The US state of Indiana celebrated ‘Vaisakhi’ as the inaugural National Sikh Day in recognition of the contributions of the community which has become a “thread in our fabric”, Governor Eric Holcomb has said. “We are so proud of the many contributions that members of the Sikh community have made to our state,” Holcomb said as he profusely praised the contribution of the Sikh community in the all-round development of the State.
The inaugural National Sikh Day on the Sikh festival of ‘Vaisakhi’ was celebrated yesterday. Indiana is home to nearly 10,000 Sikhs, who own more than 3,000 businesses in the State. “The Sikh community has become a part, it’s a thread in our fabric, in our State’s fabric. (They) keeps us not just well-known around the world as our families become one, but it also helps get the word out and promote that Indiana is not just open for business but we’re a great place, if not the best place to do business and to raise your family and to ultimately, permanently call Indiana home,” Holcomb told PTI.
The Governor said he is looking to attract more members of the Sikh community to Indiana. “We think once you come to Indiana, you’ll stay,” he said. At the event organised by the Sikhs Political Action Committee, Holcomb felicitated head priests and presidents of all Gurdwara Sahibs of Indiana along with other prominent Sikhs.
The celebrations come weeks after the Indiana Senate on April 20 passed ‘Sikh Resolution’ acknowledging and recognising significant contributions that American-Sikhs have made across the US and to the state of Indiana. Several lawmakers and government official praised the contributions of the Sikh Community at the event that was marked with ‘kirtan’ and traditional ‘bhangra’.
“It is time that the Sikh community increase its contribution to the country that they live,” said eminent community leader and successful businessman Gurinder Singh Khalsa at the event organised by the Sikhs Political Action Committee. “Today we need to stand to give because this country has given so much for the last 100 years,” Singh said.
“We are all enjoying American dream. Now is the time to give back to this country, not for expecting something but for who we are, what we stand for,” he said.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill congratulated Sikhs on the inaugural National Sikh Day. “It is exciting to see a group that recognises its responsibility in taking part in enhancing the business environment of the State,” he said.
“These are hardworking individuals who recognise that there is value in not just working their business but also engaged in the government and understanding the political process,” Hill said as he expressed his continued commitment to addressing hate crimes and assaults targeting ethnic minorities.
In her remarks, Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz announced to expand introduction to Sikh history in elementary school.Last year she had announced to introduce Sikh history in middle and high schools.
K P Singh, one of the first Sikhs to have settled in Indiana for about 50 years said that May 15 marks another important day in the progress of the Sikh community in Indiana. Recently the State of Indiana’s General Assembly passed Sikh resolution on April 20, commemorating the anniversary of Creation of Khalsa as National Sikh Day.
The senate resolution stated “recognising and acknowledging the significant contributions that American- Sikhs have made across the US and in the State of Indiana on the occasion of ‘Vaisakhi’ as National Sikh Day.” The City of Fishers, Indiana a suburb of the Indiana’s capital city, Indianapolis, also hosted an event similar to the festivities.
The Mayor of the city of Fishers was the keynote-featured speaker and also executed a Sikh proclamation for National Sikh Day in the city. Earlier Sikh-owned DCL (Direct Connect Logistx, one of the fastest growing and third largest freight company) presented a donation of $12,000 to Jeff Cardwell founder for an Indiana based, nationally renowned humanitarian, non- profit organisation ‘People Helping People’.