LOS ANGELES, CA - Nearly 15,000 Sikhs from Southern California and beyond came together on Apr 13 to celebrate Baisakhi here at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Baisakhi commemorates the day in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh, 10th of the Sikh Guru’s established a code of conduct for living as a Sikh.
Bhai Amit Singh of the Nanak Sadan Sikh Temple, Reseda started the Keertan followed by Bhai Daljit Singh of the Apple Valley Gurdwara. Through the inspiration and dedication of the many Keertan and Gurmat teachers of various Sikh organizations and Gurdwara educational programs, many young Keertan jathas performed including the youth groups from Ujjal Didar Singh Memorial Foundation, Baba Fareed Sangeet Academy, Sur Shabad Parivaar Bhai Mardana Institute, Khalsa Care Foundation, Guru Ram Das Ashram Khalsa Young Group, Walnut Gurdwara Keertan group, Guru Nanak’s Children’s Academy Sikh Center of Orange County, Valley Sikh Temple Punjabi School, Gurdwara BuenaPark Punjabi School and others.
Three women Keertani Jathas, Sikh
Ragi Jathas Bhai Bhupinder Singh from Sikh Temple of Alhambra, Bhai Ajit Singh Nimana from Sikh Gurdwara Ventura, Bhai Bhavandeep Singh Zakhmi from Bakersfield, Bhai Satvir Singh from Valley Sikh Temple, Bhai Khem Singh from Sikh Center of Orange County, Bhai Gurdeep Singh from Sikh Gurdwara of Los Angeles, Bhai Pritpal Singh Khalsa from Hacienda de Guru Ram Das, Espanola and and Bhai Naiv Singh of Riverside, all performed the most exquisite Keertan raising the spirit of all the attendees. Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa of Sikh Dharma International gave an inspiring speech 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 way. She said Guru Gobind Singh built the character of the Khalsa through education, Sewa, Simran and Keertan.
The Bhai Sahiba of Sikh Dharma International, Inderjit Kaur Khalsa congratulated the congregation and said Sikhi was a universal path that unites us to the creator of the universe. She said Guru Gobind Singh’s message of equality, justice, freedom and love for each other was more relevant now than ever.
U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, who was attending the program for the 13th consecutive year, while speaking on the occasion said this day was a reminder of the Sikh community’s commitment of highest standards of service, courage and consciousness. Chu also mentioned about her spearheading efforts for the formation of an American Sikh Caucus in the US Congress that has now 39 members of which 8 are Republicans and 31, Democrats. She presented the community with a “Certificate of Congressional Recognition in Commemoration of Baisakhi Day.”
Other special guests included State Controller John Chiang, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, Deputy Director, Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships Jannah Scott, Riverside Chief of Police Sergio Diaz and Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell. In addition to the political dignitaries, the founders of Claremont Lincoln University, Dr. Jerry D. Campbell and Rabbi Mel Gottlieb were honored for their interfaith contributions.
Other community members honored with the “Spirit of Baisakhi Award” including Bicky Singh, Manjit Singh, Kulbir Singh, Hardeep Singh Virdi, Amarjeet Singh, Ravi Singh and Jacquie Kaur (of Khalsa Peace Corps) for their dedicated commitment to service, inspiration and sharing. The Keertan Darbar proceeded with nearly an hour of Keertan presented by the Guru Shabd Parchaar Keertan Council, Panj Ragi Jathas under the direction of Bhai Ragbir Singh of Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Walnut, also including Bhai Gurjeet Singh of Guru Nanak Sikh Temple Buena Park, Bhai Varinder Singh of Khalsa Care Foundation, Bhai Surdeep Singh of Buena Park Gurdwara, Stanton St. and Bhai Jatinder Singh of Sikh Study Circle, Vermont Gurdwara.
The Keertan concluded with the Guru Ram Das Ashram Keertan Jatha with Sat Kartar Kaur Khalsa, Gurprasad Kaur Khalsa, Pritpal Singh Khalsa and others who sang the ‘Song of the Khalsa’ and Anand Sahib.
Throughout the day many thousands were served congregational meal inside the langar hall which had been prepared by hundreds of devoted volunteers under the leadership and care of Hardeep Singh Virdi.