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1st Sikh Parade of Denver on May 22

Following the trend of Texas and New York, Colorado prepares for its first Sikh Parade.

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Sikh congregation, Wikimedia Commons
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DENVER: The capital of Colorado, Denver city will be hosting its first ever Sikh parade on May 22, in celebration of the culture of the growing population of Sikhs in the area. Around 1,000 people are expected to attend the event, including 500 Sikh families in the Denver area, Christian and Jewish Pastors and seven other Sikh groups from the areas of Colorado Springs, Boulder, New Mexico, California and Utah.

Sponsored by the Colorado Singh Sabha temple in Commerce City, the celebrations for the Sikh parade would begin from 9:30 am and culminate at 4 pm at the Denver East High School while free vegetarian food will be available throughout the day. The morning would begin with prayers and music with the parade starting at 1:15 pm.

Organizers Paul and Gurpreet Juneja were inspired to increase awareness and celebrate their culture, specially after their kids faced bullying at school after being mistaken for Muslims.

“We hope it will bring more awareness and be well received,” Gurpeet Juneja said to Denver Post. “Our kids don’t feel different than other kids until they are treated badly at school.”

Related Article: Art exhibit spreads awareness of Sikh identity in US

Despite Gurpreet Juneja immigrating to the United States and Paul Juneja and their two children having been born in US itself, Gurpreet said she and her family had still faced circumstances where they were insulted and told to leave the country.

According to Paul, “This whole thing is being done because of our kids,” adding that “We’re through being a victim and want to take the lead.”

When the Junejas approached Denver city officials about holding an event to increase awareness about Sikhism, a parade seemed the best option.

A spokesperson of the city’s office of special events, said “We work closely with city agencies to promote events that bring greater awareness to cultures in our communities.”

In New York the Sikh Cultural Society celebrates the cultural identity of Sikhs through the annual Sikh Day Parade, bringing together believers from gurudwara congregations across the state. The largest procession of Sikhs outside India however, can be seen in Canada, during the annual Khalsa Day Parade.

Although the adherents of the Sikh faith are often identified as those wearing turbans, Sikhism is the 7th largest religion of the world with around 23 million followers, according to United Sikhs, an UN-affiliated international non-profit organization. The largest concentration of Sikhs is located in India, from where the religion originated, followed by United Kingdom and then United States.

Event Details
What: Denver’s first Sikh parade
When: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, May 22
Where: Denver East High School, 1600 City Park Esplanade

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  • Archita aggarwal

    Sikh community is the best…..hardworking and dedicative.

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The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

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Gulyana, Pakistan

By: Wali Imran (Hindu Council of Australia)

900 years old Gulyana town of about a 50,000 people, just a few kilometers South of Gujar Khan, was raised to the ground once several centuries ago, by raiders from the West. The second time it was destroyed during the 1947 partition riots.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Before 1947, the Gulyana town center was mostly Hindu and Sikh. The Hindus and Sikh owned all the businesses in the town center and Muslims were their tenants, peasants and laborers. Muslims sold their lands to pay off their debts and also handed over their crop of wheat. The Dewan, Dutt, Mohyal Brahmin, and Singh families were always part of royal elite.

Bollywood Star Sanjay Dutt is from the same branch of warrior Brahmin Dutt and belongs to the same place.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Land owners were guaranteed protection from military’s presence in Gujar Khan from the North and a rivulet from the south. This land produced sheer gold and wealthy Sikhs and Hindus lived like kings in mansions make of stone, several storey high.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Bakshi Tek Chand, Dewan Prithvi Chand Dutt, Bakshi Moti Ram and Tara Singh were the dominant names of those times.  They built temples, dug up wells for the 30-50 kanal holdings each and distributed these lands amongst their permanent serfs. They did however, treat their serfs with respect and gave them a good share of the crop — what do you expect from absentee landlords.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The Sikh had a timber business. Logs from Kashmir valley were dumped into Jhelum River and recovered downstream near Jhelum city to be sold at Gujar Khan.

The Hindus were mostly traders, money lenders and retailers.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Muslims were mostly illiterate and poor and were destined to stay that way considering the only quality boarding school in nearby Gujar Khan had 95% non-muslim attendance.

During the 1947 riots, one Sikh Bali Singh and one Hindu Lady Banto were killed in the riots but the rest were whisked away with their gold, in the safety of Gorkha soldiers. The Muslim riot crowd burnt to the ground the several symbols of oppression and got rich in the process, during the looting.

One Hindu tehsildar had the magistrate’s powers to jail someone for 6 months.

Gulyana, Pakistan

When the British left suddenly in 1947, the carefully crafted social experiment in native subjugation came crumbling down within days.

Otherwise, one 100 years old resident of Gulyana tells me, “the Hindus and Sikh were very friendly towards the Muslims, their women played around with the boys, molvi were not trouble makers then; they cared about their serfs and neighbors’, built schools, hospitals and wells for the general public. No Muslim was allowed into their kitchen however. Balraj, Sita, Beera, Ramu Shikari, Gujrati, Peecha Singh, Mangat Singh, Jawals Singh, Raab Singh, Gurdyal, were the well-known Hindus and Labbu, Gurra, Jagdev, Santa, Paacha, Chatru were the known Sikh of the time. One Tek Chand Never left for India and embraced Islam. His wife and three sons left for India. Tek Chand married a Muslim lady and had seven children. They are all in poverty now. Several of the old mansion, one dhramsala, one temple, several bowlis (watering hole) have been lost to time.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The surrounding farms around Gulyana were refreshing. The old styled spoke wells, Sikh Samadhi, Hindu temple and 100 years old Gujarati’s mansion still survives.Gulyana, Pakistan

I went into the temple inner sanctum and saw the most beautiful frescos of mixed Hindu and Sikh religious figures like hanuman, Krishna, Sita, Baba Guru Nanak, Bala, Mardana, etc.

Gulyana, Pakistan

 

Pakistan government build a dam 5 km upstream, called the Ugahaun; it’s a lovely place to fish and boat around.

The union council in 1947 had more financial powers than it does today.

In short, all the entrepreneurs, educators, administrator, jurisprudence people, revenue people, land record people and large scale farmers left in 1947.

Gulyana, Pakistan

I am astonished how Pakistan survived with an illiterate mass of people, steeped in poverty — traumatized by exploitation and mass killings.

Other interesting places in Potohar region are:

Also Read: Protecting The World, The Hindu Way

Bedi Mahal, Pharwala fort, Malot fort, Sangini fort, Rawat fort and Mankial Stupa. (Hindu Council of Australia)