UC Punjabi Without Walls Initiative, COVID Crisis in India, and Other Updates from Kapany Chair of Sikh and Punjab Studies

Award Date: 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

An update from Professor Anshu Malhotra, Kundan Kaur Kapany Chair of Sikh and Punjab Studies

As the Kapany Chair of Sikh and Punjab Studies this difficult year has brought in something to cheer about. I would like to apprise all of the UC Punjabi Without Walls Initiative. Three UC universities (as co-PIs led by UC Davis, along with UCSB and UCSC) received from the UC Office of the President Innovative Learning Technologies Initiative grant in Spring 2020 to develop the curriculum for the First Year of Elementary Punjabi for students across the UC system in a fully online format. The multi-campus curriculum development team successfully completed the design and creation of the three-course series (PUN 1V, 2V, and 3V); partnered with a software engineer to launch a mobile app companion called UC Punjabi available on iPhone and Android devices; and launched the courses in the Winter 2021 throughout the UC system. The First Year of UC Online Punjabi will be offered on a continual basis beginning in Fall 2021.

We were also fortunate to have the First Annual Kapany Chair Lecture in concert with the Global Colloquium delivered by Professor Inderpal Grewal (Professor Emeritus of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Yale University) on ‘Communal Violence and Visuality in India: Partition, 1984 and Modi’s India’, on 10th February 2021. More on the event here: https://punjab.global.ucsb.edu/news

I would like to condole the deaths in the mass shooting of eight persons on 15th April 2021 at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, four of whom belonged to the Sikh community (Jaswinder Kaur 64, Amarjeet Johal 66, Jaswinder Singh 68, and Amarjit Sekhon 48). These tragic events occur, unfortunately, with unforgivable frequency.

And finally, I also wish to acknowledge the stellar work of the Sikh community during the pandemic, as for example, serving langar (community food) in the spirit of seva (service) in many parts of the US last year, including New York, as cities struggled to cope in the initial phases of the pandemic. Today, as India, my home country, is seeing a gigantic second wave surge in Covid cases, and is grappling with shortages of oxygen and medical supplies, some Sikh community members have again galvanized themselves to help. I will particularly point to the oxygen langar – some air to breathe – that a gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Ghaziabad, near Delhi, has organized for a traumatized citizenry. May the mantra of charhdi kala (spirit of hope and energy) always serve the Sikh people well.


Anshu Malhotra


For more information, please feel free to contact Professor Malhotra: anshumalhotra@ucsb.edu or read more about our Center for Sikh and Punjab Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara: