You don’t have to be an academic to understand that how we educate the public about Sikhism has an enormous impact on how the rest of the world perceives us. As a Sikh man, there isn’t a single day that goes by, when I don’t have a moment or share an interaction that makes me think about the importance of this education. I know I’m not alone and few would disagree that educating mainstream America about Sikhi plays a direct role in reducing discrimination and bigotry.
In the late 1990s, I remember writing to the Encyclopedia Britannica and the American Heritage Dictionary, both of which misrepresented Sikhism as a cocktail blending Hindu and Islamic traditions. Letter after letter from many others and me went without a response. During that time it became abundantly clear to me that we lacked the institutions and the credibility to be taken seriously by publishers.