Sikhs in Italy

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    Sikhs in Italyby SEEMA SIROHI


    The Italian hills of Colli Albani stand guard in the distance and the one road nearby leads to Rome.
    Inside the small farm shed, a picture of Guru Nanak looks kindly down from three walls out of four, competing with the bric-a-brac cramming the room's beds, one book-shelf, suitcases in line and stacks of DVDs. The adjacent kitchen, which converts to another bedroom at night, has rudimentary cooking utensils, a rickety table, a huge plastic barrel of atta and two refrigerators. A neat row of clothes pegs carries the burden of entire wardrobes.

    Harjit Singh, who came to Italy two years ago from India, is making cha for the Punjabi workforce on this lush farm south of Rome.
    Tajinder Singh, barely 18, and who landed here just five days earlier after paying an agent Rs 8 lakh, helps with the chores. He doesn't have a job yet, but he has shelter, thanks to his village brethren.
    "Everyone comes here to earn money; I too decided to come", he says, smiling shyly. But tears well up when he talks about his family. It's still too raw: the departure, the journey, the touts, the alien languages along the long route of illegal migration.

    The two rooms are home to eleven men from Punjab, some legal, others illegal, but all bound by a common will to survive with few resources and many insecurities.
    Goldy Singh trundles back after a 14-hour workday, having secured delicate green bean tendrils with ropes and sticks. He opens a drink, shaking mud off his rubber boots and exchanges pleasantries with Satinder, a man of many trades and skills.
    Satinder, who connects Italian farmers with the Punjabis, owns two shops in Italy, exports Murano glass to Mumbai, drops names and goes to the West Indies for the World Cup, is one of the few regular links between the isolated workers and the world. The cellphone is another.

    There is comfort in brotherhood, as men from the villages of Punjab come together in far-flung communities across Italy, a new favourite destination of immigrants.
    More than 50,000 of them, mostly Sikhs, are spread across towns such as Reggio Emilia, Casina, Bergamo and Brescia, a far cry from Kapurthala, Hoshiarpur or Ludhiana, labouring with quiet determination and doing jobs the Italians are unavailable for or unwilling to do. Some make as little as 500 euros a month, exploited by crafty employers. Those who become legal can make up to 1,500 euros.

    Last week, at a cultural evening organised in Rome by a Punjabi who's now an official with an Italian workers' union, singers belted out ribald songs before a meal of chicken curry and naan.
    A prosperous-looking Balbir Singh sat in the audience with his wife and son, recounting how he came 18 years ago after paying an agent Rs 17,000 for a tourist visa. Today the price is anywhere between Rs 6 and 10 lakh.
    "I didn't know where or what Italy was, but I hoped to find work", Balbir said, fiddling with his fancy cellphone sporting a Guru Nanak screensaver. Work he did find, first in a circus as a driver, then as a labourer and electrician. Today, he owns a factory making grilles for windows.

    The Sikhs are also making wine and cheese. Up in the northern Emilia Romagna region, home to the famed Parma ham, the Punjabi worker, with his intuitive farm skills, has added another "P" to the big two: prosciutto and parmesan. They are curing tonnes of meat into prosciutto and turning gallons of milk into parmesan cheese, a sprinkling of which is essential over pasta. They have reportedly even improved the process.

    But come Sunday, and a mini-Punjab sprouts in the twenty-two gurdwaras across Italy, with shabad kirtans and langar, providing an anchor to the thousands of Sikhs who long for the sounds and smells of home.
    In the very same communities, in April this year, Vaisakhi was celebrated with abandon and large processions ... a bit of Punjab, with an Italian flavour!
    [Courtesy: Outlook India]


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    source sikhchic.com | The Art and Culture of the Diaspora | Article Detail
     
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  2. spnadmin

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    Note: from SikhiWiki

    Italian Sikhs are a religious minority in Italy. Italy has the second biggest Sikh population in Europe after United Kingdom. They number more than 70,000 (about 0.12 % of total Italian population). There are about 22 gurdwaras across the country - the oldest one being in Reggio Emilia in central Italy where many members of the community are engaged in agriculture.
     
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    Falling birth rates and an ageing population are causing concern for demographic experts and for various industry sectors in Italy, and hence the opportunities for young Indian workers look bright. The fact that there is a large community of people from Punjab, settled in northern Italy, is now attracting many more people from the state who initially start off by taking up agricultural jobs.

    Many Indians have now also become entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector and set up units such as dairy farms. Indians are also engaged in machine tools jobs and other semi-skilled jobs while others have taken up jobs in Indian restaurants. There’s a fairly large community of people from Kerala in Italy who work in hospitals as nurses and in other healthcare jobs. While the Keralites have their own association, there are many Gurdwaras in Italy which have been set up by the people from Punjab. Officially there are around 60,000 people of Indian origin living in Italy and about another 40,000 non-resident Indians.

    Italy’s largest Gurdwara is located in the north-eastern city of Castel Gomberto in Vicenza province. It is a symbol of the economic well-being of the Sikh community in the province - there are around 3,000 Sikhs in Vicenza and the numbers are growing. The Gurdwara has large premises and has a modern kitchen and langar hall. The prayer hall on the first floor, where the Guru Granth Sahib is kept, can accommodate 1,000 people.

    The oldest Gurdwara is in Reggio Emilia in central Italy where there is a large community of people from Punjab engaged in agriculture. Most Indians have integrated very well into Italian mainstream life, and local authorities in Italy are by and large happy with their contribution to the economy. They have also been found to be generally very industrious, hard working, and law-abiding.

    More about migration and immigration to Italy Now, Indian agricultural workers flock to Italy- The Global Indian Takeover-Features-The Economic Times
     
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    Largest Gurdwara

    Now, Sikhs do a Canada in Italy
    There are some 60,000-70,000 Sikhs in Italy and their number
    is growing. There are about 15 gurdwaras
    ROME, NOVEMBER 15, 2004
    IANS ​
    Italy's largest gurdwara has opened in the northeastern city of Castel Gomberto in Vicenza province, a sign of the growing Sikh community in the country and their economic well-being.
    The new building of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara was purchased by the community in the countryside, where many of the community members live. There are some 3,000 Sikhs in Vicenza and their number is growing.
    The gurdwara was inaugurated on November 9. Nearly 3,000 people took part in the inaugural ceremony, which was addressed by Giani Puran Singh.
    The gurdwara has large premises and has a modern kitchen and langar hall. The prayer hall on the first floor, where the Guru Granth Sahib is kept, can accommodate 1,000 people.
    There are some 60,000-70,000 Sikhs in Italy and their number is growing. There are about 15 gurdwaras across the country - the oldest one being in Reggio Emilia in central Italy where many members of the community are engaged in agriculture.

    However, as the community members become more accustomed to the Italian way of life, they are moving into industrial clusters in the northeast, particularly Vicenza province.
    Harbant Singh, president of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Vicenza, is widely credited as being the brainchild behind setting up the new gurdwara.
    He thanked the community for its support and dedication in establishing an important religious institution. He also thanked the Indian embassy in Rome and the Indian government for supporting the immigrants in their settlement in Italy.
    He said that the introduction of Alitalia flights from Milan to New Delhi, in addition to the Milan-Mumbai flights, had greatly helped the community in reaching their hometowns more easily and directly from northern Italy and acknowledged the positive role the embassy had played in this regard.
    The gurdwara committee members also thanked the embassy for taking up with the Italian government the problems faced by visa seekers from the community.
    Meanwhile, several members of the community expressed their happiness at the "positive image" enjoyed by them in Italy as hard-working and honest people.



    Source NRI Sikhs in Italy

     
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    Gurdwaras in Italy

    This is from Wikipedia and is only a partial list. I will come up with a more complete account eventually. :)

    Italy


    • Gurudwara Shri Guru Nanak Darbar, Rome
    • Gurdwara Singh Sabha,Rome Italy
    • Shri Guru Hargobind Sahib Sewa Society, Italy
    • Gurdwara Singh Sabha Reggio Emilia
    • Shri Guru Ravidass Temple,Vernon
    • Gurudwara Shri Guru Ravidass Darbar,Bergamo
    • Shri Guru Ravidass Temple,Vicenza
    • Gurudwara shri guru kalgidhar singh sabha Vescovato Cremona
    • Gurudwara Shri Singh Sabha Pasiano Pordenone
    • Gurudawara Ravidas Sabha Sabaudia Rome
     
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  9. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    AAD ji..I guess you are Italian ??
    THANKS a million for these informative posts..I have a few relatives in Italy..long lost and forgotten.
    It was in Italy that I first met a real Gentleman..the Late Dr Kharrak Singh of the IOSS Chandigarh..He was workign for the FAO then and based in Rome...I still remember the ITALIAN FOOD !! ( names forgotten)..just the absolutle heavenly taste only lingers in my brain...as if it was just yesterday..and not in 1970....
     
  10. pk70

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    Aad Jio
    My special thanks for all postings regarding Sikhs in Italy, these are very informatory. It shows light on different world. it’s about something within that doesn’t die as people search for means of living in foreign lands. It’s about the urge they carry to introduce to others that they are known as Sikhs and are part of this planet. People from other faiths when meet them at least they can tell about themselves just as they learn about others. Imaginable dreams! It’s a global melting, scattered seeds of One source getting together as time changes as per His ordinance.
     
  11. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
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    and if i may say so..Sikhs never create "ghettos"..wherever they go they are open and mix in with the crowd...not aloof and shut in like some other communities...thats a good sikh trait
    in Malaysia..its the GURDWARAS that attract the Pakistani "Punjabis"..not their mosques !!
     
  12. spnadmin

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    Yes -- Italian American. VaheguruSeekr ji got me thinking a lot about the similarities between Italians and Punjabis. The food is good -- and Italian/India fusion style of cooking works. Many ingredients are the same -- tomatoes, squash, sweet and hot peppers, onion, garlic, saag and bitter broccoli which is another dish that I am told they like in Punjab, eggplant, cornbread - the list goes on. Also spices like bay leaf, hot seed pepper and cinnamon -- again the list goes on.

    What strikes me is the pictures of the Sikhs in Italy -- they don't look all stressed out.

    I forgot chick peas -- channa.
     
  13. spnadmin

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    pk70 ji

    That is the miracle -- everything you say up above. Go to a gurdwara in italy and find yourself at home after all -- or so it seems. You can see in the video how respected the Sikhs are also in that part of the world.
     
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    Turban Day Celebrations In Rome, Italy

    May 4th, 2009 by Special to SikhNet



    It was a moment of wonderful feeling of sharing the cultural heritage in one of the reputed universities in Rome, Italy when on 28th April 2009, an occasion on Turban was marked to bring awareness on the cultural heritage from the region of Punjab, India. The day started with incessant rain which was thought to be a mood spoiler but it proved out to be blessing in disguise as the original open location was shifted to one of the largest rooms of the University at Viale Romania. Luiss Guido Carli is a famous international university of Rome where students from many different corners of the world come to attend undergraduate, graduate and post graduate courses. It is also one of the most expensive universities known for its superb state-of-the-art facilities for its students.
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    Turban Day event was basically a five-hour event and was the first time that such an event was organised in an Italian university, it became one of the largest crowd puller owing to the interesting picture portraits by famous Italian photographer Alessandro Marongiue was adorned on the some of the walls of university. People started peeping from the windows and doors to know what is happening, which made them curious for the love for turban.
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    It saw participation of hundreds of students and at least 21 students got a chance to wear the crown of turban. There was much excitement among them as very few people know about it and there was a large queue of seekers. The remarkable event was supported with light spiritual music which soaked the environment with a feeling of bliss and harmony. The students were seen rejoicing. The message of universal togetherness in diversity was shared among them and they got a taste of cultural activities from the East. It seems like perfect blend of the East and the West.
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    It was inspiring and brought a sense of motivation for seekers of such colourful cultural activities. It was admired with fun and frolic manner with full support of music, multimedia projections, and pictures on the walls. the insightful view of the culture and importance of “No Smoking” was shared.
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    The event was organised in the university by a student named Harpreet Singh from New Delhi, India who was at many times asked by his Italians as well as other friends and colleagues alike about the significance of the Turban in their daily life, purpose behind it and does he belong to the Arab World?, so the need was sensitised to organise an event which can act as a platform for generating awareness for the youngest and one of the most admired cultural heritage from India. It was organised with the help of local Italians who are deeply familiar with the way of life and are the organiser of Kundalini Yoga events in Italy in which Mr. Romeo Grappasoni, Ms. Guilia Laruffa and Flaminia Parkash Pacceli helped many students to know about the turban.
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    Earlier, it was planned for 13th April 09 but due to the holiday on Easter, it was fairly scheduled for 28th April 09. University management showed its eagerness in organising the event and facilitated all the desired equipments for the event disposal. Students who wore turban became ambassador of the event and shared their sentiments with others.

    All the student delegation was very happy for it is organised and they carried home a warm feeling of happiness leading from awareness of leadership by turban in action.
     
  15. spnadmin

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    Upcoming Gurdwara In Rome, Italy Needs Your Support

    May 4th, 2009 by Harpreet Singh

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

    This is the story of Love, devotion, hard work and challenges faced by the Sikh community in Rome, Italy and the story begun with the acquiring of a little land in 1994 on lease which envisaged the setting up of a Gurdwara complex near Rome. During the initial years there were few members from the Sikh community in Rome to start the sewa, however they managed and came up successfully championing hardships like managing their own work and at the same time making arrangements for funds by visiting far flung places for work, running for tedious bureaucratic approvals, in period of time procured many essential facilities.

    The setting up first Gurdwara complex in Lazio region of Ladispoli was quite a challenging experience and was in few years shifted to near Fregene, about 1 hour journey from the centre of Rome. For the last 10-11 years, it is being run from the same complex having capacity to seat around 250 people. Motivation for Love has made all the difficult things possible to achieve by His Grace. There was handful number of people who began this service.
    Basically, the journey started with the few gentlemen who took modest initiative in arranging funds in the year 1994 and successfully found the suitable place in Ladispoli. Within few years, the small yet beautiful Gurdwara was shifted to another place on the outskirts of Rome near Fregene, Maccaresse at Via Luchini Pompeati Arturo, 70 00054 Fiumicino (RM) on lease. With the journey of more than a decade, committee together with the local sangat of Siri Guru Hargobind Sahib Sewa Society has been blessed with buying of fairly a good piece of land for a new Gurdwara Sahib in Rome and presently the construction is in taking plac. However it is seeking immediate building funds from the sangat across the globe. By Guru`s grace, we would like to schedule its inauguration in the month of June`09.​
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    (Newly purchased site for the Gurdwara complex)​
    The new Complex will have the seating capacity of 500 people. The interesting thing to note is that it will be just 13 minutes distance from Cornelia Metro station. From Termini station, Coliseum and Vatican City, it is 30 minutes journey by car. Management has to secure many loans to achieve this objective. Gurdwara Sahib helped many other Gurdwaras in Italy with the building funds but now itself is seeking funds for further construction. Due to the lack of funds, sangat members are taking part in the construction themselves. It needs funds for the construction of ceiling, floors, langar hall and various other things. Donations received on time will assist in making a very beautiful temple for all. It will house a langar hall with a seating capacity of around 250 people at the same time. New address of the complex will be Via Romano Guerra 16, Massimina Rome 00166 Italy.

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    (Construction for Gurdwara Sahib taking place, Rome)​
    Assist by participating with the sangat in realizing the long pending dream of building a Gurdwara Sahib. Around 0.45 Million Euros is the estimated total cost and the management is in dire need of funds up to 90,000 Euros to bring this gift to the people of Rome. No amount is too small if given with the complete devotion to the feet of the One.

    We request you to direct the funds in the name of

    Sri Guru Hargobind Sewa Society, Rome
    Bank Account Number with IBAN code is - IT89Y0300239241000400463757
    Person in charge of management is Balbir Singh and he can be reached at 0039-3389031822, lallbalbir@tiscali.it


    Yogi Bhajan Singh Ji on DAS VANDH (GIVING ONE TENTH)

    "It is a priority that we must have land. It is a priority that the payments of the land must be made. It is a priority that for our future children there should be a place. It is a priority that we must build something for tomorrow."

    What is the secret of the tenth part? Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Master, told his Sikhs one-tenth of the earnings they received did not belong to them but belonged to God. When we give it back to Him, then all of the wealth and prosperity which is ours is revealed to us and is bestowed upon us.

    Das Vandh is a pure and simple business with God. The ten-fold return represents our interest and dividends already waiting to be paid to you from the profit sharing pool. To join the ‘credit union’ and begin collecting our multiple returns, we must contribute your one tenth.

    Sikhs first began bringing offerings to the Guru during the time of Guru Nanak. Guru Amar Das started the formal tradition of serving lungar when he called upon his Sikhs to bring a portion of their crops and earnings to share in the community kitchen. During the time of Guru Arjun, the Guru’s House fell upon difficult financial times. Guru Arjun’s older brother, Prithi Chand, had performed certain dishonest acts which corrupted the system, and the Guru’s court and lungar began to fall short of cash. Bhai Gurdas and Baba Buddha became so concerned that they went to Guru Arjun asking what solution could be applied. Guru Arjun knew the Cosmic principle to reverse the trend and multiply their prosperity. He told his dear beloved Sikhs that the problem was simple: they had to collect the tenth part of everyone’s earnings to contribute to the Guru’s Court and the Guruka Lungar. Twenty-two Masands were appointed who went to visit the Sikhs on their farms and in their outlying villages each month, bringing them news of the Guru’s mission and collecting the tenth part of their earnings to build their community bank.

    The Siri Singh Sahib or Yogi Bhajanji told us the principle was true then, as it is true today and will be true tomorrow. He said:

    "These things are a priority over today. So far, all of our structure is being maintained, but now we are asking people: ‘Do you need your future?’ Then you give one-tenth for it! It is insurance; it is paying the premium, it is a participation in your own future. Because it is a law of the Universe that one-tenth of your income you must dedicate to God, to God’s work. This law is not made by me. It is a law from the time immemorial. If you say that you can’t do it, it is because you don’t have the endurance to do it. You don’t have the continuity to do it. You don’t have the values to do it."

    Place their Daswand in Guruji's feet however dire the circumstances may be.

    In Tankhanama Bhai Nand Lal ji says : He who does not take out daswand and cheats to survive; Says Guru Gobind Singh Ji to Nand Lal Ji “ Such a person will never see progress..”

    Dhan Guru Nanak Sahib Ji
    Karo Kirpa Sangat Ji,
    Sewak


    Source Sharing the Sikh Experience | SikhNet
     
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