Sikhism in the USA

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Sikhs have been a part of the American landscape for more than 130 years.

First Immigrants

At the turn of the 19th century, many Sikhs began arriving to work on California farms. The state of Punjab was hit hard by British practices of mercantilism. They came via Hong Kong to Angel Island, California(the Western Ellis Island)[1]

First Jobs

"Some Sikhs worked in lumber mills of Oregon or in railroad construction and for some Sikhs it was on a railway line, which allowed other Sikhs who were working as migrant laborers to come into the town on festival days."[2] Now Sikhs are a rich community in United States.

First Sikh Gurdwara in United States

"The first Sikh Gurdwara in the USA was established in Stockton, California in September, 1912 when Sardar Basakha Singh and Bhai Jawala Singh purchased a lot on South Granth Street in Stockton. The lot had a small wood framed house that was used as the main building of the Gurdwara. Today the original building serves as a library. A Nishan Sahib was also hoisted for the first time at the Gurdwara. Baba Vasakha Singh and Baba Jawala Singh Thathian of Amritsar Sahib were appointed as the first Granthi Singh Jis of the Gurdwara."[3]

Sikh Populations in America

The largest Sikh population in America is in Yuba City, California. The rest of America's Sikh population is spread out all over America, with concentrations in such places as Berkeley, San Francisco, Stockton, Sacramento, Richmond Hill, Queens, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit and Española (New Mexico). Most of the first generation Sikhs in Española were introduced to Sikhi by Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi. The Sikhs of Española adhere very strictly to Sikhism.

Sikhs in the United States total over 500,000 with approximately 100,000 of these living in California. Sikhs are the second largest religion in the Yuba City area. 15,000 Sikhs live in the Sacramento area and there are seven Sikh temples or gurdwaras. [4]

Sikh Professionals in the United States

Most of the early Sikhs started life in America as farm laborers, many of them finally became landowners and successful farmers. In 1956, Dalip Singh Saund became the first East Indian born person to be elected to the US House of Representatives. At present Amarjit Singh Buttar is perhaps the only turbaned Sikh who holds elected public office. He was elected in December 2001 to the Vernon, Connecticut, Connecticut Board of Education for a four-year term. He has also been recently selected as the Chairman of the Board. A number of Sikhs, who came in the the 1960s, received higher education at various Universities in USA. Many of them are now Department Heads or Deans at various Universities. A number of Sikhs are physicians of high repute in almost all specialty fields of medicine. Hundreds of Sikhs hold managerial positions in engineering fields in various engineering firms including the technology and automobile industry. Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany is known as the father of fiber optics because of his exceptional research in this field. He also established the Kapany Chair of Sikh Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1998.[5]

See also

External links