Among Young Sikhs, Expressions Of Faith Mixing Two Worlds

August 21, 2009

Author: Samuel G. Freedman

Source: The New York Times

Mandeep Singh was having dinner with a friend in Queens several years ago when the subject turned to their common religion, Sikhism. Mr. Singh had grown up in India unquestioningly embracing the faith of his parents. As a college student in Delhi, he attended a gurdwara, or temple, with a congregation well into the hundreds and a paid staff of a dozen, leaving him feeling devout yet somehow peripheral.

By this time, working as a technology consultant in New York, Mr. Singh had a different sensation, not exactly unsettled but acutely curious. So when his friend mentioned that a local Sikh association had a page on Facebook, not exactly the place Mr. Singh was expecting to find religious direction, he eagerly clicked to it.

The information there, posted by the Manhattan Sikh Association, included one particular phrase that piqued Mr. Singh’s interest: “youth gurdwara.” It led him, on a Thursday night in late 2007, to the rented multipurpose room of a luxury condominium building in Battery Park City.