A folk devil has the ability to elicit a community’s fear over crime. Notorious late gangster, Bindy Johal, occupies this position as his legacy stirs the social anxieties over gang violence by some in the Punjabi-Sikh community in Western Canada. A competing narrative of Johal’s legacy has emerged, which frames him in a more sympathetic light, and as an individual who overcame systemic racial barriers that subordinated the masculinity of South Asian men in British Columbia. Based on interviews with 34 authorities in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and drawing attention to his status as both a folk devil and hero, the discussion reveals two dueling narratives framing his legacy. The overall effect of these contradictory narratives is the overshadowing of racism, class oppression and a regional history within Sikh extremist movements that illustrate why gang involvement may appeal to some disenfranchised boys and men in the Indo-Canadian community.
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