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Sikhs Outdoagain at the Parliament of World’s Religion 2018 in Toronto, Canada Nov 1 – 7, 2018

Sikhs Outdoagain at the Parliament of World’s Religion 2018 in Toronto, Canada Nov 1 – 7, 2018

Sikhs Outdoagain at the Parliament of World’s Religion 2018 in Toronto, Canada Nov 1 – 7, 2018
November 17
05:46 2018

The American Sikh Council (ASC) along-with with other Sikh organizations participated with gusto at the Parliament of World’s Religions (PoWR) held The Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), Toronto, Canada from November 1 – 7, 2018. This event is held every 3-4 years and this year it was attended by over 10,000 people of faith from over 50 different religious and peace organizations from more than 80 countries.
The highlight of the Parliament of World’s Regions was the ‘Guru KaLangar’ which was a combined effort of the Sikhs across the Canada. A special note of thanksgoes to the Ontario Sikhs and GurdwaraCouncil (OSGC) who led this sewa, the organizers, the sewadars thelocal sangatand many unnamed individuals who took the initiative to leadand take this enormous responsibility along with World Sikh Organization (WSO), to hold the ‘Guru KaLangar’.
The OSGC did an excellent job of planning the large stand-alone displays whichcovered the entire gamut of the Sikh heritage – from the Sustained Sikh Genocide to the Khalsa Aid and much more! The World Sikh Organization (WSO Canada, providedadditional support in moving this enormous project forward. The phenomenal sewa by all the gurdwaras of the greater Ontario was simply amazing.
The OSGC did an incredible job to coordinate and cook the ‘Guru KaLangar’ at the Gurdwara Sahib and provide an outstanding sewa overall. The langar would open at 11:30 am – 2:30 am every day for seven days and was well organized. Thanks to these and all other ‘panthic’ organizations for providing financial support for the ‘Guru KaLangar’ to be a resounding success and making a lasting imprint in all the attendees.
One of the Sikh attendees Dr.Manbir Singh observed, “People were drawn to the ASC exhibit; some out of curiosity and many others who simply wanted to meet and talk. But everyone walked away with a smile of gaining new knowledge and understanding, while many got turbans tied to gain an insight of what it feels to be a practicing Sikh.”
Sikhs held over 75 several seminars, panel discussions and presentations over the seven days covering an array of topics, from the ‘Sikh Genocide’ to global peace and everything in-between.The Sikh speakers spoke about their religion, their history and their traditions. There was also a lot of focus on the issues and problems Sikhs have had in the past, especially since 9/11. Other speakers focused on the current issues such as discrimination, hate crimes, bullying and harassment, in the US and in Panjab. The speakers emphasized the teachings of love, humility, universality of all and the oneness of the Almighty. Some of the key presenters were Lady Dr.Kanwaljit Kaur of UK with the bulk of the speakers being from the US. The presentations were very well received.

One of the most underrepresented groups in previous PoWR’s were the ‘Dalits’ who had a reasonably good showing this year. The Dalits not only participated and candidly spoke about living with the daily indignities of the insidious Brahmanical caste system but were also supported by all the Sikhs to stand up against the diasporic tyranny of the upper castes which continues today including being threatened by the upper caste right-wing Hindus at the PoWR.

The upper caste Hindus started to complain about the large presence of Sikhs on the very first day of the PoWR and actually had the audacity to put it in writing. It is fascinating and truly ironic how the upper caste Hindus (many citizens) of America and Canada get completely bent out of shape when Sikhs talk about the ‘Sustained Sikh Genocide 1984-1998’, further refuse to acknowledge the truth about the Indian government’s long term diabolical role in the persecution. Any time Sikhs speak truth to power they are immediately vilified as secessionists, which simply goes to show the upper caste insecurities and paranoia. Upper caste Hindus have always held a patronizing attitude towards Sikhs and refuse to acknowledge the true independence and their faith and as equals. This year the Sikhs not only stole the show but made a powerful impact at the global stage and the caste Hindus feel a sense of permanent entitlement to getting center stage. Free speech is the right of every human in North America, since it is a somewhat curtailed commodity in the homeland of the caste Hindus.
https://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/editorial-parliament-of-world-s-religions-why-are-hindus-unhappy-2684248
https://www.dailyo.in/politics/us-hinduism-religion-north-america-discrimination/story/1/27715.html
https://thewire.in/religion/politics-is-too-important-to-be-left-to-corrupt-and-criminal-politicians

Other programs included kirtan by the Sikh Youth Alliance of North America (SYANA). Sikh youth organizations had a good display and presentations in the ‘Sacred Space’ room.

The American Sikh Council (ASC) had a stand-alone exhibit where they handed out various educational materials which included brochures on the Sikh Faith, Sikh Scripture, History of Sikh Americans, Bullying of Sikh American Children, Sikh Genocide and several books published by ASC on the Sikh heritage were displayed at the exhibit.

Over the week-long event ASC volunteers tied over 400 turbans. Other Sikh exhibits such as the World Sikh Organization (WSO) also ended up tying a few hundred turbans. While tying turbans ASC members had a one on one contact with guests and the undivided attention from a few minutes to longer discussionsto explain their heritage. After the ‘Guru KaLangar’ the turban tying was the most popular and memorable part of the PoWR.

One out of every 8-10attendees had a dastaar/turbanon their head. Many came back the next day to retie their turbans or request a different color. Some of the attendees even reported that they slept with their turbans in case they may be unable to put it back on next day. Some actually went to the airport on their way back with the turban on their heads as they wanted experience the treatment that each Sikh gets when they travel by air.

As ASC President Dr.Gurdas Singh and Vice-President S.Jasbir Kaur witnessed, “Many of the people we tied turbans on would either smile or get emotional as it opened their eyes to something unique and educational transforming their preconceived notions in a positive manner.”

The Sikh participation in this year’s Parliament of World’s Religions was a monumental success, all due to the collective effort of Sikhs across our nation and beyond.

ASC member S.Kirpal Singh stated the most common comment by the attendees on the final day was, “The Sikhs have stolen the show!”
Dr.Kanwaljit Kaur the current President of the Global Sikh Council (GSC) spoke at the closing ceremony giving a very positive and uplifting message on behalf of the Sikhs

The next Parliament of World Religions has been scheduled in two years (not four) with the country to be announced soon.

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Punjab Mail USA

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