Portraits of Sikh Gurus Removed from LA Bar After Protest


By Indiawest

CALIFORNIA:  A café-cum-bar here, which had outraged Sikhs by displaying portraits of their Gurus in its bar area (I-W, Sept. 27), has removed them.

The Sikh community welcomed the decision of the Pikey Bar and Restaurant to remove the portraits of the Sikh Gurus.

“United Sikhs is humbled to successfully address another issue which had deeply hurt the sentiments of the Sikhs. In future, we hope business establishments will be more considerate of, and sensitive towards, religious sentiments of every community,” said Manmeet Singh of United Sikhs, a Sikh advocacy group.

The Indian American group had launched an online petition on behalf of the Sikh community, which requested the Pikey Bar and Restaurant management to respect the religious sentiments of the Sikhs by removing the portraits of the revered Sikh Gurus from the bar.

The North American Punjabi Association also welcomed the removal of the portraits, according to Satnam Singh Chahal, NAPA executive director.

Karam Grewal, who had alerted India-West to the issue, had commented in an earlier story to this paper that “Our religion is very against drinking. Hanging pictures of our guru where people are drinking is very disrespectful,” adding: “Images of Guru Gobind Singh are only found in gurdwaras or in private homes.”

“Pikey has tried to create an Indo-British feel to its Maharaja room, where portraits of maharajahs hang alongside pictures of Sikh saints,” Grewal had said.

Manmeet Singh’s statement said: “I want to thank all my friends and concerned folks, including those who opposed me and said it is okay to have the Gurus’ photographs in the bar.”

The group’s planned protest in front of the bar has been called off, said Singh, adding that: “I also want to thank Eric Shaney and the bar owners for working with us to resolve this issue peacefully…This issue arises out of pure ignorance as we…have failed miserably to spread awareness of our faith, our culture and our existence.”

According to Singh, the owners and two of the managers at the bar had said that when they were decorating the walls, they “genuinely thought that these were India’s maharajas’ photographs.”…

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