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The Sikh Global Village BrazilDownload Synopsis

There are references where in it is mentioned that some Sikhs who wanted to migrate to USA were made to disembark at the Brazilian ports from where they traveled over land to Argentina. Similarly some of them who were already in Panama and Cuba headed for Argentina via Peru, Bolivia and Brazil. Why they did not establish roots in Brazil is not clear. Some accounts say that the land and climate of Brazil was not found attractive enough by the Sikhs. May be the political climate was not very conducive for the Indians. Some references are available regarding Gadhar Party leaders’ visit and temporary stay in Rio de Janeiro on their way to Argentina or other countries. It would appear no Branch of the Party was set up in Brazil presumably because no supporters or cadres were available. In fact Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s uncle lived in Rio for some time. In Bilga’s account, he mentions that their (Gadhar) leaders had good influence with the ruling Party in Brazil which helped them get export agency for coffee to the Middle Eastern countries. However it is difficult to accept that all the Sikhs would have merely transited through the country without some of them not staying on. In this quest, the author did meet an old Sikh Immigrant’s grandson which is covered as a case study later on. There are scattered Sikh professionals and business men in Sao Paulo and some other towns. These are comparatively recent entrants post Seventies or Eighties. Only a few of them as yet have struck permanent roots in Brazil. Sikh presence in Brazil is, indeed, insignificant. One of the earlier establishments of Yogi Bhajan’s 3HO in South America was in Brazil. Subhag Kaur Khalsa, an American and her late husband, Gurusewak Singh Khalsa, a Brazilian moved to SaoPaulo in 1987 bringing with them SGGS. They set up a yoga center in their apartment and finally a separate Gurudwara last year. There are a few turbaned followers of Yogi Ji in Brazil. It is an experience to see them do “Ardas” in Punjabi followed by Portuguese translation. A friend, Arvinder Singh Garcha from London has a beautiful recording of a small group of these Sikhs with white turbans and flowing beards singing the Japji on a guitar on the Brazilian beach. Bravo!

The Country
Brazil is the fifth largest country in area after Russia, Canada, China and USA and is the sixth largest in population. It is a country known for its Amazon rain forests, exotic Carnivals and the Samba music. Beaches and Bikinis are a national passion. The original Indian population has dwindled but some areas remain almost unapproachable even today. Portuguese is the language, being the only exception to Spanish in South America. The earlier prosperity came through sugar with the forced labor of African and Indian slaves. Sexual relations between the masters and slaves were so common that a large mulatto population soon emerged. Coffee and rubber were other rich contributors to the economy in earlier times. Economy has had its ups and downs and continues to have extreme contrasts. Politically also it has had more than its share of military dictators, democracy of some sort, kings and their representatives. It is the only country which has had a European monarch ruling on its soil.....

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Article Published in The Sikh Review - February 2005 - No. 626
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