Community gets ovation from John Key

Venkat Raman

Prime Minister John Key has paid tributes to the members of the Sikh community in New Zealand stating that their hard work and diligence were a source of inspiration.

Speaking at the Tenth Anniversary celebrations of Sri Kalgidhar Sahib, the Gurdwara located in the South Auckland suburb of Takanini on Sunday, March 8, 2015, he said that Sikhs have been partners in New Zealand’s economic and social progress for more than 100 years.

He said that he was proud that Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, a member of the Sikh community was the first India-born Member of Parliament on the National Party List.

Other speakers at the event included Labour Leader Andrew Little, Labour MP Phil Goff and Barrister and former Corrections Minister Matt Robson.

Fostering welfare

The fact that the Sikh community is one of the most resourceful in fostering community welfare, cultural plurality and the spirit of enterprise was evident at Sri Kalgidhar Sahib.

It was in fact cultural fusion at work, with more than 20,000 men, women and children present over two days of festivities at the imposing complex to celebrate an event, which was rightfully considered a landmark.

Ten years ago, we wrote about the sweat and toil of a small group of people with large hearts, reaching out to a large number of people with equally large hearts; and how the union of minds and deeds gave birth to an impressive and function-built complex.

We were there, as always, lending a hand of support to the people of the Sikh community, for, together, we have strived to foster its goal of communal harmony and peaceful co-existence through goodwill and understanding.

Cultural fusion

If the inaugural function held on March 13, 2005 in the presence of former Prime Minister Helen Clark, Singh Sahib Joginder Singh Vedanti, the religious and spiritual head of the Sikh community, known as the Jathedar of the Sri Akal Takhat (the Supreme Council of spiritual leaders) and other religious, community, social and political leaders was an event to remember, the tenth anniversary proved the growing popularity of the Sikh community in New Zealand.

It was in fact cultural fusion at work.

Political and community leaders have always spoken high of the Sikh community.

“The Sikhs have always been known for their pursuit of peace and harmony and the Gurdwara proves that belief. It is a facility that has become a source of pride and convenience to thousands of members of the community,” they said.

They said that the members of the Sikh community, with their huge support and involvement in various activities, are a source of inspiration to others wherever lived.

New Zealanders have always been impressed by the involvement of Sikhs in the local communities round the world. Their successful participation in the farming sector initially in the Waikato area is well known.

Tribute to Gurus

Leaders present at the Tenth Anniversary celebrations paid their respects to Guru Nanak Dev Ji and other Gurus who believed in oneness of mankind and in the inherent goodness of the individual.

Their teachings have relevance in the daily lives of people in the space age; teachings that have transcended time, space and vicissitudes of mankind.

To tens of thousands of people who even question the existence of God, Guru Nanak Dev is a teacher par excellence and a leader who led by example.

Such is the greatness of the spiritual leader that Guru Nanak Dev is mentioned and followed with respect even by people who have embraced Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and other faiths.

Among the highlights of the two-day festivities were the Kirtani Jatha by Satvinder Singh, Harvinder Singh and Satpal Singh Delhi Wale and a Kabbadi Tournament.

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