LOS ANGELES, CA - Thousands of Sikhs from Southern California and other parts of North America came together on April 5 for the annual Kirtan Darbar and Nagar Kirtan to celebrate Baisakhi here at the Convention Center. Baisakhi commemorates the day in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singhji,
Chiang, presented a Certificate from the State of California’s Treasurer’s Office congratulating the Sikh Community of Southern California on the occasion of the 2015 Baisakhi Celebration. He acknowledged the many contributions that the Sikh community had made to California and pledged to continue to remain in support of Sikhs.
Both the Bhai Sahiba, Bibi Inderjit Kaur and the Siri Siddar Sahiba, Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa of Sikh Dharma International shared inspiring words about what it means to live as Khalsa in today’s world and congratulated the Sikh congregation globally for their commitment to living in Guru’s form and in the majesty of Guru Gobind Singh. Kirtan Singh Khalsa, one of the event coordinators was the emcee for the day
‘Spirit of Baisakhi Awards’ were presented on behalf of the Sikh Community of Southern California to several distinguished individuals and organizations for their exemplary leadership.The International Institute of Gurmat Studies, founded by Captain Harbhajan Singh for their more than 40 years of service to Sikh youth; the Sadh Sangat and Management Committee of Vermont Gurdwara for their leadership in carrying forward the Los Angeles celebration of Guru Nanak’s Birthday; Bhai Chatter Singh Bakersfield for his lifetime dedication to teaching the art and science of Guru Gobind Singhji’s gatka; Bhai Dara Singh Sidhu of Fresno for his spirit of bringing Sikhs together in Chardi Kala and to both Hari Bhajan Singh Khalsa and Hari Kirn Kaur Khalsa, for their more than 30 years of dedication and service to the annual Baisakhi Kirtan Darbar.
Special awards were given to some of the Langar sevadars of the Kirtan Darbar, including, Hardeep Singh Virdi, Kulbir Singh and Kulwant Singh all from Indiana, Amarjit Singh, Manjit Singh, Harpreet Singh and Rajbinder Singh Mangat. Ravneet Kaur (20 years old) was acknowledged for her appointment to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.
Earlier,the day began with Asa di Var Kirtan at Guru Ram Das Ashram with the Cherdi Kala Kirtan Jetha in the predawn hours of the morning. Guru Granth Sahibji was then escorted by motorcycle police in a motorcade of more than a 20 cars to the Convention Center where the Kirtan Darbar was held,Upon Guru Granth Sahib’s arrival, a hukam,( order of the day) was read and listened to by the Sadh Sangat. The day’s program began with the melodious Kirtan of Bhai Daljit Singh of the Apple Valley Gurdwara and Bhai Jatinder Singh of the Reseda Gurdwara.
Through the inspiration and dedication of the many Kirtan and Gurmat teachers of various Sikh organizations and Gurdwara educational programs, many youth Kirtan jathas performed including groups from Ujjal Didar Singh Memorial Foundation, Sur Shabd Parivaar Bhai Mardana Institute, the Khalsa Care Foundation Punjabi School, Guru Ram Das Ashram, the Punjabi and Gurmat School of the Walnut Gurdwara, Buena Park Punjabi School, the Valley Sikh Temple Punjabi School (Canoga Park), the Guru Nanak’s Children’s Academy (Santa Ana), Nanak Sadan Gurmat Academy (Reseda), Baba Fareed Sangeet Academy (Riverside), and Gurudwara Gurbani Darbaar (Ventura).
Several Women’s Kirtan jathas followed including Sur Shabad Parivaar Bibiyan Jatha, Sur Sangam Sangeet of Corona and Bibi Balbir Kaur and Kamalpreet Kaur’s jatha from the Walnut Gurdwara Sadh Sangat.
The central portion of the Kirtan Darbar program included presentations by the International Institute of Gurmat Studies, Bhai Gopal Singh (Buena Park), Bhai Bhupinderjit Singh (Alhambra) Bhai Ajit Singh Nimana (Ventura) Bhai Surdeep Singh (Buena Park) Bhai Teja Singh (Santa Ana), Bhai Bhavandeep Singh Zakhmi (Bakersifield), Bhai Gulbhag Singh (Padam Sri Awarded). Additionally, Bhai Gurmeet Singh (Valley Sikh Temple), Bhai Naib Singh (Baba Farid Academy), Bhai Sobha Singh (Norco) and Bhai Jatinder Singh (Sikh Study Circle, Los Angeles)also presented.
The Kirtan Darbar concluded with Kirtan presentations from Bhai Gurcharan Singh Rasia Ludiana Wale, the Chardi Kala Jatha (Sada Sat Simran Singh Khalsa, Harimanderjot Singh Khalsa, Dharam Singh Khalsa and Hargobind Singh Khalsa) and concluded with a grand finale at the end of the program, Gurshabd Parchar Sabha Los Angeles, Kirtan Jetha, with Prof. Ranjit Singh, Bhai Jaswant Singh, Bhai Varinder Singh and Bhai Gurjeet Singh all singing together to chant several inspiring shabds, including Waho Waho Gobind Singh which uplifted the spirits of everyone present.
The Sikh martial art was showcased at the entrance of convention center where children and youth demonstrated their Gatka skills. Gatka players were wearing the traditional Sikh clothing, complete with turbans and robes.
The Nagar Kirtan was organized by Khalsa Care Foundation which has coordinated the parade since its inception in 1998.The Foundation also designed the magnificent Guru’s float on which the Cherdi Kala Jatha and Bhai Varinder Singh Jetha both led the beautiful tunes that were sung throughout the streets of Los Angeles. Sangat started out the parade with many Jai Karas. Panj Pyaras, the five beloved one’s walked in front of the mail float carrying the Guru Granth Sahib, followed by a sea of Sikh Sangat and two other floats specially designed for the old and handicapped. The parade went over a mile on the roads of Los Angeles, singing verses from the Guru Granth Sahib.
The organizer of the Nagar Kirtan, Joginder Singh Sidhu while talking to IJ said it took more then a month and 40 volunteers to prepare the main float that cost around $25,000.