Outreach Part Of Sikh Celebration (Stockton, US)


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
By Jennifer Torres
Record Staff Writer
December 27, 2010 12:00 AM

LODI - Rinnie Kaur, 14, covered her head, took off her shoes and sat down to listen to the scriptures of her faith in the last hours of a three-day celebration at the Deshmesh Darbar Sikh temple.

Believers listened to the stories of Gobind Singh, Sikhism's 10th guru, or teacher. Two of his sons were killed in battle. Two were killed for refusing to give up their faith. The Akhand Path - a continuous recitation of sacred texts - held at the temple over the weekend honored that sacrifice, Kaur said.

And as part of the commemoration, she said, children from the temple served food to the homeless and brought donations of coats and blankets to the Salvation Army.

"God has given us so much, and we really need to give back to the community," Kaur, a freshman at Middle College High School, said. "I've seen how people suffer and what hunger is. If you can help, do help."

John Kulwant Singh Takhar said the event, held annually for three years, helps preserve Indian culture and traditions among the children who participate.

"As much as possible, we want to instill culture, our heritage, who we are, what we stand for," Takhar said. "It's promoting that we're all one family. ... We want to pass that on to the next generation."

But the event also serves to introduce Sikhism to the wider community, many parts of which have little understanding of it, temple member Balwinder Singh said.

The monotheistic religion has its heart in India and emphasizes meditation and equality.

This summer, California legislators designated November 2010 Sikh-American Awareness and Appreciation month, noting that the first California Sikh Temple was founded in Stockton in 1929, and that Sikh families remain prominent in Central Valley agriculture.

"Many people are not aware of the Sikh community; we wanted to be more involved," Singh said.



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