Kids Corner


Say "Haan Ji" To The Punjabi Tee




If you used popular films as a reference, you wouldn't believe that Sikhs need to be taught or told how to be proud of who they are. Singh, after all, is King.

But a Sikh couple in the United Kingdom is making a livelihood out of helping the community to hold on to its roots and pride. 

The punjabification of Bollywood films has made sure your vocabulary is packed with enough stock phrases to make sure you don't get lost in Chandigarh. But "Loung da Lashkara" and "Saadi Gulli" don't turn you into cultural connoiseurs, argue husband and wife team, Harinder Singh and Kirandeep Kaur.

"We believed that people from the community were moving away from their roots. Punjabi is hardly spoken nowadays [in these parts], and that's sad because our culture is rich," says Kirandeep Kaur, Product Development Manager at "1469", a novel T-shirt manufacturing firm which relies on Sikh and Punjabi symbols, slogans and graphics.   

Their firm, Traditional Values, has been manufacturing T-shirts for corporates for over two decades, but 1469 was born five years ago and was named after the year in which the Founder of Sikhism and the first of the Ten Sikh Gurus, Guru Nanak, was born.   

The 1469 range includes tees for kids, men and women in sizes XS to 3XL. Designs vary from hoodies to slogan tees available in a rainbow of hues.

"We sell to a lot of young customers, but we also have a slightly older lot pick up our polo T-shirts with embroidered signage," says Kirandeep over the phone from the United Kingdom.

The label also stocks traditional Punjabi phulkari embroidered scarves, and handicrafts decorated with quotes in Punjabi.

While the initiative stands for giving a fashionable spin to cultural roots, 1469 picks up a cause when it deems it fit.

Post 9/11 atacks, hate crimes were reported in the U.S. against Sikh-Americans. To an ignorant American, a turban - any turban, including a Sikh turban - signified the Taliban or Al Qaida, and was considered a threat.

"We released a series of tees with the slogan, 'Proud By Birth, Sikh By Choice.' They were sold at airports and were statement-making pieces," Kirandeep recalls.

While their customer base is scattered across the globe, the goods are manufactured in Delhi. 

"We have a large client base in the United Kingdom. Punjabi Roots, a shop in Birmingham, stocks our range. In Spain, Best of India retails the 1469 line. We sell in Mexico too."

While the guys can strut macho-like in tees that carry locomotive designs like the tractor, auto-rickshaw and the Bullet motor-cycle - sporting slogans like "Chak de Phatte", "The Mighty Singh", and "99% Shareef"  - the women can strut their stuff with tees that read "KAURageous", "Nakhre Vakhre", and "Jugni". 

A popular slogan, "Sava Lakh," translates to "125,000", referring to the belief that a single true Sikh is the equivalent of 125,000!  

Sardar Bhagat Singh, the great icon who single-handedly captures the spirit of the struggle for independence from the British, is remembered on a tee by his famous call to revolution, "Inquilab Zindabad!"   

"Chak de Phatte," according to, loosely translates into "Pick Up The Floor-Boards!" and is a popular Sikh war cry. The origins of the phrase lie in times when Sikh warriors ("Sant-Sipahi" - Saint-Soldiers) would cross canals and assault Mughal camps in a blitzkrieg attack. While escaping, they would dismantle any temporary bridges constructed by them (with 'phatte' - planks)  to prevent the enemy from following them. The phrase later acquired the meaning, "Complete The Route", and is now also used to imply, "Bring The House Down!" 


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[Courtesy: Mid-Day]

May 31, 2011






Conversation about this article

1: Harjit Dhaliwal (Vermont, U.S.A.), May 31, 2011, 9:42 AM.

Do they have a website where one can order some tees? [Editor - Yes. We have just posted the link at the bottom of the article.]

2: Jasdeep Singh (San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.), May 31, 2011, 2:52 PM.

1469 shirts can be bought online at Panjab Mall ships all across the world and their largest customer base is in the U.S. and Canada.

3: Ashmeet Kaur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 01, 2011, 6:44 PM.

These tees are just amazing! Hailing from Delhi, I discovered them around 4 yrs ago and have stuck to them since. Got like a load of them when I moved to Canada ... and have been ordering online on PanjabMall since then. Superb designs! I wish there were more options for girls though! Their Phulkaris are great too.

4: Inni Kaur (Fairfield, CT, U.S.A.), June 01, 2011, 6:59 PM.

The 1469 shop on 12 Janpath has become my absolute favourite place to shop in Delhi. It is a true treasure for people who love things Punjabi. Here I was introduced to the soulful lyrics of Satinder Singh Sartaaj - had to get his CD. Have fallen in love with his voice! Loved the colors and quality of the phulkari suits. Just had to get a wall hanging with the Shabad, "lakh khushiaa(n) paatshaahia(n)". Am a bit sorry that I didn't get the replica of a Sikh coin done in silver - it was well priced at Rs 1500. Sigh! I guess it will have to wait until my next trip. I could have easily spent a few more hours enjoying all the knick-knacks. Oh yes! There's a beautiful old wooden door behind the cashier - a must see. I could go on and on!

5: Manmeet Singh (New Delhi, India), June 02, 2011, 1:41 AM.

Thanks for appreciating our parents ... we are proud of them for uplifting our mother tongue. Waheguru mehar karan.

6: Gurpreet Singh (Mumbai, India), June 02, 2011, 8:21 AM.

It's really a pleasure to see young Sikh boys and girls strut their stuff in these tees with Sikh and Punjabi slogans. Could you please let me know if these tees are available in Mumbai too?

7: Jaspal Singh (United Kingdom), June 08, 2011, 1:10 PM.

Haan ji! This brand is so amazing with stores all over. I ordered my Punjabi Tee online at

8: Charandeep Singh (Delhi, India), August 12, 2011, 10:07 PM.

I have been a true fan of 'Traditional Value' since the days when they had only one outlet. Great work, guys. A suggestion: you need an online store for your Indian fans ...

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