LOS ANGELES, CA – Thousands of Sikh devotees from all over Southern California congregated at the LA Convention Center on Dec. 15 to mark the celebrations of the 544th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. The celebrations were held at the behest of Gurdwara Vermont with the support of nearly 16 other Gurdwaras and religious organizations based in the Southland. During the daylong event, 25 different Raagi Jathas performed Keertan. Children Jathas of Valley Sikh Temple, Gurdwara Walnut, Gurdwara Buena Park, Khalsa Care Foundation, Ujjal Didar Singh Foundation and Bhai Mardana Academy sang shabads in groups followed by Keertan by the women Jathas of Bhai Mardana Academy and Women Jatha from Arcadia. Raagi Jathas Bhai Bhupinderjeet Singh, Bhai Naib Singh, Bhai Hardev Singh, Bhai Harjinder Singh, International Institute of Gurmat Sangeet, Bhai Jatinder Singh, Bhai Randhir Singh, Bhai Sohan..
Highlight of the event was Keertan by five prominent Raagi Jathas, that included Bhai Raghbir Singh (Gurdwara Walnut), Bhai Jaswant Singh Zeera, Bhai Jatinder Singh (Gurdwara Buena Park), Prof. Ranjit Singh (Bhai Mardana Institute of Gurmat Sangeet and Bhai Varinder Singh (Gurdwara Khalsa Care Foundation)
Bhai Daya Singh gave a talk on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak. Congresswoman Judy Chu, who co-launched the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, while speaking on the occasion, said, it was a wonderful experience for her to be at the celebrations. She said Guru Nanak had been an inspiration to her because he preached against discrimination based on race, caste and status. She said Guru Nanak promoted equality for all and especially women. She said the reason she formed the Sikh American Caucus in Congress was to be the voice of the Sikhs so that discrimination and hate crimes against the community could be prevented. A plaque was presented to Chu on the occasion. John Chiang, California State Controller, while speaking on the occasion said he was delighted to join the members of the Sikh religion on the occasion. He said America was extremely appreciative of the Sikh community for their service to society. Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz and Congressman Ed Royce, sent representatives and a Certificate of Appreciation to the Gurdwara Vermont organizers. Winners of Japji Sahib Spelling contest, Ikjot Singh, Gurnit Kaur and Bandagi Kaur were recognized by the Gurdwara Sahib during the occasion. Santokh Singh, General Secretary of the Gurdwara Vermont emceed the event while Baldev Singh Johal conducted a part of the event.