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California Sikh community Raises Money to keep City’s Fireworks Show Alive

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Sikh community. Pixabay
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  • There are about 500,000 Sikhs presently living in the US, and it has also become the fifth largest religion round the world
  • Turbans are sported by a majority of Sikhs, which makes some people think that they are Muslims

California, July 09, 2017: Visalia, a city in California, was close to having to cancel its annual fireworks show because of lack of funds; but when the mayor said to Amritpal Singh about the issue, the businessman saved the grand occasion of the Fourth of July.

Reportedly, Singh along with the rest of the Sikh community of the city rallied together and they raised $10,000 for the grand event, which is also going to be a benefit for charity for children. Mayor Warren Gubler was quoted as saying to NBC News, “Visalia considers this to be very generous and helpful. We appreciate their show of patriotic support, as one of our newer groups of American citizens.”

ALSO READ: Sikh Temples in California accommodate thousands of Dam Evacuees in Yuba City

According to report published in The Week, it was found in a survey conducted in January 2015 that 6 out of 10 Americans knew “nothing at all” about Sikhism; while a mere 11 percent only, personally knew someone who was Sikh.

There are about 500,000 Sikhs presently living in the US, and it has also become the fifth largest religion round the world, but due to its presence under the radar in the US; a nationwide campaign for education was recently launched for educating the people and making them aware of their Sikh-neighbors. A Sikh from Fresno, California, Bill Singh Nijjer; was quoted as saying that while Sikhs have been living in central California, for about a century, “we haven’t done any outreach. That is probably the reason we were targeted and misidentified.”

Turbans are sported by a majority of Sikhs, which makes some people think that they are Muslims (even though most of the Muslims do not don turbans), and some also assume that it has been a major reason that caused violence against the Sikhs. Gagan Kaur, from Fresno was quoted as saying to NBC news, “Everyone I know has experienced discrimination. I hope that one day this [campaign] will allow our children to not have to go through what we went through.”

– prepared by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC
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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

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Pakistan And India To Construct a ‘Peace Corridor’

Indian pilgrims currently must seek visas to enter Pakistan and travel more than 200 kilometers to visit the Kartarpur shrine.

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India Pakistan, Sikh
Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, third left, stands for the national anthem during the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the planned road corridor to the Pakistan border, at Dera Baba Nanak,. VOA

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will lay the foundation stone Wednesday for what is dubbed as a cross-border “corridor of peace” to allow religious devotees from India’s minority Sikh community to make free visits to one of their holiest gurdwaras, or temples, on the Pakistani side after more than seven decades.

The temple, known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, is considered to be the first temple ever built and the final resting place of Guru Nanak, the Sikhism founder.

Indian leaders, on behalf of the Sikh community, have long been demanding Islamabad provide unrestricted access to the holy site in Kartarpur, in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

India’s and Pakistan’s independence from Britain in 1947 divided the Punjab province, where Sikhism was born.

Imran Khan, Sikh
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is seen during talks in Beijing, China. VOA

Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu performed the groundbreaking Monday on his side of the corridor at a ceremony just two kilometers from the Pakistani border.

The mutually agreed-to project is rare between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals. Historically strained ties have deteriorated in recent years and bilateral official talks remain suspended.

The fenced corridor of about five kilometers aims to connect the Kartarpur temple to the Sikh holy shrine at Dara Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district. Officials say the corridor will be in place for the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth in November 2019.

Khan’s government has invited, among others, Indian officials and journalists for Wednesday’s groundbreaking in Kartarpur, three kilometers from the border with India. An Indian ministerial-level delegation is expected to attend the ceremony as special envoys of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sikh
A Delhi-based Sikh organization Urges UN to Support Turbans as Religious Symbol. Pixabay

“Pakistan calls this a corridor of peace. I call it the corridor of infinite possibilities of peace,” Indian Punjab provincial minister Navjot Singh Sidhu told reporters shortly after arriving in Pakistan for the ceremony. He crossed the border by foot at the Wagah crossing near the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore to attend the event at the invitation of his friend, Prime Minister Khan.

Members of the Sikh community on both sides have welcomed the construction of the cross-border corridor linking the two holy sites.

Indian pilgrims currently must seek visas to enter Pakistan and travel more than 200 kilometers to visit the Kartarpur shrine. The temple is visible on clear days from a viewing stage on the Indian side, where religious devotees gather every day to have a glimpse of it.

Also Read: Vow To Hold Peace Talks With India: Pakistan’s Prime Minster Imran Khan

India and Pakistan have fought three wars, and mutual tensions often hamper pilgrims’ plans to get timely visas to visit the shrine. Two of those wars have been over the disputed Kashmir region, which remains at the center of tensions. (VOA)