Sikhs Protest insensitive pictures of Guru

Magazine in soup for calling Arjan Dev ‘golfing guru’

Khushwant Singh | TNN

Washington: The Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund (SALDEF), the oldest Sikh civil rights’ and advocacy organisation in the US, has asked premium golfing magazine, Golf Digest, to apologize for depicting Sikhism’s fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev, as ‘‘Golfing Guru’’ in its May edition.
The storm was kicked up after an American Sikh, Harjit Singh Sandhar, noted the depiction while on flight to Washington DC from Tulsa. He and his cousin, Sartaj Singh reported the matter to SALDEF.
‘‘The image appeared along with an article — the Golf Guru — on the magazine’s 66th page. It appeared at the beginning of the article, which answers readers questions on golf,’’ SALDEF said, adding, ‘‘The image, at first glance, appears to be a south Asian bearded, turbaned man with golfing gloves and stick.

But the image is a picture of Guru Arjan Dev.’’ In a letter to the Golf Digest publisher, Thomas Blair, SALDEF said, ‘‘The decision to use the picture shows cultural and religious ignorance of Golf Digest staff and executives.’’

SALDEF chairman, Manjit Singh, said they had brought the matter to the magazine’s notice, about a month back. ‘‘Since we got no response, SALDEF decided to raise the matter within the community,’’ he said, adding, ‘‘Since the mistake has been brought to the editor’s notice, it should be corrected.’’

Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) has also condemned the depiction and described it as blasphemous. ‘‘The way Golf Digest doctored the image is clearly blasphemous and shows they are insensitive. They should have first determined who Guru Arjan Dev is before using his image,’’ SCORE chairman, Rajwant Singh, said.

Golf Digest is self-proclaimed number one publication in its genre. Published by Advance publications, the magazine is a generalist golf publication covering recreational and competitive golf.

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