Written byAakanksha Raghuvanshi
An 18-year-old girl in the US has made a short film SINGH based on a true story of an Indian-American Sikh philanthropist, Gurinder Singh Khalsa, whose campaign forced the authorities in the US to change their policy towards turban of the Sikh community.
Directed by Jenna Ruiz, a student, and actor from Indiana, the film is based on an incident that happened in 2007.
The film shows the incident when Sikh entrepreneur Khalsa, was denied boarding a flight in Buffalo, New York, when he refused to remove his turban after successfully passing through each security measure at the airport.
Following this incident, Indianapolis-based Khalsa worked towards bringing the issue to the attention of the US Congress, which later resulted in headgear policies being changed in airports nationwide.
Khalsa was conferred with the prestigious Rosa Parks Trailblazer award on January 18, 2019, for his campaign. In the short film, Khalsa is made to choose between his religious beliefs and his flight to see his mother in her last days.
"It's an honor to be able to showcase a moment in history that led to change in our TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Policy regarding the removal of headgear," said Ruiz, who is pursuing a bachelors degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
She said the film "will shed light on the true vulnerability and fear that comes with being racially profiled."
"It's one man's real-life story that will shed light on the true vulnerability and fear that comes with being racially profiled. This film will allow viewers to experience firsthand what it's like to be made to choose between religious beliefs and everyday life," said Ruiz.
Since her start in the film industry at the age of nine, Ruiz has had the opportunity to appear in multiple films and commercials, as well as write, shoot and produce several films and music-videos.
SINGH has been filmed at the Indianapolis International Airport and will release next month.
Khalsa, head of the Indiana-based Sikhs Political Affairs Committee, had spoken of 'religious liberty,' earlier.
"I took this stand for all those who believe in religious liberty and freedom of faith," Khalsa had said before.
"Incidents like this one happens for the greater good, where misunderstandings occur between people of different backgrounds and faith, strengthen our society," said Khalsa, who recently announced that he will enter electoral politics in America and will run for City Council of Fishers.
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