The poster shown above belongs to Dr. Avtar Singh Tinna, a dentist from Punjab, India. In his decades since moving to the U.S., Dr. Tinna has fought ceaselessly to increase the Sikh voice domestically and internationally, acting as an activist and an organizer of Sikh community events. The poster above is of Fouja Singh, a friend and a role model to Dr. Tinna.
It is one of his most prized possessions - I can tell because after after a full, exhausting day of work, the energized doctor insists I wait for a minute as he runs to the back of his office. He comes back carrying this poster, and the pride he feels for Fouja Singh and for the Sikh community is etched into the crows feet around his gentle eyes. The poster is a reminder to Dr. Tinna of his culture and community back home. It reminds him of his roots, and routinely shows him that one is never old enough to inspire or to contribute.
"People don't run for fun back home, " Dr. Tinna told me once. It is ironic, then, that here he runs for his home - he runs with other Sikhi, creating a new community in a land thousands of miles from the fields by which he grew up.
I imagine Dr. Tinna had the poster made himself - in my 18 years in the Sikh community, I have never seen any like it. But the poster's existence is not nearly as important as Dr. Tinna's excitement to share it, a testament to the doctor's own passion for his community and his dedication to strengthening it.
– Sarvar Dhillon