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General Sikh Sports Illustrated: Calendar 2009


Apr 3, 2005
sikhchic.com | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Article Detail
Sikh Sports Illustrated:
Calendar 2009


Sikhs have excelled in a variety of sports far beyond their numbers and proportion within the populations they live in, and achieved international fame and acclaim.

In India, for example, Sikhs - a mere 2% of the country's population - constituted a majority of the Indian Olympic teams, until merit ceased to be the criteria for selection and regional representation and nepotism became the goal.

Sikh men and women, ranging from their teens to their nineties, have gained world-class stature and brought in awards for their home countries. They have scored on the fields of hockey and cricket, they have run on track and field, they have held their breath in Kabaddi, they have climbed the lofty peaks of the Himalayas and have brought glory even in high technology sports, such as shooting.

Today, they are to be found amongst the ranks of the very best in Britain, Canada, the U.S., a variety of East African and South-East Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations including India.

From the legendary Milkha Singh, nicknamed the "The Flying Sikh", to the upcoming Manjit Kaur, a tall and powerfully built athlete who has already represented India at numerous meets including the 2008 and 2004 Olympics. From Bishan Singh Bedi, the master of spin, who played for India, to Mudhsuden (Monty) Singh Panesar of the English Cricket team. From Avneet Kaur, a young shooter in her twenties to the 97-year-old marathoner, Fauja Singh. From Tara Singh Baraina, the cross-continental "walker", to Capt. Mohinder Singh Kohli, the climber, who scaled Mount Everest. From Kamaldeep Kaur, the trailblazer Sikh, who became the first Indian to win an international medal in athletics, to Balwinder Singh Fiddo, the first to organize the rural sport of Kabaddi into an international sport. From top scorer in Indian women's hockey, Rajbir Kaur, to the toughest full-back in the game, Surjit Singh.

All of them have one thing in common. They are Sikhs and they have remained true to their faith and their sport.

To recognize their fantastic achievements and inspiring roles, the Sikh Foundation International, Palo Alto, presents this year their annual calendar featuring twelve original oil paintings by the artist Sukhpreet Singh.

Sukhpreet was the creator of the images that adorned the 2007 Calendar entitled "Games We Play," depicting the childhood games prevalent in Punjab. His art is currently on display at the new exhibit, "Sikhs: The Legacy of the Punjab" at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.

For Sukhpreet, the very experience of meeting these legendary personalities was surreal. He traveled far and wide to meet these doyens of sports. He spent time with them trying to get to know them before he attempted to capture their personalities on canvas. Some of them were living comfortable lives, while for others, daily life was still a struggle.

But no matter how moist their eyes were today, reliving and reflecting on their medals and successes brought a sparkle to them. Letting them know that the world cared for their struggles and looked up to them for inspiration, made it truly worthwhile.

Milkha Singh recalled his moments on the track in Rome in the 1960 Olympics and why he was so popular with the Italians and other Europeans. Romans had not seen such an athlete with unshorn hair before and they thought he was a saint. Milkha Singh himself admits that he was popular primarliy because he was a Sikh.

Such are the stories that are behind this spectacular Sikh Fine Art Calendar 2009. With its oversized format (15.5" wide and 23.5" high) printed on high quality art paper, it is a perfect for display at home and office. The date pad has sufficient space to write notes and, when the year is out, you can cut it off and keep the calendar as a poster book or frame each work.

As a perfect conversation piece, it will be extremely useful both for introducing non-Sikhs to the sporting achievements of Sikhs, as well as inspiring and enlightening Sikhs of all ages.
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