US Sikh community: How hard-working immigrants made a foreign land home

PUBLISHED ON: October 8, 2005 | Duration: 22 min, 15 sec

  
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Gunpowder residue from the bullets that killed Sikhs in Milwaukee is now beginning to settle on several uncomfortable American truths - The ugliness of easy to access firepower, the presence of "white supremacists" in the underbelly of American society - threatening a multi ethnic, multi religious, multi-cultural ethos that gives its citizens a cosmopolitan sense of national pride; and the stark reality that Sikhs, ever since 9/11 have been at the receiving end of some of the worst instances of violence even as they repeatedly struggle to prove they are proud Americans as any other community. In fact, a little known and little documented fact for many in America and beyond is that Sikhs are not new immigrants to the United States. The first Sikhs who landed on its shores date back to the 19th century. "Pioneers" as they came to be called; sailing across the oceans to come and work as labour on the railroad or in farms over a century ago, battling prejudice and impoverishment to break out on their own, and make an alien land their home. In October 2005, NDTV's Maya Mirchandani had travelled to small towns in the American west, locating and documenting the stories of struggle of some of their descendants. Here is her special report.
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