak is quite
A Gurdwara was constructed in the early nineties and is proving
to be a great anchor for the community. Regular functions
are held on Sundays and “Sangrads”. Important
Gurpurbs are celebrated. On such special occasions Sikhs come
from long distances. Gurdwara also provides for get-togethers
on marriages, deaths and anniversaries and is helping bring
closer various Sikhs and their families. ‘Langar’
is always served on all occasions. There is a resident granthi
and a guest room has been provided for the visitors. One heard
stories of help and support by the Sikhs even from long distances
whenever there are serious illnesses or accidents in a family.
It is really a sight to see shop hoardings such as “Dasameshpita
Norte Supermercado” (Supermarket), “Almacen Singh
Khalsa” (Retail Shop) or “Despensa Singh”(Retail
shop). The “Singh” surname is well respected and
even the third generation is proud to be a Singh. Earlier
immigrants had to be buried after death as cremation was not
allowed. It was interesting to see “Singh Family Burial”
Tombs. Cremation now is possible.
Some Case Studies
During a 10-day visit, the author met a wide cross section
of Sikhs of the first, second and third generation. Each meeting
was an interesting and somewhat sentimental story. Only two
or three are being mentioned, the rest would be the subject
of a book being to be published later.
Carmen and Leandro Singh: Cordoba, the second largest city
of Argentina had 15 Singhs listed in the Directory. No one
except Leandro Singh could speak English. He along with his
mother Carmen Elena Singh and cousin Gabriela Dora Singh met
up with the author in the evening. Carmen’s father was
Muncha Singh who married Juana when she was only 15 years
of age in 1917 in Cordoba, where Muncha was working with the
British Railways. Muncha had 7 daughters and 5 sons. Muncha
presumably came to Argentina a couple of years earlier and
started working in Buenos Aires, before moving to Cordoba.
At his marriage, so far as Carmen could remember, no Sikhs
were present. It was a marriage of convenience as Juana was
probably a housemaid.....