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Indian-American Couple donates $100,000 to California University for Punjabi culture research in US

Dhillon, a prominent Riverside orthopedic and hand surgeon and has helped earlier as well to raise funds needed to launch the endowed chair in Sikh Studies in 2008

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Sikh community celebrating Vaishakhi. Wikimedia
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  • An Indian-American couple made a large donation to a top American university
  • The endowment would help encourage a passionate graduate student to study the Sikh and Punjabi culture
  • The award will also help the world to know that the university recognizes and teaches diversity

August 20, 2016: A donation of USD 100,000 has been made by an Indian-American couple to a top American university to support graduate students who are studying Sikh and Punjabi culture there.

The endowment by Harkeerat and Deepta Dhillon, to University of California, Riverside, will help to attract graduate students with an interest in Sikh and Punjabi culture, and support fieldwork on Sikh communities in the United States, the university said in a statement.

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University of California, Riverside. Image source: www.ucr.edu
University of California, Riverside. Image source: www.ucr.edu

“This gift is a testament to their commitment to higher education, their passion for the arts and humanities, and their desire to expand the knowledge base about Sikh and Punjabi culture,” said Milagros Pe a, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences to IndiaPost.

The Harkeerat and Deepta Dhillon endowed Research Award for Sikh and Punjabi Studies in the Arts and Humanities, that will provide much-needed support for the dissertation research and writing on arts and humanities topics that relate to Sikh and Punjabi culture, said Professor Pashaura Singh and Jasbir Singh Saini, Chairman of Sikh and Punjabi Studies and chairman of the Department of Religious Studies.

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“We believe that establishing this award will enhance the belief that this is an educational institution that recognizes diversity and teaches diversity,” he said to India Post.

Dhillon, a prominent Riverside orthopedic and hand surgeon, has helped earlier as well to raise funds needed to launch the endowed chair in Sikh Studies in 2008.

– prepared by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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What is a Patiala Peg and why it is called so?

Patiala pegs can only be there if you're drinking whisky. You won't find people who prefer vodka or other spirits, asking for a Patiala Peg.

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Most of the stories about the origin of 'Patiala Peg' revolves around Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. Wikipedia
Most of the stories about the origin of 'Patiala Peg' revolves around Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. Wikipedia

If you have partied in North India,’Patiala Peg’ is no new term for you. Throughout time, the Patiala peg has come to signify more than a measure of whisky, it is almost a sign of ‘ Punjabi masculinity.’ The rough volume of a Patiala peg is around 120ml. This is roughly four ‘smalls’ or two ‘large’ drinks in casual terms.

So is it whisky?
Yes, it is. Patiala pegs can only be there if you’re drinking whisky. You won’t find people who prefer vodka or other spirits, asking for a Patiala Peg.

Patiala Peg is very North Indian party's quintessential drink. Pixabay
‘Patiala Peg’ is very North Indian party’s quintessential drink. Pixabay

How did it get its name?

There can be multiple answers to this, all of which revolve around Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh who ruled the Patiala from 1900 till  1938. The founder of State Bank of Patiala, lived life king size.

It is believed that the Maharaja Bhupinder Singh had a polo team that consisted of legendary Sikh warriors like himself. He once invited the Irish team called Viceroy’s Pride for a friendly match of ‘tent pegging.’ It is a game where players while riding on horseback have to collect objects with their spears. When the Irish team arrived, the home-team got nervous after seeing their imposing personalities.

So, the Maharaja had an idea, in the feast preceding the day of the match, he ensured that enormous drinks were served to the Irish. As can be expected, the Irish team woke up dazed and couldn’t play well. When they went to the Maharaja to complain, he famously replied, “Yes, in Patiala our pegs are large!”

There are more than one story about the origin of 'Patiala Peg' and they all are a proof of what an extravagant life Maharaja Bhupinder Singh lives. Pixabay
There is more than one story about the origin of ‘Patiala Peg’ and they all are a proof of what an extravagant life Maharaja Bhupinder Singh lives. Pixabay

Another story pulls out the references to this in Captain Amarinder Singh’s (the grandson of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh) biography, which states that it was actually a cricket match, not tent pegging.

Apart from this popular story, there are others too. Local descendants of the Maharaja’s courtiers say that the peg is actually something completely different. The Maharaja of Patiala loved good parties and threw many. However, he was always late and never used to reach his own parties on time. The guests had to keep drinking, as they couldn’t leave till he arrives. The smart ones used to put a white napkin around empty glasses and sip from them, so that they could wake up sober next morning.

The last story refers to similar parties but instead of pouring drink after drink, they used to just pour one enormous peg to sip from all evening. Thus, the term ‘Patiala peg.’

There are many theories about the name of this particularly famous drink, which only pique more interest in it. No matter what is the origin of ‘Patiala Peg,’ it still continues to be one of the most popular drink which north Indians love to order during parties.