Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Surat Sikh Conference 2009







Surat Sikh Conference is a conference held in New York every year where Sikhs between the age of 18 to 35 get together to discuss current Sikh issues. This years theme was about the problem faced by Sikh farmers in Punjab. Formerly the most prosperous state in India, modern day Punjab desperately struggles with grave economic and environmental problem. From 1997 to 2001, the Indian Government reduced distribution by the Public Distribution System (PDS) by 20%. In 2001 there was a food surplus of 38 million tons while there were 320 million malnourished or hungy Indians in the same year. This clearly shows how the decision of PDS to reduce the distribution has a drastic effect on the farmers and the villagers. There have been shocking statistics on reports of Punjabi farmers committing suicide where 1 Punjabi farmer commits suicide in 3 days mostly because they re in debt. The conference discussed about this issue. We even spoke about the tragic 1984 attack on Sikhs. 2 speakers who lived through those attacks described the whole thing. I am personally shocked that we have not got any of our rights served and not many people around the world know about what happened.


Other than the discussions, we had a bhangra night where the famous Bhikram Singh performed. We went ice skating at central park, imagine skating outdoor in the middle of new york with buildings all around, and sikhs all over. It was so much fun. The whole conference was awesome, met so many new people mostly doctors and dentist. I personally hope we have a conference like this back in Malaysia. All we have are camps but not these kinds of conferences. Fellowship Camp may be the closest to this but we need our Sikh youths to be more informative about current issues faced by Sikhs around the worls.

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