Transcript: The People's Guru | Nov 06, 2012

(music plays)

Colourful letters flash by. Then, against a red background, dialog boxes read "Why Poverty?" and "Ask why!" A logo reads "TVO."

A title appears on screen. It reads "The People’s Guru."

Simran Khalsa is in his fifties, with a long gray beard. He wears a white T-shirt under a gray vest and a white turban.

Simran rides a bicycle around a city.

Simran says IT'S NOT THAT I DON'T
WORK A LOT
BECAUSE
I WORK A LOT,
BUT WHAT
IT IS,
I'M JUST SO
BUSY ALL THE TIME,
TRYING TO MAKE
A LIVING,
THAT I DON'T
HAVE ENOUGH TIME
TO BASICALLY DO
ANYTHING ELSE.
IT'S LIKE I'M
ON THE TREADMILL.

[Beeping]
He walks into a building and takes an elevator.

He continues RIGHT NOW, I'M ONLY
MAKING ABOUT
1,200-1,300
BUCKS A MONTH.
MY DELIVERY JOB
AS WELL IS NOT
BRINGING IN AS
MUCH MONEY AS IT WAS
BECAUSE INSTEAD
OF DOING
TWO OR THREE
FLYERS AT A DROP,
I'M ONLY DOING
ONE.

He puts leaflets through mailboxes on doors.

[Dog barking]

He continues I THINK ONE OF THE
REASONS THAT
I'VE NEVER
GOTTEN MARRIED IS
BECAUSE I'VE NEVER
REALLY HAD
A LOT
OF MONEY.

(soft music plays)

He continues I'M VERY LUCKY
TO HAVE A
VERY CHEAP
CHINESE LANDLORD.
IT'S ONE OF THE FEW
PLACES IN TORONTO
I CAN
ACTUALLY AFFORD,
AND I'M REALLY GRATEFUL
TO HAVE IT HERE.
HE ONLY CHARGES ME
ABOUT 600 DOLLARS A MONTH.

He sits at a table next to a fridge in a small apartment.

He continues I HAVE TO HEAT MY
BEDROOM ONLY
BECAUSE IF I
HEATED THIS ROOM,
IT WOULD COST
ME A FORTUNE.
I'VE BEEN TEACHING
FOR 30 YEARS.
I USED TO
TEACH 12 OR 13,
NOW I'M DOWN TO TEN
BECAUSE I WAS OUT
FROM 7:30 IN THE
MORNING UNTIL SOMETIMES,
LIKE, 9:30 PM
AT NIGHT.
AND THIS IS DOING MY
OTHER DELIVERY JOB
AS WELL.

He walks into a gym.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Simran Khalsa teaches Kundalini yoga to about 150 students a week."

Now, he and his students sit on the floor meditating.

[Chattering]

He continues SOME OF MY FRIENDS I
WENT WITH ON A
LABOUR DAY
MARCH WITH, THEY'RE
IN EVEN WORSE SHAPE
THAN I'M IN.

He marches next to a large group of people on the street.

He continues THEY EITHER CAN'T
FIND A FULL TIME JOB
OR THEY'RE JUST
PAYING TOO MUCH
MONEY IN
RENT.
THEY'RE
PAYING OVER HALF
THEIR INCOME
IN RENT.
THAT
SHOULDN'T HAPPEN.
[Chattering]
I WAS WORKING FOR
A COMPANY
CALLED
STRATCOM.
WE WERE STEEL
WORKERS,
SO I WAS IN THE
UNION FOR THREE WEEKS.
[Chattering]
AS A TEMPORARY
PART TIME JOB.
WE ARE
THE 99 percent.
[Chattering]
THIS WHOLE CRISIS
HAPPENED IN 2008,
I THINK THE TOP
1 percent OR 0.5 percent
ARE GETTING
EVEN RICHER.
THEY'RE THE PEOPLE
WHO REALLY,
REALLY
BENEFIT FROM THIS.
A LOT OF GREED
HAPPENING
AS WELL.
GRAB AS MUCH AS YOU
CAN AND THEY
JUST DON'T
GIVE A DOODLY SQUAT
ABOUT ANYBODY
ELSE.
[Bell ringing]
YEAH, DAMN
ANGRY.

The caption changes to "Simran has 25 students who have become Kundalini yoga teachers."

He continues KUNDALINI
YOGA'S ALL ABOUT
AWAKENINGS, WAKING
PEOPLE UP.
AND A KUNDO LEADS
DARK TO LIGHT.
A TEACHER
BRINGS YOU OUT OF
THAT IGNORANCE UNTIL
YOU ACTUALLY FEEL
SOMETHING'S
HAPPENING AND YOU
FEEL YOU CAN
DO SOMETHING
ABOUT IT.
I WAS PUT DOWN MOST
OF MY LIFE
AND AT LEAST
I HAVE A CHANCE
TO WAKE UP
PEOPLE.
I'M HOPING
THAT PEOPLE START
STANDING UP AND
ACTUALLY
DOING STUFF
ABOUT THINGS.

He rides a bicycle wearing sunglasses and carrying a backpack.

(music plays)

The end credits roll.

www.tvo.org/whypoverty.

Watch: The People's Guru