Sikh Converts in Canada Bridge with Immigrant Sikhs, Forge New Path

January 26, 2005

Source: The Vancouver Courier

On January 26, 2005 The Vancouver Courier reported, "With 135,000 Punjabi Sikhs living in the Lower Mainland-almost half of the total number of Sikhs in Canada-Sikhism is a well-established B.C. institution. In comparison, Vancouver's Sikh convert community-known interchangeably as White, Caucasian or American Sikhs-number only a few hundred. They are also an almost unknown subculture within Vancouver's complicated cultural, religious and ethnic tapestry...[O]n this Sunday there are more Punjabi Sikhs in attendance than white adherents. For Balthej Singh, ...'many of the large Sikh temples have become quite commercialized. Because they're so big...some have lost their commitment to prayer,' he says...Sadhu Singh Dhesi, senior director of Akali Singh, one of the largest Punjabi Sikh Temples in Vancouver, has great respect for the White Sikh converts. 'The American Sikhs are good Sikhs, no different from me,' says Dhesi. 'And because they speak English and were raised in North America they are often able to reach young Sikhs like my son, who sometimes goes to Yoga West, in ways that Sikhs from the Punjab aren't able to.'"