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Punjabi  Sikh Diaspora (Latin America)


in numbers but those who were isolated had to give up the turban sooner than later. Those immigrants who had spouses from Punjab, persevered with the turban for a longer period. Very few, if any, in second and third generation kept the turban in order to get better social acceptance. Local wives either encouraged or demanded greater assimilation and the men could not put up much of a resistance to what was becoming inevitable. In earlier years cremating the dead was not possible. The dead had to be buried as per the local custom. Some Sikhs in deference to family expectations had elaborate family burial tombs.

From ‘Sikhi’ point of view, the contribution of Yogi Bhajan’s efforts has to be highly admired. The linkage with India, Punjab and the Sikhs is, naturally, better where the parents have taken the children to India for varying periods of time. At least the second generation then has some exposure to things Indian. The nostalgia for homeland continues, as is natural, but better living conditions and financial prosperity is an important compensating factor. It is not easy to return to Punjab especially if you have to accept lack of success. The individual and sometimes family ‘izzat’ is at stake. Migration of relatives, village mates, and other friends or known persons was encouraged and facilitated to the maximum extent feasible.

These are separately given –Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil in some detail and Belize, Mexico, Cuba, Panama and Ecuador in summary form.

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Article Published in The Sikh Review
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