My neighbourhood is currently seeing an influx of Punjabi migrants from India, most of whom are middle to upper class Sikh people. As a result the bigger churches in my area don’t look as large, when compared to the local Sikh Gurdwara (temple) which now is home to over 1000 worshippers. Of course this has meant that it has become quite normal to see older Sikh men walking around in their traditional turbans and women in their saris. However I have watched with fascination how the younger members of the Sikh community seem to be expressing their culture and faith. Instead of turbans and saris, the Punjabi youthtend to show their commitment to faith by giant car stickers featuring a strange synthesis of traditional Sikh symbols and hip hop slang such as ‘Punjabi’s on da rize!’.
This mash-up of traditional Indian with western youth culture is symbolic of the emergence of a new kind of young person that is appearing on the Indian sub-continent. Half of India’s one billion people are under twenty five. Whilst many of these youth live in abject poverty, the growing middle class is being spied with envy by youth marketers who are keen to get their hands on their estimated $10.5 billion dollars in disposable income.