The past month has kept Nishkam TV busy with many events that provoked thought and incited us to stand by our legacy. The Sikh Arts & Film Festival organized by Sikh American Veterans Alliance and Sikhlens, that Nishkam TV covered in Princeton, New Jersey was one such event that explored identity, freedom, and heritage. SAVA is a non-profit organization that works to ensure people from all religious backgrounds are to serve in the U.S. military by keeping their articles of faith intact.
The Festival itself was a selection of thoughtful and educational Sikh short films. It spanned from fictional to intense biographies. During the two sessions, the team had the chance to enjoy short films that explored identity, freedom, and heritage. Nishkam TV team conducted interviews and recorded the festival.
Our team also had the privilege to interview many important figures involved in the Sikh Arts and Film Festival. Colonel Kamal Kalsi and Chinar Kalsi founded SAVA (Sikh American Veterans Alliance). Colonel Kamal Kalsi treated combat casualties in the US Army. SAVA works to strengthen our military while supporting a larger American community of civil rights and religious freedom advocates. SAVA also helped pave the way that has gotten many Sikhs into the US army with their team.
SAVA collaborated with Sikhlens in the 2019 Sikh Arts and Film Festival. Bicky Singh is the founder of Sikhlens. He created a film festival to increase the awareness of Sikhs amidst mainstream Americans.
One of the films featured was ‘Kesari’ written by Gurinder Pal Josan Singh. Kesari was based on the Battle Of Saragarhi where 21 Sikhs fought an army of 10,000 Afghans.
We also had the opportunity to chat with Jagjeevan Kaur, a journalist for Sikh Good Things. Sikh Good Things focuses on spreading awareness of Sikhs in America.
Sikhlens also screened the film named Jutti Kasoori. Jutti Kasoori is a film about Punjabi women who came to California in the early 1900s and their stories and struggles. Rajharind Kaur and Jag Pratap Singh are the narrators of the film Jutti Kasoori.
Another attendee at the SAVA film festival was Surinder Kaur Puar. Renowned author, Surinder Kaur, channels her genuine passion for teaching by training teachers and inspiring students at Sant Baba Bhag Singh University at Jallandhar, Punjab, India. She is one of the initial founders from the Sangat in New Jersey to start the Sunday Khalsa School. Her background and passion for teaching are what inspired her to proceed to write many pieces such as Sikhs of New Jersey – The Pioneers from Punjab, Light of Santpura, Mother’s Day Bliss, and Punjabi Language Simplified. Surinder inspires communities worldwide through her words and actions.