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Mukhbir Singh: First Canadian-born World Sikh Organization President

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Image source: o.canada.com

Canada: The World Sikh Organization of Canada held its biennial convention on February 27 in Mississauga, Ontario, where for the first time in its 32-year history, a Canadian-born Sikh was selected to lead the organization. Mukhbir Singh was unanimously chosen to serve as President for the next two years.

Born and raised in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, Mukhbir Singh is tri-lingual, with a proficiency in both official languages and Punjabi. Singh is an actuary and holds a Master’s degree in Finance (MSc) from Concordia University. He currently resides in Ottawa. Mukhbir Singh is an active member of both the Montreal and Ottawa Sikh communities. From 2011 to 2015, he served as the WSO Vice-President for Quebec and the Atlantic Region.

Mukhbir Singh is joined by the Senior Vice President of the WSO, Jasbir Kaur Randhawa, who is based out of British Columbia. She is a leading educator and has been recognized with numerous awards for her community service and contribution to the field of early childhood education.

Mukhbir Singh will lead a 31-member Board of Directors selected from across Canada.  The Board also includes the highest number of second and third generation Canadian Sikhs in the organization’s history.

The World Sikh Organization of Canada’s 2016-2017 Executive:

President – Mukhbir Singh

Senior VP – Jasbir Kaur Randhawa

Director of Finance – Jagdeep Singh Mann

Director of Administration – Rupinder Kaur Dhaliwal

VP B C – Sukhpreet Singh

VP Alberta – Tejinder Singh Sidhu

VP Central Canada – Jasbeer Singh

VP Ontario – Mr. Prabhmeet Singh Sarkaria

VP Quebec and Atlantic – Amrit Kaur

Outgoing President Dr Amritpal Singh Shergill said, “It has been a privilege to serve as President of WSO Canada for the past two years. The Canadian Sikh community is very fortunate to have so many talented young professionals that are committed to community service and social justice. Our transition team has done an excellent job of bringing on refreshing new voices.”

Mukhbir Singh said, “I am truly honored to have been selected for this role. The WSO has a proud track record of service not just to Sikhs but to the cause of human rights for all Canadians. During the past 4 years, I have had the opportunity to see first-hand the positive impact of WSO’s 30-year legacy. As we formulate our two-year plan, I look forward to meeting with members of the Sikh community as well as other key stakeholders, to see how WSO can best meet everyone’s needs to ensure a brighter future for us all.”

The article was first published in voiceonline.com

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Justin Trudeau’s Government Selects Indo-Canadian Rana Sarkar as Consul-General to San Francisco

The Indo Canadian is also a member of the team that is negotiating NAFTA

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Indo-Canadian
Rana Sarkar. Wikimedia

August 05, 2017: Rana Sarkar, an Indo-Canadian who was until recently national director for high growth markets at the Toronto-based multi-national KPMG, has been named by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government as Canadas Consul-General to San Francisco.

Simultaneously, Sarkar has also been named a member of the high-profile Canadian official team for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the US and Mexico.

The Indo-Canadian community is elated over this very high profile appointment:

“Rana Sarkar (previously President of Canada-India Business Council) brings an impressive array of skills to his new position as Consul General in San Francisco,” says Kasi Rao, currently President of Canada-India Business Council and Vice-President of Asia-Pacific Foundation. “First, Rana is a global Canadian and has operated in multiple geographies – Canada, UK, and India. Second, he has brought individual networks and made them into institutional ones.

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“Rana has maintained an abiding interest in the ideas and innovation space and therefore will be adept at positioning the Canadian advantage in a critically important global city of San Francisco.”

Gary Comerford, who till recently was President of C-IBC, says in an interview that Sarkar “will be a very strong addition to the Canadian-US trade team. His knowledge and considerable expertise in the areas of international trade will be invaluable as the NAFTA agreement is modernized.”

Sarkar was also a Liberal Party candidate for the federal riding of Don Valley North (in Toronto) in 2014 but was not successful and he later became a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s team of advisers.

Sarkar was earlier visiting lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science and more recently Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.

Appointment of Sarkar in this high profile position is amongst a series of appointments of Indo-Canadians made by the Justin Trudeau government. They include four Indo-Canadian federal ministers: Amarjeet Sohi (Minister for Infrastructure and Communities); Bardish Chagger (Minister for Small Business and Tourism and House Leader); Harjit Singh Sajjan (Minister for National Defense); and Navdeep Bains (Minister for Innovation, Science and Economic Development).

More recently Trudeau named Anil Arora as Canada’s Chief Statistician. Two other high profile appointments include Sabi Marwah and Ratna Omidvar as Senators. There are 19 Indo-Canadian Members of the House of Commons, 18 of whom are Liberals. (IANS)

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How advertisements in India are defying gender cliche

Ads playing an effective medium in moulding opinions of society

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How Indian advertisement industry is breaking the gender stereotype

Feb 27, 2017: The most important part of advertisements is the story line and it gives a spur on the social media when the lessons from the story line are timeless. Needless to say, every time a free-spirited ad is released, it not only sparks conversations over the internet but also leaves a viral trail of debates. Just in the same way, some of the Indian advertisements did when they strove to change the mindset of people with regard to gender difference. We often tend to slur women not realizing the essence of being a woman, it takes strength and an indomitable spirit to be a woman. This article will talk about how advertisements in India are leading by example and discarding gender difference.

Let’s recall some of the advertisements that did away with gender difference.

Nike’s recent ‘Da Da Ding’ ad starring Deepika Padukone as one among other female athletes is a powerful ad which got the people talking about giving importance to female athletes as well. It showcased females of a real athletic figure which is not animated and has got nothing to do with ‘legs and butts’.

(A still from Nike’s Da Da Ding advertisement)

The ad portrayed women as fierce and passionate about sports. Once upon a time, Nike’s product catered almost exclusively to marathon runners and then, a fitness craze emerged –and the folks in Nike’s marketing department knew where to mark their next move, an applause for Nike for initiating a spellbinding effort.

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Whisper, Touch the pickle ad

(A still from Whisper Touch the pickle advertisement)

Whisper, Touch the pickle ad is another exemplary of breaking taboos surrounding women’s menstrual cycle. The whisper #Touchthepickle campaign makes an attempt to purge the baseless superstitions owing to Dos and Dont’s in menses. The ad showcases a young girl who dares to touch the pickle while she is on her periods. It conveys a sensible meaning to its viewers to break away these taboos. The ad was lauded internationally and awarded ‘Glass Lion Grand Prix’ award at Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

Many advertisements over the years have sold the cosmetic product but fewer have tried to change the societal conception of beauty. Even fewer have tried to do both, Joy Cosmetic is the brand that did it in India.

(A still from Joy beauty advertisement)
The ad begins with showcasing a well renowned oversized comedian, Bharti Singh asking the viewers “What did you expect, 36-24-36?”, and shuts down body shamers who presumed it to be an ideal body size. The ad conveys effortlessly that an Ideal beauty has nothing to do with body and shape.The advertisement has a sensitive message and is meaningful to its consumers.

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While there is a lot of chaos regarding section 377 in India, Ebay India took an audacious stance through its ad titled “Things don’t judge”.

(A still from Ebay India advertisement)

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India accuses Hardeep Nijjar, a Canadian Sikh of running a terrorist camp in British Columbia

Nijjar in his letter to the president said that India’s allegation of him transporting ammunition is absolutely preposterous" and "more like a bad Bollywood movie plot."

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  • Indian government has accused a Canadian Sikh for being a pro-Khalistan extremist
  • Hardeep Nijjar writes a letter to Canadian president saying all allegations against him is just a a”bad Bollywood movie plot”
  • The Canadian Activist feels he is being targeted for his work against anti-Sikh violence 

Hardeep Nijjar is a Canadian Sikh activist who has been accused for running terrorist camp in mission city by the Indian intelligence agency. Nijjar has written a letter to the Canadian President Justin Trudeau saying that allegations made against him by Indian government is just  “fabricated, baseless, fictitious and politically motivated” and calling it a”bad Bollywood movie plot”.

Hardeep Nijjar says he has never been involved with any violent activity. (Sikhs for Justice). Image source: CBC news
Hardeep Nijjar says he has never been involved with any violent activity. (Sikhs for Justice). Image source: CBC news

Indian government has accused Nijjar for being a pro-Khalistan extremist and running a terror camp in mission city of British Columbia. Indian intelligence agencies believe that he is running these camps for carrying out attacks in Punjab. India has also requested to put his name on the Interpol’s wanted list.

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Nijjar in his letter to the Canadian President said that India’s allegation of him transporting ammunition is absolutely preposterous” and “more like a bad Bollywood movie plot.” “I have never believed in, supported or been involved with any violent activity.”

Hardeep Nijjar also claims that he has become a target. He is owner of a small plumbing business in british Columbia and he says that he is being targeted for his work against anti-Sikh violence.

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“I am a Sikh nationalist who believes in and supports Sikhs’ right to self-determination and independence of Indian occupied Punjab through a future referendum”. “My Sikh nationalist activities are peaceful, democratic and protected under the Canadian charter of Rights and Freedom.” He wrote in his letter.

“Because of my campaign for Sikh rights, it’s my belief that I have become a target of an Indian government media campaign to label my human rights campaign as “terrorist activities”, the letter further states.

His lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in his statement to CBC said “Indian authorities often label Sikh activists as terrorists, who are simply trying to raise awareness in Canada about human rights violations being committed against Sikhs in the Punjab.”

-prepared by Bhaskar Raghavendran (with inputs from VOA), a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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