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Ranjit “Ricky” Gill Should Use Real Name

After reading an article written by Rupinder Mohan Singh yesterday, it could now be argued Ricky Gill has become packaged goods as he makes a run at Congress. According to Mr. Singh, Ricky Gill’s actual real name is Ranjit “Ricky” Gill while he has distanced himself from his Sikh background.

I get it, Ranjit “Ricky” Gill believes that by using the name “Ranjit”, it will cost him votes as he is trying to win a seat in Congress from Jerry McNerney.  I went to his website this morning and verified that no where does it state his name as Ranjit–simply he goes by Ricky Gill. In doing a little digging on this, I was told “in fairness to Mr. Gill, he dropped Ranjit in high school and college.”

Okay fine, I’ll give him that. But what I don’t appreciate is someone who is distancing himself from his past just to win an election while smearing his opponent on many items–it’s hypocritical, especially when he is not even using his real name.

I don’t care what someones name is or what background they are from, I expect that person to be proud of it. I expect them to embrace it as long as it’s not hurting anyone. But ultimately,  for the benefit of the country a candidate needs to be honest with the voters instead of telling us what you think we want to hear or sell us on who you are pretending to be. A seat in Congress is too important for people to vote on packaged goods of any political party.

Ultimately, it’s Mr. Gill’s choice to change his name and distance himself from the Sikhs as he is trying to come off as an “average Joe”, but if you follow the money you will find  a majority of it comes from the Sikhs community  according to Mr. Singh link to a Washington Post story.

Here is the article and you can judge for yourself if this is a big deal.

According to a post by Rupinder Mohan Singh, he states the following:

I have written several times about Ranjit “Ricky” Gill, the Republican Party candidate for Congress in California’s 9th Congressional District. Gill is challenging Democratic Party incumbent Jerry McNerney for the seat.

Gill, 25, is the son of Sikh physicians in the Stockton, California area. Much of the donations to his campaign have come from the Sikh community, as well as interests in the healthcare and agricultural industries.  The northern California constituency for which Gill is contesting is an area that has a sizable Sikh population and is, in fact, home to the first and oldest Gurdwara in the United States (the Gurdwara is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this year).

There have been a variety of questions about Gill’s candidacy, particularly based on his age and lack of experience, and claims that he is downplaying his party affiliation (indeed, the fact that he is running as a Republican is not  immediately transparent on his campaign website).

In April, I wrote about the emerging perception that Ricky Gill was also distancing himself from his Sikh background:

Much like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley did when she ran for the Governor’s seat, Gill is reportedly distancing himself from his Sikh heritage in his campaign and emphasizing a Christian background.  As Haley endorsed Gill late last year, perhaps it should not be a surprise that he is following her playbook, but it is nonetheless disappointing that a Sikh American is choosing to obscure his own background for the sake of an election.

Shortly afterwards, I contacted Gill’s campaign to offer the opportunity to address this issue. I did not receive a response.

Fast forward to today: Gill’s minimal response to the attack at the Oak Creek, Wisconsin Gurdwara has reinforced the belief that Gill is attempting to downplay his religious background.

The recent mass shooting at the Oak Creek Gurdwara brought forth many statements of support from politicians, officials and civil rights leaders of all stripes, and it is curious to see whether a Sikh American candidate, running for federal office in a district with a large Sikh American population, would also have at least made a statement in sympathy with the Sikh community in Wisconsin.

On Gill’s website RickyGill.com, there is no such statement offered to show any kind of sympathy to his (I assume, his) co-religionists. If he has made private statements, or a statement in other such venues, they are not easy to find. Gill’s only public comment on the attack was a status update on his Facebook page, dated August 5, 2012:

My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of today’s shooting in Wisconsin, with their families, and with their communities. As they suffer through this tragedy, please keep them in yours, too.

Two sentences. The word or even a reference to “Sikh” appears in neither one.

Despite the fact that law enforcement has labelled the Oak Creek attack as “domestic terrorism” and that US Attorney General Eric Holder called the attack a hate crime, Gill has made no statement related to either of these issues important to the Sikh American community – assuredly that includes members of his own family, his district, his state, and his country –  and other religious minorities.  In fact, on Gill’s website, the only statement made in relation to terrorism was in the context of Al Qaeda and foreign governments.

Gill is not alone in this type of response. An albeit cursory survey of websites of other Sikh American politicians running for state or federal office reveals a similar pattern of behavior. In fact, South Carolina Governor (and one-time Sikh) Nikki Haley posted a very similarly distanced statement on her own Facebook page.

However, the context surrounding Gill highlights the vacuum of his response. Given his family background, the constituents in his district, and the federal nature of the office he is seeking, the minimal response by Gill on the tragic events in Wisconsin is glaring. As a Sikh American, I find it troubling that members of our faith seeking federal office are choosing to behave in this way, and I find questionable the rationale to support him with the hope that he will be a voice in the federal government for our faith group.  After all, Ricky Gill has given us little reason to date to believe that such representation would be the case.

This article by Rupinder Mohan Singh was posted on the following sites:

http://americanturban.com/2012/08/15/wherefore-art-thou-ricky-gill/

http://thelangarhall.com/politics/wherefore-art-thou-ricky-gill/

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19 Responses »

  1. I have Sikhs that live in my neighborhood, they are good people! I also work with a lot of Chinese people and none of them use there birth given names, same with a lot of Indians i work with, they modify or change their names to better fit into the culture.. This is common!

    • Don’t you think there is something wrong with people changing their names to “better fit into the culture”? We are talking about a seat in Congress at stake here, not someone who is trying to fit into the local community but someone who will represent the country.

  2. I would have never known this guy is a sikh, I agree with you, who cares what you are, be proud of it. Since you have written on his accusations towards McNenerny a while ago and now this, McNerney gets my vote.

  3. Spot on Burk, no one should change who they are to win votes. Very interesting article you have shared.

  4. Obviously Mr. Gill is not happy with who he is. That should tell us a lot.

  5. I simply do not agree that the gentleman changed his name to get votes. You stated yourself he changed his name in high school. It is very common for people with difficult names to change them to easier names. This has happened throughout the history of Immigration to the United States. I have traced my roots and when my first ancestor came to the USA from France in the 1700s, the spelling of his last name was different than mine is now, as mine has been changed to make it easier to pronounce (though everyone in California, tries to make my name Spanish, instead of French).

    • Chuck,

      He is totally changing his name to get votes or he would stick with Ranjit. Like it or not, he is pandering for votes even if he did drop “ranjit” in high school. I am not saying I disagree with you, but this is an office for Congress we are talking about.

      The same can be said of Barack Obama or Barry Soetoro and cutting ties with his church.

  6. Maybe you should post about how Gerald “Jerry” McNerney doesn’t use his first name, either. Ridiculous. I used to think this was a legitimate blog, like on fire or other local issues, but now it just seems like you print whatever biased stuff McNerney wants you to.

    • Okay Bob, you can make the case of Jim vs. James, Richard vs. Dick, or whatever else. Ranjit and Rick are not in that same category. Nice try.

    • HAHA classic haters. I can understand Ranjit maybe being changed to Ron or Randy, but Ricky is a bit of a stretch. I think Burks post was to simply highlight Ricky is changing who he is to get elected. Shame on him!

      • He is changing who he is. Trying to change our perception of who he is.
        If my doctor with 27 letters to his last name made a slight change in his name I could understand. Ricky for Rahjit? No deal.

  7. “To Americanize his name, Gill’s parents wanted to call him Randy, but his wrestling-fan brothers objected. “Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage was a bad guy,” Gill says. “But Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat? He was a good guy. He always stood on the side of virtue.”

    “So formed the identity of the youngest of three sons born to Indian immigrants – a Sikh family who settled in Lodi and embraced their new lives in the best tradition of American assimilation.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/02/v-wireless/3953514/marcos-breton-a-young-force-of.html

    This took me about one minute to find. Maybe do some research next time.

    • Ooooooooooooooh yea!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is Macho Man JAJAMES!

      Based off your post, you state exactly what Burk was saying, Gill wanted to “Americanize” himself because he is either ashamed of his real name and background or he is trying to decieve voters. So is Ranjit a good or bad guy?

      What is this claim of research? Didn’t Burk just share a link from another source that Ricky is not his real name? Burk stated he didn’t care if he used a fake name but instead simply be proud of where Ranjit came from.

      You have a bit of a thick skin there Bob, makes me think you work on the Ranjit campaign.

  8. As the author of the article that is cited here, I want to make a clarification. The point of the piece is not whether or when he started using “Ricky” and “Ranjit” or a comment on the intent behind the name he uses. It seems clear that this was his nickname from childhood.

    The issue that is being discussed is his apparent reluctance to even acknowledge his Sikh faith. I cannot find a single quote where he uses the word “Sikh”. As a Sikh American, this is troubling, and particularly more so because he has solicited a large sum of donations from our community. When he obscures this background, it marginalizes our community. In the wake of the Wisconsin massacre, the Sikh American community needs someone who is willing to be a voice, and not just at a fundraiser.

    • I agree 100% Mr. Singh, be proud of ones background and embrace it. As I stated above:

      “I don’t care what someones name is or what background they are from, I expect that person to be proud of it. I expect them to embrace it as long as it’s not hurting anyone”

  9. another example of this site being in the bag for liberal dems. This is not only a silly charge – how can anyone argue that Mr. Gill embraced a nickname in High School because he wanted to get votes in this election? No logic there….
    But even worse is when other people attempt to decide what is in Mr. Gill’s heart, and also what he should and should not do with regard to something as personal as a name, and a background. Even Mr. Gill’s opponent isn’t stupid enough to bring up such an issue with direct attribution back to him.

    Here, however, the blog has raised this offensive issue to support Gill’s opponent and that is a reason to vote for Gill.

    It is also a hit against this site’s reputation, such as it is.

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  1. Ranjit “Ricky” Gill Headed To GOP Convention | East County Today

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