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Smithsonian Helps Preserve Sikh Culture

35-year-old Chicago-based doctor, Chirinjeev Singh Kathuria, gave up medicine to pursue business ventures in telecommunications. Kathuria, telecom baron Walt Anderson and other businesspeople invested more than $30 million in MirCorp to commercialize space. Their plan was to use the Mir space station but it was de-orbited last month by Russia since it was old and expensive. But Kathuria and his associates fought for their dream. MirCorp's first customer, California-based investment counselor Dennis Tito will travel on a Soyuz spacecraft this Saturday. Kathuria earned Bachelor of Science and Doctorate of Medicine degrees from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Stanford. and I.A.N.S., Aug. 29, 2001

"It was a defining moment for Sikh Americans as they came together under the aegis of the prestigious Smithsonian institution to preserve their culture and heritage. A lecture series at the Smithsonian National History Museum this month kicked off the first phase of the institution's Sikh Heritage Project. The project was set up 10 months ago to find, protect and display cultural and historical artefacts of the Sikh people of India and Pakistan. 'This is a unique opportunity for Americans to understand something about the Sikh heritage and its relevance in the modern world,' Jeevan Singh Deol, who is coordinating the effort, said. Deol, a research associate at the Asian Culture History Program and a fellow in Indian history from Cambridge's St John's College, is a specialist in Sikh history and Punjabi literature."
"Central to the project is the development of a new Sikh exhibit case in the Hall of the Asian peoples, which according to Paul Michael Taylor, director of the Asian Cultural History Program at the Smithsonian, is expected to open in spring 2002. Deol has been travelling to India and Pakistan to obtain Sikh manuscripts, paintings and other objects for the exhibition next spring. The exhibition will be the first long-term installation on Sikh history in an American museum. . . . According to Deol, only about 10 per cent of Sikh treasures remain, the rest have vanished, with a few sold in the international market. . . . The keynote speaker at the celebrations that followed the lecture series was one of America's most successful Sikh entrepreneurs, Chirinjeev Singh Kathuria, a benefactor of the project. Kathuria said: 'The best way to kill a culture is to kill its history and language. If we don't do anything our culture and history will be gone forever.' "