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New England Sikh Study Circle
2002/2003 Sikh History

Sikh Diaspora Project
Due Date : January 4, 2004

What does Diaspora Mean ?

Welcome to the Sikh Diaspora Project ! The word 'diaspora' traditionally refers to the dispersion of Jews outside of Israel from the sixth century B.C., when they were exiled to Babylonia, until the present time. The word has also come to represent the body of Jews or Jewish communities outside Palestine or modern Israel. In the most general sense, the term today refers to the dispersion of a people from their original homeland. By virtue of our presence in the United States, we are all part of the Sikh Diaspora !

Why are we studying the Sikh Diaspora ?

The objective of the Sikh Diaspora Project is to help us all understand the Sikh Diaspora, with a particular focus on Sikh immigration to the North American continent. The Sikh Diaspora has played an important role in shaping our identity in North America and it is extremely important that we understand it and are able to articulate its history and significance effectively.

The logistics of the Sikh Diaspora Project :

The Sikh Diaspora project will be executed by Project Teams, comprising 2-3 students per team. The project is due on January 4, 2004. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams and the three prize-winning entries will be displayed on the Milford and Mills Gurdwara Bulletin Boards as well as the site.

Each Team will use the Power Point Template provided here to execute the project. The Template provides rough guidance on the kinds of information that the Teams need to research and submit. Please note that this is just a rough guideline; as students learn more about the Sikh Diaspora, they are encouraged to extend the template to add more material and topics as appropriate. Extra credit will be given for creativity. Each team will make a presentation to the class when the project is completed. The top three teams will present to a much larger audience.

The teams should feel free to modify the template as desired; they can change the background, change the graphics, fonts etc. The teams can also change the presentation flow and add additional topics. The only requirement is that the points laid out in the template should be covered.


Submissions will be graded according to the following criteria :

How well you have covered all the topics and the quality of your research, including references 100 Points
How good your submission is in terms of both content and presentation flow 100 Points
How interesting your personal case study, based on your interviews, is. 100 Points
How creative your submission is. (Hints : use of multimedia - pictures, audio, video etc.) 100 Points
The quality of your oral presentation. 100 Points
500 Points








Links :

Description A great site that documents the Sikh Diaspora in California from 1899 - 1965 An excellent site that documents Asian immigration to the West Coast A site dedicated to the PBS Documentary 'Roots in the Sand', about the Punjabi immigrants An article on the Ghadr Rebellion Review of a book by Dr. Surjit Kaur on Diaspora Sikhs Indian immigration in Canada An idea for a radio show based on Dilip Singh Saund An article on Dilip Singh Saund A site dedicated to the Komagata Maru incident A site that documents the Bhagat Singh Thind Case Short paper on Asian immigration to America
A research paper on California's Punjabi immigrants


Books :

Echoes of Freedom
Center for South Asian Studies, UC Berkeley

Becoming Canadian: Pioneer Sikhs in Their Own Words
by Sarjeet Singh Jagpal
Harbour Publishing, Vancouver, 1994

Passage From India, Asian Indian Immigrants in North America
by Joan M. Jensen
Yale University Press, New Haven, 1988

The Sikh diaspora: migration and the experience beyond Punjab
by Barrier, Gerald
Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Publications, 1989

The Sikhs of northern California
by La Brack, Bruce
New York: AMS Press, 1988

Making ethnic choices: California's Punjabi Mexican Americans
by Leonard, Karen Isaksen
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992


Project Teams

Important Update for students :

Mentors have been assigned to assist some of the junior students. PLease contact your Mentors ASAP so that they can start helping you on your project. If you need your mentor's phone number, please send me email at

  Team Members Mentor Mentor's email
Team 1

Kulwant Singh
Harpreet Singh
Satnam Singh

Team 2

Sona Kaur
Mona Kaur
Monique Kaur

Simer Sodhi
Team 3

Navjot Kaur
Sandeep Kaur
Gurpreet Singh

Satnam Singh
Team 4 Gagandeep Kaur
Kirandeep Kaur
Team 5 Gurleen Kaur
Vijayant Singh
Sarbjit Singh Thiara
Team 6 Amrit Kaur
Simranjit Singh
Harinder Singh Soin