WASHINGTON: India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has said that Khalsa is a “uniting and not a dividing force,” days after instances of violence at the Indian missions by a small group of pro-Khalistan supporters.
Mr Sandhu, who comes from an illustrious Sikh family, made the remarks on Saturday at an event where he was presented with the prestigious “Sikh Hero Award” from Sikhs of America along with several other eminent Sikh Americans.
“Khalsa, which was created on the Baisakhi day, by Guru Gobind Singh is a uniting and not a dividing force,” Mr Sandhu said in his keynote address at the event, which was attended by eminent Sikh Americans from across the country.
The Khalsa tradition was initiated in 1699 by the tenth Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh.
The important concepts and fundamentals in the Sikh religion and history include universality, unity, equality, honest living, seva, meditation, peace of mind, and harmony between people, he said.
The Khalsa flag — which flies at the Akal Takht and Nishan Sahibs — is a flag of unity, peace and universal love, the Indian diplomat said, asserting that Sikhism is a religion of inclusion, brotherhood, love, equality and dive. “We must keep these cardinal virtues in mind and not what a couple of mischievous characters spin using virtual media,” Mr Singh said in an apparent reference to the instances of violence by a small group of separatists in the US, Canada, UK and Australia.
In his speech, Mr Sandhu shared with the Sikh community the rise of India and some of the key accomplishments of the country in key sectors of economy, digitisation, health and entrepreneurship.
“In such a scenario, Punjab and the youth in Punjab need to be connected with the economic, financial, tech and digital revolution happening in India,” Mr Sandhu said.
“The government, people and in particular the youth must take advantage of the expanding partnership with the US in various fields that Prime Minister Modi and President Biden are trying to put in place,” he said.
Noting that youth and their parents are spending millions of dollars for sending their children to the US and Canada, Sandhu said the New Education Policy that has been put in place, and the efforts of the Prime Minister will ensure that such education is available in India as well as Punjab.
“Delighted to receive Hero Award from Sikhs of America. Spoke about imp tenets of Sikhism: seva, brotherhood, equality, inclusion & honesty,” Sandhu said in a tweet after the event. “Highlighted the strengthening of US India partnership and tech and infra transformation taking place in India and huge opportunities for the youth,” he tweeted.
In his welcome address, Jasdip Singh Jassee, chairman of Sikhs of America highlighted the role played by awardees in their respective fields. He said that violence has no place in the community.
Others who received the prestigious “Sikh Hero Award” included entrepreneur and philanthropist Darshan Singh Dhaliwal; Gurbir Singh Grewal, former New Jersey Attorney General; former Hoboken Mayor Ravi Singh Bhalla, and entrepreneur Manraj Singh Kahlon. Sikh police officer Sandeep Dhaliwal was also presented the award posthumously.