When he was 13, Saggu underwent a ceremony called Dastar Bandi, where boys start wearing the larger turbans as a symbol of them coming of age. Before he was 13, Saggu wore a different turban, where his hair was tied up in a bun on the top of the head.
During high school, Saggu said he was the only one who wore a turban until his brother, Savraj, entered high school during Saggu’s junior year.  Some of his Sikh friends, he says, were bullied and peer pressured into cutting their hair off and not wearing the turban.
Saggu says Sikhs follow the teachings of gurus, all who lived during the span of 1469 to 1708.
According to Saggu, the first guru, Guru Nanak, was born as a Hindu but disagreed with many of the practices and beliefs of that religion. Saggu said he does not carry his Kirpan with him at JMU or out in public, due to “too much suspicion” from the public.
Saggu said since there are no gurdwaras in the Harrisonburg area, he said doesn’t really practice his religion while at JMU, other than saying simple prayers on his own. Instead, Saggu said he keeps his Punjabi heritage instilled in him through Bhangra — a high energy dance from the Punjab region. Saggu, who’s been performing Bhangra since he was 6 years old, is the president and one of the co-captains of JMU Bhangra, the Bhangra dance team on campus. JMU Bhangra practices three times a week to prepare for various performances like culture shows and charity events on campus as well as competitions, where they compete against Bhangra teams from other colleges and universities, like the University of Virginia and the College of William & Mary.
Saggu said when he and his co-captain choreograph, they try to impress and surprise the audience.
Some of the discrimination Saggu faced in high school was due to the fact that many people didn’t understand his religion.
Manjit Taneja, chairman of the Sikh Foundation of Virginia in Fairfax said he’s seen many incidents of discrimination against Sikhs since he came here from New Delhi, India, in 1972. Taneja, who teaches information systems at several community colleges and George Washington University, says he’s always welcomed the curious questions and open discussions that might come from his students.
If a person in his community was the victim of discrimination, Taneja says they have access to many resources, including the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a group of Sikh attorneys who advocate for the interests and rights of Sikh Americans. At the end of the service, the Guru Granth Sahib is opened to a random place, and a final command, or hukam, is read to the audience. Afterward, participants share a meal together which is cooked, served and shared all by volunteers from Raj Khalsa’s community.


Singh, who’s actually a Caucasian man from Pennsylvania, said he’s always appreciated the communal and spiritual aspects of the religion since he converted 39 years ago. Singh said he underwent an initiation ceremony called Amrit, where he vowed to follow certain principles of Sikhism, including not cutting his hair and abstaining from “intoxicants” such as cigarettes and alcohol. He said he’s also faced discrimination from both non-Sikhs and Sikhs of Indian descent who don’t think he belongs.
Taneja emphasized again that despite all the hardships, the teachings of Sikhism teach its followers not to react violently and accept all people, regardless of their religion. Volunteer guides Claire and Keng Kiat had the pleasure of guiding 30 participants to Hills 1 and 3, with a bonus stop to visit Khoo Seok Wan at Hill 4 to help an indirect descendant Mr Chia connect with him.
Our first stop is to visit Lee Hoon Leong, grandfather of Lee Kuan Yew, and show the Koki calendar used under Japanese Occupation. Lim Mah Peng left China for Penang, and married Mdm Khoo. Notice the Guangsu calendar used (top right), referring the reign of Emperor Guangsu (1875-1908). We would also visit the tomb of Tan Boo Liat, great grandson of Tan Tock Seng, and grandson of Tan Kim Cheng, consul to Siam.
We take a stop to introduce a Teochew tomb, and see the difference between Hokkien and Teochew tombs. The Bukit Brown area is about 233 acres  in extent, bordered by Lornie Road, Lower Thomson Road and the Pan-Island Expressway. The volunteers, also known as Brownies, do research, plan the logistics and organize tours to help raise awareness of what is to be lost.
Confused vandals have sprayed anti-Muslim graffiti at a Sikh temple in Perth’s northern suburbs overnight. Two people were captured on CCTV about 1am this morning wearing dark clothing, their faces covered.
At first, Saggu says his father would have to help him tie the turban, and he would only wear it on Sundays when they had to go to the gurdwara, a Sikh temple. When he was about to start elementary school, his mother, who was an art teacher at the same school, met with his guidance counselor and teachers to explain the reasons behind her son’s turban. Even his parents, he says, fear that the turban could instigate discrimination from others. Unlike most leaders at his time, Guru Nanak passed on his guruship to a non-relative follower.


However, he said the dagger is used during special Sikh ceremonies at the communal meal at the end of a Sunday service.
Saggu explained that Bhangra is a celebratory folk dance that was often performed events like spring harvests.
The music they use includes Indian pop songs, but Saggu said they enjoy integrating American songs and dubstep into the mash-up. Sikhs have been the target of many hate-motivated crimes where they’ve been mistaken for Muslims. Singh described himself as a yoga and meditation enthusiast who had an interest in Sikhism. Next to Lee is Lie Sio Nio, the first female Chinese student of Methodist Girls’ School. It lies just to the south of the Central Catchment Forest, being separated from it by Lornie Road and includes one of Singapore’s oldest Chinese cemetery. The multi-million dollar temple, which has been under construction in Bennett Springs for more than two years and is due to be completed in February, was vandalised around 1.30am by two offenders who sprayed offensive messages. Sikh Gurdwara Perth founding member Satjit Singh said it was disappointing that the temple was targeted. Sikh men, he said, aren’t allowed to cut their hair, so they protect it by wearing a turban. Each guru, Saggu says, brought new traditions and ideals to Sikhism that would define the religion. He added that while some gurdwaras have a priest that leads the temple, Raj Khalsa doesn’t — all duties that take place within the temple are rotated between individuals within the community.
He traveled to India to pursue those interests, but what he experienced took him to a whole new level.
It was a beautiful day for guiding and enjoying the heritage, habitat and history that is Bukit Brown.
With >100,000 graves, Bukit Brown is also one of the largest Chinese cemeteries outside of China.



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