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The Sikh Global Village ArgentinaDownload Synopsis

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 routine.

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.....

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