Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
MICROPOLIS: Sikh Men & the Meaning of Turbans
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 04:00 AM
In this latest episode of Micropolis, we examine the age-old persecution of Sikhs, from India to post-9/11 America. Why do Sikhs such as actor Waris Ahluwalia (Inside Man, The Darjeeling Limited) identify with the racial history of African Americans?
And why, despite persecution and name-calling, do Sikh men continue to wear turbans?
The answer can partly be found in the video below, which takes place at the dastaar bandi, or turban-tying ceremony, of Saihajdeep Singh, a 16-year-old in Norwalk, Conn.
"It's like the introduction into manhood in our religion," said Saihajdeep, who chose a bright blue cloth for his inaugural turban.
His parents sat nearby, along with numerous elders.
"They expect me to be a little more mature around the house, take care of my younger sisters, and help around the house with chores, and other things like setting the table and taking out the trash," he said.
Listen to the full Micropolis episode above.