Celebration Services for Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, 2003

April 14, 2003

Source: Los Angeles Times


On April 14, 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that for "nearly 400,000 American adherents of Sikhism, these are difficult and confusing times. The 500-year-old religion, which was founded on the Indian subcontinent and is the world's fifth-largest, is often as poorly understood as it is conspicuous. Because men are required to wear turbans and grow beards, they are often mistaken for Muslims in the United States... Though Sikhism's spiritual home is the Punjab, it has found its adherents among non-Indian Americans in recent decades. In Southern California, 21st century American life has added some distinct flavors to Indian-born practitioners. That cross-pollination was on full display at the Baisakhi celebration, which also commemorated the 304th anniversary of the formal practices of Sikhism established by the 10th guru, Gobind Singh... Amid the food, prayer and song, state politicians came to promise that California was fighting to keep Sikhs safe. As families sat on the floor or approached a flowered altar to pay respects to the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, state Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) touted her efforts to strengthen hate-crime legislation."