LOS ANGELES, CA – Nearly 15,000 Sikhs from Southern California and other parts of North America came together on April 10 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 Singh, created the Khalsa and...
The day began with Asa di Var Kirtan at Guru Ram Das Ashram in the predawn hours. Guru Granth Sahib Ji 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 between 7.30 am and 3.30 pm. Upon Guru Granth Sahib’s arrival, a hukam, order of the day was read and heard by the Sadh Sangat. The day’s program began with the melodious Kirtan of Bhai Daljit Singh of the Apple Valley Gurdwara and Bhai Gagandeep Singh of the Nanak Sadan 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 the Khalsa Care Foundation Punjabi School; Baba Jorawar Singh Fateh Singh Punjabi School Buena Park; Ujjal Didar Singh Memorial Foundation; Sur Shabd Parivaar Bhai Mardana Institute; Guru Ram Das Ashram; Punjabi and Gurmat School of the Walnut Gurdwara; Valley Sikh Temple Punjabi School (Canoga Park); Guru Nanak’s Children’s Academy (Orange County);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); Prof. Naib Singh (Santa Ana); Bhai Gurdeep Singh Sucha Singh and Prof. Ranjit Singh (Bhai Mardana Academy of Music).
Bhai Manjit Singh, former Jathedar Takhat Keshgarh Sahib and former acting Jathedar Akal Takhat Sahib Amritsar gave an inspirational talk on the concept of Khalsa.
The Kirtan Darbar concluded with Kirtan presentations by the Chardi Kala Jatha Miri Piri Academy Amritsar and concluded with a grand finale at the end of the program, Gurshabd Parchar Sabha Los Angeles, Kirtan Jatha, with Bhai Raghbir Singh (Walnut), Bhai Jaswant Singh, Bhai Varinder Singh, Bhai Surdeep Singh and Bhai Sobha Singh all chanting together several inspiring shabds, which uplifted the spirits of everyone present.
‘Spirit of Baisakhi Award’ was presented on behalf of the Sikh Community of Southern California to Congresswomen Judy Chu. While congratulating the community on Baisakhi, she mentioned that this was her 15th consecutive year of attending the celebrations. She presented a Certificate of Congressional Recognition to the organizers. Referring to the current political climate of the country, she said the ideals of openness and acceptance that we stand for as a nation were threatened by some Presidential candidates who were spewing intolerance through their hateful and xenophobic speeches. She said another reason to celebrate was that the US Army finally granted Captain Simratpal Singh permission to serve while wearing a turban after many years of advocacy by many including herself in Congress. She also spoke about hate crimes against Sikhs with special reference to 68- years- old Amrik Singh Bal of Fresno who was attacked last December. She added the reason she founded first Sikh Caucus in the U.S. Congress was to ensure that our nation could understand the true beauty of the Sikh religion and to ensure that Sikhs had a stronger voice and greater access at the Congressional level. Speaking on the occasion, L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the need of the hour was to focus on our similarities rather than our differences and bring everybody together as one. The strength of the country lies in the fact that the residents are united, defend each other, and stand up for the