Lessons from Wisconsin hate crime victim

Punjab Singh shot while trying to close the doors to save the lives of others by a killer with white supremacist ties during a mass shooting that left six others dead at Oak Creek gurdwara in August 2012

By Jagjeevan Kaur | US | OPINION |

My name is Jagjeevan Kaur. I’m an independent videojournalist with Sikh Good Things, and I’m happy to introduce myself as a new columnist for Asia Samachar.

I hope to be able to entertain and share some insight of my little teeny speck on the Universe that is called the USA.

I will be traveling throughout each of the 50 states and hope to speak with you eventually from each one of them.

I watched a video being passed around WhatsApp about a 105-year-old man who never leaves his desk, always focusing on his work which is seven days a week running a family farming company. He seems happy, and it’s wonderful for him. He made a point of advising not to stay in bed or be unproductive and to always work to make money.

There are many ways of thinking. I have been in my bed the entire day today and have done much creative and satisfying work. Not all work brings money but has other rewards and is helpful to others.

I always write about what I believe is the proven, pathway to Success. It’s gratitude. It requires no specific education, salary or license and is a guaranteed path. This 105-year-old man inspired me to write some thoughts today.

In August 2017, I met a man who changed me in so many ways. I met a man who taught me a lifetime lesson about eternal optimism and gratitude. His name is Baba Punjab Singh Ji.

He served the Indian army for 19 years and fought in the Indo-Pakistani wars in 1965 and 1971. He was a saint-solider. He was a superior athlete and could meditate for hours.

He dedicated his life to charity, educating children, empowering women and helping the impoverished. He was a husband and he was a Papaji of four, and he’s grandpa of at least seven.

Baba Punjab Singh Ji can only blink his eyes laying on his bed semi-comatose and paralyzed for the past seven years due to a hate crime that occurred in the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek.

He was shot while trying to close the doors to save the lives of others by a killer with white supremacist ties during a mass shooting that left six others dead in the Sikh Temple of Oak Creek Wisconsin on August 5, 2012.

August 11th was his 72nd birthday and there is a LOT to celebrate!

He was a religious teacher and now it keeps him alive to continue his career of teaching to always be in Chardi Kala (eternal optimism) by blinking twice for YES when asked if he is still in Chardi Kala. Even from his bed–no paycheck required, look how he teaches us!

Now, when I’m in any type of difficulty, I think of my short and powerful well-taught lesson and I know that everything will be ok; whatever my circumstances are I will be grateful for them, we don’t always get to choose our outcomes.

We don’t always or maybe even ever get to understand why things happen either…or why others do the things they do which affect us.

Baba Punjab Singh Ji didn’t choose this outcome.
He continues to connect to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and listens to simran and katha as always and he teaches from his bed lessons that can’t be found in Ivy League universities.

“Keeping Busy” is NOT what life is about. We have all heard the phrase “busy work.”

It’s not where you work from, it’s where your heart is. Seva (selfless service) doesn’t pay money, but somehow we live much richer lives.

When earning money we will, “Be Active” but when spreading the wealth of kindness and compassion we will “Just Be.”

Sometimes we get to do both and earn money doing what we love to do!

I am working towards that personally in my newfound career as a videojournalist but and when that money does come I will remember to use it to help others, to pay it forward.

Most Important…

1. Be grateful.

2. BE.

Happy birthday and stay in chardi kala, Baba Punjab Singh Ji!

#sikhgoodthings #sikhawareness #sikhidentity #sikhsinamerica #sikhi #sikh #oakcreek #sikhtempleofoakcreek


Jagjeevan Kaur lives in the US. She is presently a videojournalist with Sikh Good Things



California Sikh farmer still working at 105 (Asia Samachar, 24 Nov 2018)

For Oak Creek Sikh Temple members, the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings were all too familiar (Asia Samachar, 30 Oct 2018)


ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |


  1. ਜੀ, thank you for the welcome! Hanji, I was born Jewish in Queens, New York in 1965. I learned about the Sikh Community in 2011 and all of the hate crimes, violence and bullying and began to speak about them whenever I could as I was bullied a lot myself growing up. In 2015, someone else who may look very familiar to you invited me to his Gurdwara go celebrate Vaisakhi with his family and in the very first moments of the very first shabad I fell in love with Sikhi. I just knew that I was Sikh, but I took 11 months to study online before I returned again and was completely ready to make the decision to leave my old religion behind, when even though I was told that it was not necessary to convert love Sikhi and that I was welcome any time…I will continue the rest of the story in my next article!

  2. Welcome Jagjeevan. Welcome to our part of this planet! You look familiar! Nice to see that you are going to share some inspirational stories with us.
    Sikhs are today a growing global ‘Quom’ (community) and communication from all parts of the globe is important. We are not just an Indian community but global. I will suggest that you are not of Indian origin. Even more important so that we can get a more global perspective of Sikhi and Sikhs.
    Guru Ji’s Blessings .