Punjab Research Group

Ajay Bhardwaj – Three Films on Punjab at frankbrazil.org

Posted in Events, Film by gsjandu on August 30, 2013
ajay bhardwaj

ajay bhardwaj

The PRG is pleased to announce that Ajay’s three films on Punjab are now available on DVD via a new platform recently launched called www.frankbrazil.org. Below is a little about Tajender’s wonderfully named website:

What is Frank Brazil?

The name Frank Brazil was an alias of the Indian revolutionary Udham Singh.

Frank Brazil is an intiative launched in August 2013 by artist Tajender Sagoo. She graduated from Central Saint Martin’s in textile design, specialising in weaving. Sagoo went on to teach and work as a weaver before pursuing a career as an artist and curator.

We aim to be a platform for South Asian* communities in the UK and overseas. Frank Brazil will assist in generating new ways of seeing South Asian everyday cultures and languages. 

Another core aim of Frank Brazil is to encourage South to South conversations to facilitate the building of knowledge systems outside of western hegemony.

We seek to work with organisations, community groups, thinkers, makers, writers, artists and activists to produce, commission and merchandise new work. 

We are particularly interested in presenting rare and challenging work in art and design to a wider audience. 

We do not subscribe to any elitist hierarchy of art and design and aim to be an open and participatory arts organisation. 

We work on digital and non-digital platforms and media.

We use the pricing mechanism as a tool to distribute our work and to benefit artists. Any surpluses created through this pricing policy will be distributed to good causes. 

*For South Asia read India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan and communities worldwide including Trinidad, Kenya, Guyana, Uganda, South Africa, Jamaica, Canada, UK, Europe and USA.

Details available at:

E: info@frankbrazil.org

T: 075 3047 2483

Send postal enquiries to:

Frank Brazil c/o Tajender Sagoo

Limehouse Town Hall

646 Commercial Road


E14 7HA

This post’s contact: gorby.jandu@gmail.com


Autar Dhesi – Some Writings in England

Posted in Articles, Diaspora, News/Information by gsjandu on August 29, 2013


A Southall man who came to Britain in 1958 with a BSc in Natural Science from Punjab University, was awarded his Ph.D. in national economic planning from the University of Birmingham, on Friday.
He is Mr. Autar Singh Dhesi of 176 Regina Road, Southall.
Mr. Dhesi won a post-graduate diploma in Development Administration at Leeds in 1966. Two years later, he was awarded an M.Sc. in International Economics at Surrey University. In 1971 he qualified for a M.Soc.Sc. degree at Birmingham University, where he won a Research Council Scholarship in Social Sciences. In between he taught at Coventry University.
Mr. Dhesi was secretary of Southall Indian Worker’s Association for many years, and joint secretary of the National India Defence Fund Committee. He was a founder member of the Campaign Against Racial Discrimination.
In 1963, he was the first Indian from Southall to be invited to the Queen’s Garden party.

(Published in Middlesex County Times (London), July 19, 1974)

Below are some of the author’s writings kindly received at the PRG from the Punjab University.

Student Graffiti by A. Dhesi

a.dhesi prg (pdf)

The Kenya Land & Freedom Depository Project, London

Posted in Events, News/Information by gsjandu on July 19, 2013

Kenyan born artist Tajender Sagoo is inviting artists, activists, journalists, thinkers and citizens to contribute to a depository of experiences, reflecting on life in the British colony of Kenya, especially during the Emergency 1950 – 1960 and the Mau Mau liberation struggle.

The Land & Freedom Depositions project seeks to explore the silences present in the ongoing British narrative of Kenya via the construction of a new visual dialogue. Sagoo aims to create a space for untold stories. The deposition project will become part of an exhibition to be held in London at the end of the year.

“Listening to my father talking about the reality of living and working in British Kenya made me realise how much the British state have hidden from us,” says Sagoo.

All types of *physical or non- physical items and ideas can be deposited in the project. It can be text based, oral or a photograph of an object or a copy of a Kipande (pass card) or a Loyalty certificate. (Other items might be essays, articles, diaries, schoolbooks, adverts, tickets, domestic items, textiles, recipes, songs, poetry etc.) Or you may want to present a talk or event that can be recorded for the depository. *(please do not submit original material).

Deposits submitted to the project will undergo a system of classification where they will be divided into a white, grey or black group, (in reference to the classification system used in the internment camps).

For more information about making a deposition please contact Tajender Sagoo or Saleh Mamon.


In October 1952 the British declared a state of emergency in Kenya to suppress a growing independence movement commonly known as the Mau Mau war of liberation. (Mau Mau was also referred to as the Kenya Land and Freedom Army).

There are many people living today who were in Kenya during the Emergency period, in which the British administration operated a colour bar system, racially segregating the African, South Asian and European communities.

The Kenya Emergency was a brutal campaign of detention without trial characterised by a system of punitive punishments put in place to counter the calls for independence. Communities were interned in camps and underwent a system of “cleansing” called the Pipeline. People were classified into White, Grey or Black groups according to how loyal to the Kenyan State they were. White being the most loyal and Black being ‘Mau Mau’.

Recently, in a case spanning 10 years, three Kenyans Jane Muthoni Mara, 73, Paulo Muoka Nzili, 85 and Wambugu wa Nyingi, 84 took legal action against the UK Government for the torture they suffered at the hands of British officials during the Mau Mau uprising between 1952 and 1960.

In an historic judgment (October 2012), the High Court rejected the British Government’s attempt to strike out the claims of the three Kenyan victims of British Colonial torture on the grounds that the claims were time barred.

In June 2013, the British government announced an out of court settlement with the torture victims. For further info see http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2013/June-2013/Statement-from-Leigh-Day-on-Kenyan-torture-victim


Born in Kenya, Tajender Sagoo is an artist/weaver and curator of the Pop Samiti project based in London. Her practice uses textiles in a multi disciplinary approach. She has a strong interest in using pattern and colour to investigates the relationships between objects and the ideas that they express in the historical and modern experience.

Saleh Mamon is co- curator of the Kenya Land & Freedom Depository project. Born in Kenya he is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Goldsmith Centre of Culture Studies. He witnessed the forced removal of Kenyan African men by armed soldiers on open trucks in Nairobi at the age of twelve. He is interested in the ‘hidden’ history of the Third World. In the mainstream discourse the violent process of colonisation and suppression of resistance by armed force remains largely erased. He believes strongly that this production of history needs to be challenged and an alternative explored to reveal the experience of the colonised peoples.

This is an independent project, it is not funded by any organisation or institution.


If you would like to make a deposition or make an enquiry contact:

Tajender Sagoo (popsamiti@gmail.com ) or Saleh Mamon ( salehmamon@yahoo.co.uk)

Limehouse Town Hall

646 Commercial Road

London E14 7HA

Tel:075 3047 2483

The Sikh Turban: Exploring An Icon Of A Migratory Peoples’ Identity

Posted in Events, Migration, Research, sikhs by gsjandu on May 15, 2013

Research Consultation: Anthropological Collection on Sikh Turbans

The Horniman Museum, London

Kind assistance is requested with researching a collection displaying the dastar as part of Sikhs’ global migration. The collection has three aspirations; to firstly display the pagh’s physical variation as geographically dichotomous and freighting a regionally intrinsic identity trope for instance Makhan Singh as a kalasingha wearing a Kenyan kilemba. Secondly to consider the pagh and its contentious role in Sikh identity within the milieu of other head-coverings e.g. Mitres in Europe during The Middle Ages. Thirdly to reflect on the pagh in Sikh-Britain relationships e.g. Winterhalter’s 1854 portrait of Duleep Singh  or turbaned Sikhs as stock British Armed Forces’ media images. Thoughts on the collection mode and process are especially welcomed. The Horniman Museum Collections can be explored at www.horniman.ac.uk, whilst the researchers can be reached on gorby.jandu@gmail.com and JZetterstrom-Sharp@horniman.ac.uk. The collection is due to gain exhibition in 2014 with displays finalised by end 2013.


Posted in Conferences by gsjandu on April 30, 2013

The conference will be held at Queen Mary University of London on Saturday, 18th May, 2013. It is sponsored by the GLOCUL: Centre for Culture and Law, School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London and the Jakara Movement.

Proposals for individual papers should be no more than 250 words in length and may be uploaded at the conference website, with a current CV/resume.

Abstracts Submission Deadline:

3rd May, 2013.

Please send all inquiries to info@sikholars.org.

For more information, please visit our website



Since 2010, the Sikholars: Sikh Graduate Student Conference has been bringing together advanced graduate students working on a variety of subjects related to the study of Sikhs and Panjab. Pairing community organization with Stanford University’s Center for South Asia, the conference has hosted students from Pakistan to Canada, India to France from over 25 universities. We are excited to bring this venture to London in conjunction with Queen Mary University of London.

We are pleased to announce our call for papers. With topics ranging from Gurmukhi fonts in Unix Coding to sex-selective abortion, from Nihangs in the court of Ranjit Singh to diasporic literature, from the Khalistan movement to the North American bhangra circuit, from Sikh sculpture and architecture to representations of masculinity in Panjabi films, we encourage the widest possible range of those pursuing graduate studies on Sikh and Panjab related topics.

Udham Singh Reading Room. London. 21st September to 18th November 2012.

Posted in News/Information by gsjandu on October 25, 2012

Punjab’s Icons: Sagoo’s Exercise in Remembrance

Tajender has suceeded in doing two things; firstly providing access to a beloved Punjab icon to a new audience via the choice of venue and secondly opening up the debate on the secular / religious nature of the icon’s actions. Both points will be remembered for the pioneering medium of exhibition used.

Textiles, paper and heraldic colours adorning the reading room do more than prick the imagination, they blow a gale force into the psyche. In some ways the vividness of the room are a delicate balance to the colours often association with the popular images of Udham Singh. Black and White photos, black typewritten scripts of the Police reports are countered with pastel yellows and reds, solid textile print essays remind the visitor of seriousness of the exhibition.

Recounting all the names that Udham Singh was known for is also an admirable task, as it invites the visitor to consider that an itinerant Sikh could be a freedom fighter that was also called Frank Brasil. Finally referencing academic works and engaging with the commentariat make this exhibition a dialectic joy. Go and see it.

Viewing is by appointment, which only adds to the verbosity of the experience.

Pop Samiti Studio

Limehouse Town

646 Commercial Road


E14 7HA


Open every Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12 – 6pm.

Admission Free

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