A video of a Canadian mayor donning a turban and dancing bhangra-style is taking the internet by storm.
The seven-minute video, posted on Facebook on Jan. 6 by dance teacher Gurdeep Pandher, has already gained over a million views. Commenters have praised Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis for learning about Indian culture, and approved of his welcoming attitude toward diversity.
The meeting between the men took place in a government office. First Pandher taught the mayor how to prepare a turban, the multilayered headwear worn by Sikh men, with the two folding and pulling the red cloth from opposite sides as if playing tug-of-war. Then Pandher helped Curtis wrap the turban around his head, with Curtis biting a corner of the cloth to get things started. By the end Curtis had a turban with five layers, which he smoothed out with a tool called a baaz.
Then the two men, wearing matching turbans, began practicing bhangra dancing. After learning some basic moves, Curtis even put on a solo performance, which Pandher described as “awesome.”
Pandher, an Indian-born Canadian citizen since 2011, is among the many Sihks living in Canada. At over half a million people, they account for about 1.5% of the country’s population.
Said Curtis in the video:
“Thank you for bringing the diversity… I firmly believe because of people like yourself, having these amazing customs, you make our city, our territory, and our country so much stronger. I cannot thank you enough. And I am so proud to have you here in our city to call home. Thank you.”
Afterwards Curtis had Pandher pound a gavel to declare Whitehorse a diverse community.
Many commenters writing below the video felt Curtis’s message. Steadman Uhlich wrote:
“I am not Sikh, but enjoyed this video, showing an open minded leader (mayor) willing to learn about the Sikh culture and doing so with a very good attitude and having fun. Outstanding example of empathy for his constituents and good will.”
Another viewer, Muskan Kharbanda, cheered on the respect of cultural diversity:
“Such people are immense source of Pride to the world. Immensely touched by sincere efforts and true emotions and respect for diversity. Salute to the Mayor Of Canada Mr Dan Curtis and Mr. Gurdeep.”
Linda Bushman Penny added:
I think this is great. It would be good if all cultures, races and religions could get together and do things like this. People tend to be afraid and defensive of the unknown. If they understood and became more familiar with things maybe [there] would be less violence.