The Kirtan Darbar was held in the massive auditorium of Downtown convention Center Phoenix, Arizona where the walls were decorated all along with over 60 specially prepared banners from India, each 4 feet X 8 feet, all in English. They highlighted Sikh Identity and Sikh Religion including Sikh Philosophy, Sikh presence in North America, Sikhs in WWI and II as well as hate crimes against Sikhs. Another important item on the agenda was to honor the Sikhs who had taken Amrit this year as well as those who once again decided to re-embrace the Sikh identity with the grace of Akaal Purukh after having earlier cut hair or beards. Overall, there were 12 such souls. They were greeted with Jaikara while being honored by the esteemed Ragi Jethas.
The mayor of City of Phoenix who arrived to be part of the program was also honored on the stage likewise. Two interesting speeches by teenagers, one in Punjabi by Sardarni Manmeet Kaur and other in English by Sardar Anhad Singh were primarily targeted towards the gradual deterioration of Sikh identity and the urgency of its preservation. The sacrifices of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and his family as well as many other Sikh Shaheeds in the cause of Sikh faith for the preservation of Sikh identity were recalled by these two young Sikhs through a passionate and mind piercing message. They were able to make a very strong case for adopting the path of Gurus through a humble reminder to the Sikhs about their Sikh roots and the sacrifices of their predecessors for the preservation of Sikh identity, the Sikh faith and Sikh culture.
Staring with Japuji Sahib and followed by sweet shower of Gurbani Kirtan, first by the children of Punjabi Schools of all the Gurdwaras and then by a marathon session of two and half hours by four local Raagi Jethas, the program continued inside the hall unitl in Blue and Kesri Turbans, Chunnis or 2:30 PM. Ongoing Snacks consisting of several Indian delicacies were continuously served outside to all those who came, in plenty and in abundance. During the Nagar Kirtan, the banners that initially decorated inside of the hall were then carried by several pairs of two people each. They were taken around in the streets of downtown Phoenix, in front of Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s Swari placed high atop an elegantly decorated 18 wheeler. Behind Guru Granth Sahib, the entire Sangat slowly walked while singing Gurbani and religious songs.
Langar was served across the street at a park like shady setting in a beautiful lawn after people returned from the parade. Once again several dishes prepared by many volunteers who had been working hard for several days and nights relentlessly in the name of Guru, were greatly appreciated. This was the third time Sarb Sanjha Vaisakhi Kirtan Darbar was arranged in downtown
Phoenix, whereas the Nagar Kirtan this year, like the one last year, was arranged for the second time in this unique way to aggressively highlight the Sikh identity. All the three Sikh Gurdwaras were instrumental in helping arrange the events in almost all the aspects. The excitement and reverence was all too obvious in the air and was full to the brim.
*Author of 1. “Square Pegs, Round Holes” www.SquarePegsRoundHolesBook.com and 2. “Sikhism: Points to Ponder; Perspectives of a Sikh Living Abroad,” as well as a recently published masterpiece about the cross-cultural dilemma of Indian subcontinent diaspora, 3. “One Coin, Two Sides,” For details of the this new book, please go to the LINK http://inkwellproductions.com/ one-coin-two-sides.htm