By Dr. Hakam Singh
Thank God: You are in a peaceful land and) now have individual rights you haven’t had before. You are free to believe in your faith, express opinions, and pursuit happiness. You are free to do all sorts of things, except you may not conduct yourself in any manner that will shock the conscious of civilized reasonable people. Enjoy your freedom and liberty. Evaluate Yourself: What brought you here and what good things you can do for yourself and your family.
A, Are you escaping Indian persecution? Could you prove that you were singled out by Indians because you believed in an Independent homeland? In the fight for freedom you struck at India’s economic and military establishment. Thus became victim of India’s charge of sedition; or, you were simply singled out just because you are a Sikh. Were Indian authorities intimidating and harassing you, i.e. they cut your hair, shaved your beard, gave you beatings and threatened to kill you etc., so you would not join the others for freedom. If you can prove one of the above and that your life will be in danger if you’re return to India, then think of political asylum here.
- You came here legally but came for economic reasons, then apply yourself and earn to satisfy your desires. For enterprising and hardworking people like Sikhs, there is plenty of work out here. In America, there is dignity in work, so any kind of work is great but strive to be the best at it. We recommend that you think of owning your own business. Join partnerships, syndicates, make corporations, pool your resources and create work for yourself and others.
- You came here for your children’s future. If that is so, then instill in your children the habit of work, quality, ethics and pride. Let them be what they want to be but ensure they are the best in their field. If ‘one wants to be a doctor, fine but if one wants to collect garbage, make sure he/she is thinking of owning the business one day.
DO’s & DON’Ts:
You came here on your own accord. Therefore, you can’t expect others to do things for you. You must take charge of your life, conduct and welfare. There is good reason to work together, serve and share. Sikh homeland is occupied and you can’t return there, life and liberty is here only, think about committing yourself to America.
1, Learn the American Way! Americans are successful so you know they have been doing things right. Amulate successful ways.
- Honor American Holidays: Americans have fought and sacrificed to keep this nation free and earn their rights. Holidays are the symbols of that struggle. Martin Luther King Day; Memorial Day; 4th of July, (Independent Day); Labor Day; Thanksgiving Day and one religious Holiday, “Christmas” are important American holidays. Learn more about the holidays so that you can share and enjoy them with other Americans.
- Make yourself whole: No one is complete unless one is well versed academically and culturally. Educate yourself to enjoy the blessing of life. Develop hobbies, create ventures and find good things to enjoy.
- Value time: yours as well as others. It is an insult when one doesn’t keep one’s appointments. Every moment should be important and not wasted.
- Participate: Join American political parties, perform civic welfare projects, be proud and attend Sikh community gatherings and Gurd‘wara.
- Do not try to force your culture ‘on others, keep your culture at home! Dress American! Be polite! Maintain your virtues and principles!
- Do not overcrowd your homes. Americans are used to living in single family homes. Multiple families in overcrowded homes cause worry and apprehension among neighbors,
- Keep your gatherings small: if you must have a large number of people to visit you, courtesy demands that your guests respect your neighbor’s property and rights, inform your neighbors of pending crowds. Say goodbye to your guests at your door not in the street. Be a good neighbor.
4, Speak English: In public, at work and when you feel someone is uncomfortable. It is good practice to speak English when around non Punjabis, even if talking among yourselves. Americans tend to be paranoid and always believe that others are talking about them.
- Do not frown; or wear clothes smelling of spices. Smiles bring smiles back; and cologne will remove smells.
- AMARJIT SINGH MARWAAHA was born in Pakistan, but his family had been living in Faridkot since 1880. He migrated to U.S.A. in 1951 as a dentist on Guggenheim Fellowship. Prior to this he worked as a dentist with Pepsu Government in Patiala, He has held position of a Professor in various dental schools and universities in the country, Dr. Marwaha went back to India on Exchange Professorship from U.S.A. to Bombay University, Dr. Marwaha is married to beautiful wife, Kuljit Kaur who hails from Sodhi family of Patiala,
Dr. Marwaha is blessed with three daughters who are all settled & except for the younger one. Dr. Marwaha is the founder of L.A. Gurdwara and donated the building to this cause. He is President of Cultural Heritage Commission of City of Los Angeles. He is also President of Los AngelesBombay Sister City Committee of the Mayor of Los Angeles and also member of various organizations including Lions Club, L.A., Navy League of America, Asian Advisory Council to the Governor, etc. He is a puran GurSikh and leads a dedicated, religious life.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 19, 1988