Thursday, 16 February 2012


This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:

Filming plight of destitute Sikhs
A filmmaker has returned from Afghanistan after filming a documentary to highlight the country's segregated Sikh society.
Bobby Singh, of Syston, flew to Kabul in January to shoot a documentary about the Gudwara Har Rai Sahib – a Sikh temple which has become home to about 1,000 displaced people.
The historic place of worship is riddled with thousands of bullet holes from US and Taliban fighters.
Writer Bobby, 43, spent a week with a film crew from Birmingham television channel Sikh TV.
He said: "I wanted to highlight the dwindling Sikh community in Afghanistan, which has dropped from about 60,000 to a mere 1,000."Most Sikhs have fled the country to places like London, India and Canada.
"But the few who remain are ostracised by the Afghans and have become destitute – forced to live within the confines of their temple.
"They do not go outside the walls of the temple. Their whole lives are spent there."
The three-part documentary will be aired on Sikh TV in April.
It includes interviews with Afghan Sikh families and those confined to the temple.
One man, 26-year-old Narinder Singh, said: "Life is not the same as it was decades back.
"Most of the rich Sikh families have fled and today only the poor Sikhs remain within the gurdwara complex as they are unable to afford their own properties. There are no schools for the children or any teachers here.
"Children spend most of their time doing virtually nothing and so are void of any education."
Narinder said due to the lack of education, young Sikh children had no future while they remained in Kabul.
Bobby said he was planning to submit the documentary for a number of film festivals, including events in Toronto, Qatar and Sheffield.

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