Washington: In yet another first for the Sikh community in the US, the 553rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs, was celebrated with fervour in the US Capitol. Co-organised by the Sikh Caucus Committee and American Sikh Congressional Caucus, the event witnessed the participation of close to a dozen members of the US Congress led by its Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark.
Addressing the gathering, Clark lauded the Sikhs for being a peace-loving community that has made significant contributions to various fields in the US.
“Sikhs are a peace-loving community and follow the principle of their Guru of helping others,” she said.
Terming it an honour to be associated with the Sikh community, Congressman John Garamendi appreciated the Sikhs for their belief in Sarbat Da Bhala’ (welfare of all) and prayers for all.
Terming Guru Nanak’s travels to centres of various other faiths as the pivot of Sikhism, Garamendi appreciated the efforts made by the American Sikhs at encouraging interfaith dialogue in the US.
“Such efforts afford an insight into the Sikh doctrines for a better understanding of the Sikh faith, and are a welcome step at promoting interfaith bonhomie,” he said.
Another co-chair of Sikh Caucus, David Valadao, praised the Sikhs for following the teachings of Guru Nanak of sharing and serving the humanity. A great example of this was witnessed globally during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Iqtidar Cheema, a member of UN Global Steering committee, praised Guru Nanak for showing the path of peace, harmony and co-existence.
The participating members of the US Congress stressed that America’s strength comes from its diverse heritage, which the Sikh community in the US is helping protect besides aiming at the reinvigoration of the US traditions of inclusion, freedom, and interfaith cooperation.
“It was a great honour to celebrate like this,” said Brenda F. Abdelall, Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement, OPE/DHS.
Harpreet Singh, Harjinder Singh, Jagraj Singh, Himmat Singh and Pritpal Singh, directors of the Sikh Caucus Committee, said that the event aimed at promoting a greater understanding of the Sikh faith and its tenets among the people of other faiths, and vice-versa.
Besides Clark and Garamendi, the event also witnessed the presence of other US Congress members including Judy Chu, Donald Norcross, Jim Costa, Mary G. Scanlon, Doug LaMalfa, Lou Correa, Jimmy Panetta, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Patrick Meehan.