Hands Against Racism goes global

Ravi Singh
Ravi Singh

Already in its eighth year, an anti-racism campaign started by Canada-based Spice Radio got a major boost when world renowned humanitarian Ravi Singh joined it on Wednesday, February 2.

The Khalsa Aid founder from England, known for his philanthropy in countries hit by conflicts and natural disasters, raised his hand in the air while holding out a sign reading, “Sarbat Da Bhala” (blessings for everyone) to show his solidarity with Hands Against Racism, which started on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in January, 2015.

Everyday Sikh prayer ends with these three words, which are sacred to the community and have remained a driving force behind Khalsa Aid.

Singh tweeted, “We must all take a stand against racism in all its forms.” He is a strong defender of human rights and remains vocal against social injustice and repression anywhere across the globe. His team was in the forefront of providing oxygen cylinders to those in need during COVID 19 in India, and has been serving langar (community meal) without discrimination to people of all faith groups in war torn regions and those devastated by calamities. He himself had to face the wrath of right wing trolls numerous times for standing up for minorities in India and elsewhere.

The Spice Radio initiative was launched by Shushma Datt, a seasoned broadcaster of Indian heritage. It continues to grow in terms of it’s following in Canada, and has been endorsed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier John Horgan.

Coinciding with Holi – an Indian festival of colour – participants in the campaign are encouraged to dip their hands in colour and leave a palm print on white paper, along with a message against bigotry. This year however, due to COVID 19 restrictions, people were urged to send in their pictures and post them on social media with a hand in the air and a message of love.

Apart from Singh, others sent similar images from India.

Ranjit Kaur
Ranjit Kaur

Among them is social justice activist Ranjit Kaur, who stepped forward to post her picture with a hand up in the air and holding a “Stop Racism” sign in the other on social media.

Kaur lost her father in a racist attack on the Guru Nanak Singh Gurdwara in Surrey in January, 1998.

Nirmal Singh Gill was a caretaker, who had died in the line of duty when white supremacists invaded the temple.

Kaur was in India when the incident happened and has been living there since.

She is socially active in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Punjab and has been vocal against injustice and repression of women and those marginalized.

Balbir Madhopuri
Balbir Madhopuri

Likewise, award winning Punjabi author Balbir Madhopuri, who has extensively written on the issue of caste-based oppression against Dalits or so-called untouchables in the Indian society, also sent his picture from New Delhi while standing next to the portrait of Mangu Ram Mugowalia, a towering leader of the Dalit emancipation movement in Punjab. He has written two books on Mugowalia, including a novel that recently received an award from Vancouver-based The Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature.

Sippy Bhasin
Sippy Bhasin

Not to be left behind, Ludhiana-based businesswoman and social worker Sippy Bhasin also sent one to show her support for the campaign, which will go on until March 21, the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination.

Hanna Kawas
Hanna Kawas

In the meantime, pro-Palestine activist Hanna Kawas did his part by sending in a picture holding sign that read, “End Apartheid! Free Palestine!” in one and the other up in the air. Though Kawas is based in British Columbia, his cause is a part of the international solidarity movement. He strongly believes that Israeli occupation of Palestine amounts to institutional racism.

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