Being a Sikh II – Prof. Nirvikar Singh
by Misha Kapany Schwarz
Prof. Nirvikar Singh
Prof. Nirvikar Singh is the Director of the Business Management Economics program as well as co-director of the Santa Cruz Institute of International Economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Where were you born and raised?
New Delhi, India
What made you become a Sikh?
I was born a Sikh, and also chose to keep that faith because it appealed to me.
What are the core ideals of the religion or what do you like about Sikhism?
Belief in one God, truthful living
How does being Sikh affect your everyday life?
Provides me with a set of core values and principles to guide my actions.
What does it mean to you to be a Sikh?
To be truthful, fair, kind, tolerant, moderate, and to uphold what is right.
Have you ever had to deal with racial profiling and/or prejudice?
Yes, in India, England and the US
Is it difficult being a Sikh and living in America?
No more than elsewhere..
After 9/11 have there been any mistaken accusations of Sikhs?
My only personal experience has been insults hurled from passing cars, but obviously others have suffered more.
How do you practice Sikhism in America?
Read the Guru Granth Sahib, listen to Shabad Keertan, live according to the ideals of Sikhism and the message of the Guru (see 3., 5. above)
Are there many events in the Sikh community in America? Can you tell us about these events and/or festivals?
The community celebrates festivals and special holy days (e.g., Baisakhi, birth anniversary of Guru Nanak)
Do you visit gurudwaras often? Why or why not?
We have a gurudwara in our home, where the Guru Granth Sahib is always kept.
How can Sikhs educate Americans about Sikhism, and/or prevent discrimination against Sikhs?
Incorporation in school curriculum, community outreach, development of books, videos and other educational material
Is there a problem with the Sikh youth today?
Best to ask the youth!
How can we educate the youth about Sikhism?
Live our lives according to Sikh principles also see 12. above
How does Sikhism affect your profession?
Not at all — as a professor, I am respected for my knowledge, skills and actions.
Do you think the dress code is still prevalent here in America compared to Punjab?
Not sure what this means. My wife, sons and I observe the Sikh symbols proudly and confidently.
Check back next month for the next interview!