SikhNet Annual Report 2008
Early each year SikhNet, in its role as a non-profit corporation, publishes its annual report online so that the previous year can be easily summed up all in one place. Here is the official annual report of SikhNet's activities, growth and status during the 2008 calendar year.
Table of Contents
1. Letter from the C.E.O.
2. The Debut of SikhNet 2.0
3. Live! 300 Saal celebration, Hazoor Sahib
4. Live! The Third Annual SikhNet Youth Film Festival
5. SikhNet Inspirations Videos and DVDs
6. Sikh Audio Stories for Children
7. New Daily Hukamnama System
8. The SikhNet Browser Toolbar
9. Your personalized "MySikhNet" Page and Live Feeds
10. SikhNet Sponsorship System
12. SikhNet’s Growth
13. Financial Summary
14. SikhNet Sevadars
15. The SikhNet Staff
A Letter from the Chief Executive Officer:
For several years SikhNet has been struggling with the limitations of our old Web site infrastructure. Each year we talked about creating a completely new SikhNet Web site, and finally in 2008, we were able to do something about it! “SikhNet 2.0” made its debut in May 2008. The new Web site features easier navigation along with many new features and a completely new look.
Amidst increasing global awareness of Sikhs in 2008, the media, as usual, focused mainly on the negative — crimes. SikhNet chose consciously to search out and feature the successes and the seva of Sikhs around the world. Our motto is: “Good News — Good Will” meaning that the more we highlight the successes and good work of Sikhs everywhere, the more we can help create good will towards Sikhs everywhere.
Here at SikhNet thousands of people email us to express their gratitude for the inspiration that SikhNet provides to them every day. Here’s one that I received a few days ago:
“SikhNet has changed my life. I saw the videos of Sri Singh Sahib and really got inspired. I now wear my turban, do simran in the morning, go to Gurudwara every weekend and have become vegetarian. I have more self-control than I ever had before. Sikhnet helps me be in touch with my Guru and my faith day in and day out.”
Constantly seeing these little ways in which so many lives are touched and transformed by SikhNet moves me personally and amazes and inspires me every day, making me feel ever so extremely blessed and grateful to have been chosen by my Guru to participate in this seva.
In 2009, SikhNet is focusing on the creation of new ways to reach an even wider audience and serve it better than ever. Among many projects, this includes bringing SikhNet to mobile phones and other mobile devices through SMS and SikhNet mobile applications providing modular content you can integrate with your own computer desktop, phone or web site, along with a redesigned more friendly Gurbani Library section, which will make Gurbani much easier to find, forward and download. You'll even be able to upload your own tracks to the SikhNet kirtan library.
To all of the SikhNet family and SikhNet supporters, I say let us continue to work together this year to bring the modern, practical message of the Guru’s bani and the lifestyle of Sikhi to more and more people everywhere to help build a better world for the coming generations. It’s a team effort, and YOU are part of the SikhNet team. Thank you!
Guruka Singh Khalsa
Chief Operating Officer, SikhNet, LLC
The Debut of SikhNet 2.0
SikhNet has gone through many revisions over the past 12 years, but 2008 represents a very big change from the previous system which has been the same for many years. It's a big step for us and a big improvement for SikhNet users. In addition to a whole new infrastructure, some of the most visible changes to SikhNet so far are:
• A simplified and reorganized home page
• Content oriented more like a multimedia/electronic magazine with the focus on articles, audio and video
• A Flash news scroller on our Home page that visually shows featured articles
• A strong focus on video content with featured videos on the home page.
• Beautiful custom artwork for major sections by Kanwar Singh (ArtOfPunjab.com)
• A new Daily Hukamnama Page that no longer requires the installation of Gurmukhi fonts
• Drop-Down navigation bar makes the navigation more consolidated so you don't have to keep scrolling down the page to find what you want.
• Wider page orientation geared towards modern technology. Most people have higher resolution monitors and are viewing the web by 1024x768 or higher rather than the old 800x600.
Old SikhNet Design
New SikhNet Design
In 2008, as thousands of our brothers and sisters gathered at Takhat Sachkand in Hazoor Sahib in October to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Guru Granth Sahib, SikhNet, working with Sikh Dharma International, had the blessing to be able to share the joy of this timeless celebration with our global sangat in “real time” through Ek Ong Kaar Kaur’s live daily audio reports and Sat Sundri Kaur’s unique and beautiful photos.
Go to the 300 Saal section - www.SikhNet.com/300saal
Live! The Third Annual SikhNet Youth Film Festival
Since its debut in 2006, the SikhNet Youth Film Festival has become an annual event. Most people in the world don't know who Sikhs are and what we are all about, nor have they experienced our love of Seva and our Cherdi Kala spirit! This unique event is a great way to spread the living experience of Sikhi and Sikh identity to give people the experience of our spirit, values and culture. Our intention is that this educational and fun event will allow many people to get involved in the world of film and media and continue explore its benefits to the Sikh community.
Film Festival winners from previous years like Angad Singh and Jasmeet Singh have gone on to have their films shown on television as well as having them screened at other film festivals around the world. SikhNet Film Festival entries are now being aired on TV in UK and India through Brit Asia TV and Channel One.
2008’s competition was unique in that it was Webcast in real time on “SikhNet TV” to audiences around the world. Viewers from Canada to Australia joined hosts Guruka Singh and Gurumustuk Singh on the virtual “red carpet” along with SikhNet guests and shout-outs from some of the young filmmakers themselves.
The winners of the 2008 SikhNet Youth Film Festival Competition are as follows:
INTERMEDIATE DIVISION (18 – 25 years old)
• First Place ($1000 US Dollars) - "35" by Raj Singh, from Boerne,Texas - United States
• Second Place ($500 US Dollars) - "The Warrior" by Jatinder Kaur, Navpreeth Kaur, and Anjupreeth Kaur - West Midlands, Midlands, United Kingdom
• Third Place ($250 US Dollars) – "Panj Kahaniyan" by Gagandeep Kaur, from Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
JUNIOR DIVISION (11 – 17 years old)
• First Place ($500 US Dollars) - "Roots and Wings" by Angad Singh, from Roswell, GA, United States
• Second Place ($250 US Dollars) - "Teri Mardi Jawe Ma" by Lovejot and Sahebir Singh, from Mata Jai Kaur Public School, Delhi, India
• Third Place ($125 US Dollars) – "Think Olympics" by Kirat Singh, Westbury, Union City, CA, United States
SENIOR DIVISION (26 and older)
• First Place - "Healthy, Happy, Holy" by Adithya Sambamurthy, from Oakland, CA, United Sates
• Second Place - "The Power of the Media" by Dr Savi S Arora, London, Middlesex, United Kingdom
• Third Place – "Turban Tying Pride" by Savraj Singh, from Pennington, NJ, United States
Go to the Film Festival home page - www.SikhNet.com/FilmFestival
During 2008 SikhNet produced over 40 new Inspirations videos and made them available online completely free. Sample topics include:
• The Purpose of Hair
• Bani, Shabad, Music and Kirtan
• Professionals in Bana
• Punjaban in Sikhism
• Relating to The Shabad Guru
• Science of The Siri Guru Granth Sahib
• Why Live the Sikh Lifestyle?
• Living as Khalsa
• Children of Tommorow - Guru Gobind Singh
• Kaurs In Crowns
• Unleash the Creative Sikh
• Transition from 10th Guru to Siri Guru Granth Sahib
• The Four Blessings of a Woman
• Leadership by Turban
• Intoxicants and Pleasure
• The Strength of Women
• Guilt vs. Self-Discipline
• Awakening to Leadership
• Youth and Having Relationships
During 2008 SikhNet made available for sale online the first five volumes of our “Inspirations” DVD sets which had previously been available only as gifts to SikhNet supporters. Also SikhNet produced and released Volume 2 of the SikhNet Gurbani CD collection, debuted the “hold your own SikhNet Film Festival” concept with the new “Film Festival in a Box” kit, and released the 2008 Youth Film Festival DVD.
Here are some comments from SikhNet viewers regarding our videos:
“Wahe Guru ji ka Khalsa Shri Waheguruji ki Fateh!!! I love Shri Guruka Singh Ji. He has changed my life ever since I learned about him. Also I would like to thank Gurumustuk Singh for asking the various questions to him and putting it together so that we all can listen and enjoy his teaching. I request Gurumustuk and Shri Guruka Singh Ji to please produce more videos on Meditation. Thanks for the great work. Sat Sri Akal”
Gurvinder Singh - Scottsdale, AZ USA
“I can't describe that in words ...but yea sikhnet has made life simple for me ...videos have given me a new vision and an understanding of my faith. Sikhnet Hamesha CHARHDI KALA CH RAHE”
Prabhmeet Singh - Sunshine, Australia
Sikhnet allows me to interact with other people. I have really got inspired from sikhnet videos. I regularly visit sikhnet to check articles and also to read people's view in discussion forum. You are like a family for me. Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful site.”
Inderjit Singh - Bangalore, India
“My great thanks to the Sikhnet team for helping us to learn more about the Sikh religion. I love this website; especially watching the videos.”
Satinderjit Kaur - Montgomery, Alabama, USA
“I just so wanted to say that, I believe your videos are a true inspiration to me and everytime I see your videos I just feel it is so easy to implement. The Sikhi I was taught or saw for the 27 yrs of my life wasn't anything close to the teaching of Guru Nanak and now I'm re-learning it, thank you and thanks to Yogi Bhajan Ji.”
“My name is Seema, I live in Boston and am India. Being away from my home right after my marriage from last 2 years, I was missing someone who could teach me and show me the right way like my mother. Suddenly while searching online I came across respected Guruka Singh's videos and now I feel I got what I was looking for. And yes, as per his teaching, I have started getting up real early around 5am, and that's the most wonderful hours of my day.”
“Just a quick message to say thank you for helping me change my life. I am of Punjabi origin but I guess I had forgotten why I was here. A few months ago I typed "sikh" into YouTube and I watched Guru Singh Ji’s video on being a sikh, then slowly went through all his videos and watched and re-watched each one. I now wake up in the mornings and pray, have a cold shower, and have become veggi. I'm learning everyday now. So just thank you for your work and everyone at SikhNet.”
Sat Sri Akal! I live in Wenatchee, a city of about 60,000 people located in central Washington. Over the past few months I've been watching your videos on YouTube. I really enjoy watching and listening to Guruka Singh Ji. He is very inspiring. I come from a Punjabi Sikh family, I have not taken Amrit. However, after watching the Sikhs of Espanola and their love for Sikhi has really made me think twice what how I've been living my life. I love what you are doing. Please keep the videos coming. We do not have a Gurudwara Sahib here, so watching your videos is the next best thing!”
Firstly I just want to say that you and your team with God’s grace have done a excellent job with the videos. I first started watching Guruka Singh and i couldn't believe what I was watching... someone who I could not just 60% understand but someone who I could 100% understand. He has changed my life as I have learned a lot, and the great thing was that God gave me the answers through these videos. So from my excellent experience I wanted to share it, just like Guruka Singh says; You should share your experience... so I started showing my family and friends these videos. Before I knew it, everyone wanted these videos.
Manny Pabla - UK
Go to the SikhNet products page - www.SikhNet.com/Products
Sikh Audio Stories for Children
Since its inception, one of the main goals of SikhNet has been to provide resources for our youth/children so that they have the tools and resources to become more spiritual individuals; able to cope with life in these modern times, yet living with strength in their identity as a Sikh.
The new Audio Stories section on SikhNet made its debut in 2008. It is oriented towards younger Sikh children (around 5-12 years old).
Most parents know the challenge of educating our children about Sikhi, which can be hard in these busy times where it is common for both parents to work all day away from the kids. Many have less and less time to spend with their children (particularly to teach them about Sikhi). SikhNet’s all original audio stories section aids this by creating new ways for these young ones to get inspired and into Sikhi through stories.
I know as a parent I would rather have my kids listening to fun and interesting Sikh/Spiritual stories then playing a video game or watching television! There is currently not very much Sikh media content freely available for kids, and our hope is to fill the need by starting this one project, and then expand into other projects as resources become available to fund the projects.
The new audio story section is organized so that you can browse through the different stories in many different ways. You can listen to the stories right on the website or download them freely to your computer or MP3 player. These stories will also become available on audio CD so that non-technical people can enjoy them in their home and in the car when traveling.
Go to the Stories home page - www.SikhNet.com/Stories
The New Daily Hukamnama System
One of the many issues we resolved in 2008 was the necessity of users having to install special Gurmukhi fonts on their computers in order to view the daily Hukamnama from Darbar Sahib. Font installation was beyond many users’ technical ability. By using Adobe “Flash” technology which automatically installs itself, everyone can now see the daily Hukamnama properly
Go to the Hukamnama page - www.SikhNet.com/Hukam
The SikhNet Browser Toolbar
The new SikhNet toolbar for your web browser made its debut in November 2008. This great new tool allows users to keep up to date with the latest SikhNet content all in one place, without having to find it on SikhNet directly.
There is also a small little audio player in the toolbar that allows you to tune into all the SikhNet Radio Channels, the latest Sikh Audio Stories, the Gurbani Randomizer as well as Live Kirtan from Gurdwaras all around the world.
Other features include an ability to search SikhNet and SikhiWiki directly from the toolbar. It only needs to be downloaded and installed one time because improvements made to the toolbar will automatically get installed for you.
Learn more about the SikhNet Toolbar - www.SikhNet.com/Toolbar
Another feature SikhNet added this year is the “personalized home page” called “My SikhNet” which allows you to create your own, personal gateway to the world of SikhNet. Let’s say you like to see the Daily Hukamnama first, followed by the daily news, and then move on to the SikhNet discussions forums. Whatever your preferences are, you can customize SikhNet so that it appears just the way you like it. Just click on the “My SikhNet” link at the top of any page on the Web site.
Go to MySikhNet - http://mail.khalsa.com
SikhNet Live Feeds
Rather than having to explore the SikhNet Web site to find the things in which you are interested, you can subscribe to SikhNet’s live feeds and have freshly updated content delivered to you automatically. RSS/News Aggregators (also called Readers) will download and display these RSS feeds for you. A number of free News Aggregators are available for download. Some aggregators are separate, "stand-alone" programs; other services will let you add RSS feeds to a Web page. Yahoo! users can add RSS feeds to your My Yahoo! Page and Google users can use Google Reader to have these feeds delivered.
Learn more about the SikhNet Live Feeds - www.SikhNet.com/Feeds
The New SikhNet Sponsorship System
As part of SikhNet 2.0, we added a new sponsorship system that allows individuals, companies or organizations to have their own banners on the SikhNet Web site with a message in recognition of their sponsorship. These banners can be shown throughout the SikhNet website on behalf of a company, an organization, or to honor an event or person in one’s family or community and it can contain a link to any desired Web page. Sponsorship allows members of the SikhNet family to promote their cause and helps SikhNet to continue providing its services to everyone for free. SikhNet offers special discounts for non-profit events such as Sikhi and Gurmat Camps. Becoming a sponsor lets thousands of people know about an upcoming event or activity. SikhNet works with sponsors to come up with pricing options to fit within each sponsor’s budget.
Learn more about becoming a sponsor - www.SikhNet.com/Sponsorship
In 2008 the Webmaster’s Blog was more popular than ever with around 40,000 visitors per month — three times more visitors than in 2007. The hundreds of new posts and thousands of participant comments are a sure sign of an active and ever increasing online community. Part of the popularity of the Blog is its interactivity as participants and fellow bloggers post comments every day and interact with each other. The power of the Blog and how it serves our worldwide cybersangat can be best felt through the comments of our participants. Here are a few of those comments:
I was born into a Sikh family (and thank God for that :) but never really understood what it meant to be a Sikh.. All I knew was that I had to wear a turban and not cut my hair.. Nobody in my family is very religious, except my grandmother.. And then came Sikhnet and MrSikhnet.. Ever since, I've seen an immense change in me.. I don't do my paath regularly yet, but the impact that the lectures of SSS Yogi Bhajan ji, and Guruka Singh ji have had is very, very unexpected. And more change will follow, thats a promise. You my brother, have given me something I never thought I would crave for inside.. Honestly, I don't have words to express my feelings at this time.. All I want to say is, Thanks a million, keep it up, you're blessed!
Prajneet Singh - Patiala, India
you have inspired me so much, and mrsikhnet.com is my start up page every day.
Happy - Bankok, Thailand
Wow!!!! Wow and wow! You must receive so many mails world wide of people like myself that are completly engrossed in what you do! I heard of you via word of mouth and the moment i was told about this website. I came on and now i think i am becoming an addict! I have always heard of MrSikhnet but never really gave myself the chase to fully understand and take the time to check it out! Your family and you seem so happy and peaceful and you are all stunners!! I would just like to say I think what you do is fantastic and I am not going to stop telling people I know about what you do!
Gurpreet Kaur - Birmingham, UK
Thank you so much for working so hard on this website. I am a Canadian born Sikh, and at times there was no one to talk to, or anyone to answer questions on Sikhism and daily practices, I feel so encouraged when I come to this website (which i do daily), and thank you so much for your comments on welcoming all Sikhs with open arms. I do cut my hair, but I do paath each morning and know that I have a tight relation w/Waheguru, and also thanks to MrSikhnet, I have let go of guilt or any bad thoughts that hold me back from reaching my goals, i have made a little corner in my room for prayer each morning as suggested in one of the Sikh Youth Q&A's. Thank you sooo much! May Waheguru continue to give kirpa and blessings to wonderful people like you and your entire team.
Kiran - Canada
I appreciate what you and Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa are doing with this website, giving a better understanding of the Sikh faith and way of life. I know a lot of Sikhs visit this website, but it is my hope that non-Sikhs see this as well and learn more about your beautiful faith that I want to further incorporate into my life, wherever that may lead me. Thank you again for all your hard work, and all your help and guidance.
Laura - USA
Thank you for the voice that travels with the light and is carried through the light, whilst being Light...
Thank you for the laughter that vibrates with a peace so resounding; it stills,
Thank you for the time, the thought, the purpose, the mission - a personification of God's destiny!
Thank you for the words that carry a sensibility of a sentiment far truer - a universality of Love transcending all space and time to Be... Thank You!
Harpreet Kaur - Amsterdam, the Netherlands
The top visitor origin locations in 2008 were:
1. United States
4. United Kingdom
9. United Arab Emirates
10. New Zealand
This demographic analysis correlates with 2007 viewership.
The Five top locations visited on SikhNet were:
1. The Home Page
2. The Daily Hukamnama
3. The SikhNet News
4. The SikhNet Gurbani Library
5. SikhNet Radio
This too correlates with 2007 viewership. (Note that new features such as the Audio Children’s Stories were added relatively late in 2008.)
Note: SikhNet is a limited liability company, whose sole member is Sikh Dharma International. As such, SikhNet LLC does not receive any funding from any other entity or organization. SikhNet is wholly funded by its own activities and the generous support of the SikhNet global community. As a 501.3c entity, contributions to SikhNet are deductible charitable contributions for residents in the USA.
SikhNet is supported and maintained by sevadars other than the employed staff. These sevadars play a vital role in SikhNet’s success in the education and inspiration of spiritual and Sikh values.
The English Audio translation and katha of the daily Hukamnama (From Sri Harimandir Sahib, Amritsar) was started as a way to give our world-wide Sangat the Siri Guru Granth Sahib in a more understandable way. It is translated into common English. This seva is done by Sukha Singh Akali, our inspirational Nihang brother from London and Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. Many people log in each day to hear (and read) the word-for-word translation of the Hukamnama. The translations are very inspirational and make it easy to understand the message of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. We feel this is a great thing especially for the youth to understand more about the Bani. The audio translation is posted every day, and then five sevadars from around the world take the time to transcribe each lecture. This is a very time-consuming and committed seva done by sevadars who wanted to remain anonymous, but their contribution cannot be overlooked!
Have you ever visited Wikipedia.org? This is a web based encyclopedia just for Sikhism written collaboratively by many of its readers. There are lots of readers who have contributed making and editing articles and in essence creating all of the content of Sikhiwiki.org. Sikhiwiki has in a short time become a huge resource for all subjects relating to Sikhism – biographical, historical, stories, beliefs etc. Hari Singh from England is the chief SikhiWiki sevadar and he has championed this endeavor by creating a sizable amount of content, being very active in moderating the site, and featuring articles to keep the site new and fresh.
SikhNet Discussion Forum, Youth Forum and Chat Moderators
The SikhNet Youth Forum, live Chat and Discussion forums are the most popular on the internet. These serve as ways that Sikhs from all around the world can interact with each other in an educational and inspiring way. For many people the internet is their only sangat. Sevadars on these forums make sure no one is posting anything inappropriate or slanderous or material that is too controversial or provocative. Some of these sevadars have been serving diligently for over ten years, to keep our online interactions graceful and inspiring!
In 2008 donations accounted for 65% of SikhNet’s income. In 2007 our income from donations amounted to 38% of our total income. More and more, SikhNet is being supported by users like you to keep up everything that SikhNet is doing, and can do in the future. Without our donors there would be no SikhNet, so our donors are our biggest support.
Gurujot Singh Khalsa – Creative Director
Guruka Singh Khalsa – Teacher and Chief Executive Officer
|Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa - Webmaster and Chief Operating Officer|
Gurumustuk Singh made SikhNet from a hobby into a non-profit organization in December 1995. He lives with his wife, daughter, and son in Espanola, New Mexico and continues to develop the SikhNet website with the rest of the SikhNet team. You can read his Blog at www.MrSikhNet.com Gurumustuk Singh’s tasks include system administration, video creation, fundraising concepts, business networking, programming and application development, project management, and innovation.
Loveleen Kaur Ahluwalia – Customer Service