Since the mid-eighties, a significant influx of Sikh Indian immigrants has chosen Italy as their destination, seeking employment opportunities in diverse sectors such as the Dairy Industry, Farming, factories, and even the circus. Remarkably, Italy now boasts the largest Sikh community in Europe outside the United Kingdom. As a Sikh myself, the unfamiliarity with this migration route within Europe has piqued my curiosity, motivating me to delve into the topic.

The post-World War II period witnessed a significant shift in Sikh emigration patterns, with immigrants increasingly choosing developed countries like Canada, the U.S.A., and the United Kingdom. The modernization of agricultural practices in Punjab by Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister, resulted in a decline in local employment opportunities, prompting the Sikh population to seek livelihoods elsewhere. Unfortunately, media representations of the Sikh and South Asian Diaspora in Italy often revolve around negative themes, focusing on issues such as religion, employment, and emigration.

Contrary to this narrative, my project aims to unearth positive stories about the Sikh community in Italy. By collaborating with locals, I intend to present a more authentic and balanced representation of Sikh life in the country. The Sikh migration to Italy began in the eighties, and with the introduction of the Turco-Napolitano law in the nineties, regulating immigration, the dynamics of the community have evolved. This project recognises the importance of capturing stories from different generations, offering a nuanced understanding of the community's experiences.

Emilia-Romangana emerges as a focal point for this exploration, hosting one of the highest concentrations of Sikh individuals, including long-term immigrants. The provinces of Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, and Modena within Emilia-Romagna hold a significant South Asian Diaspora. Notably, Novellara, a town close to Reggio Emilia, houses the first Gurdwara (place of worship) in Italy. It is in this vibrant community that my project will take root, aiming to shed light on the multifaceted narratives of Sikh Indian immigrants in Italy.

©jaitoorLondon, United KingdomPhotography