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Sikh Identity | Vaisakhi celebrations at Wright State University in America

Punjab Newsline | Updated on Tuesday, May 02, 2023 00:10 AM IST

Sikh exhibition & turban tying attracts visitors
DAYTON (USA): Vaisakhi, a harvest festival with special significance for the Sikhs is one of the most important occasions in the Sikh calendar. The Sikh students, faculty and alumni of Wright State University along with the Sikh community of Dayton and Cincinnati came together to host a Sikh exhibition to commemorate Vaisakhi. They were supported by Asian Student Association (ASA), University Center for International Education (UCIE) and the Sikh Society of Dayton.
The Sikh exhibition attracted a diverse audience, including students, faculty and members of the community. Visitors had the opportunity to learn about the rich history and heritage of the Sikhs. The exhibition showcased the history, culture and contributions of the Sikh community in USA and around the World.
The exhibits covered wide-ranging topics about Sikh history, teachings of the ten Gurus, Sikh warriors, distinctive quality of turban worn by Sikhs, achievements of Sikhs in various professions, Sikh wedding, and other festive snapshots. The status and role of women in Sikh history, message of universal brotherhood and importance of Sewa including Langar in the Sikh way of life were also highlighted. Pictures, posters and books related to Sikh history and tradition, musical instruments like Harmonium, Rabaab and Tabla were also displayed.
The biggest attraction at the event was the turban tying session for the visitors organized by the Sikh students. Attendees were fascinated with their princely appearance after tying the turban, and their curiosity led to many interesting questions. This paved a way for interaction and information exchange between the Sikh student volunteers and the visitors.
Sameep Singh Gumtala, a Wright State alumnus and a community activist said that the aim of the event was to enhance the understanding and awareness about Sikhs among students, faculty, and guests. In addition, the event sought to promote diversity and celebrate the richness that different cultures bring to the community.
The guest speaker Aasees Kaur, a Sikh activist, gave a brief historical description of the Sikh faith, the significance of Vaisakhi, and the birth of Khalsa. She took the audience on a journey starting with the new, revolutionary way of living revealed to us by Guru Nanak and closing with how those same teachings were inherently bound to the Sikh identity as formalized by Guru Gobind Singh. Her remarks served a reminder of what Shabad asks us to uphold: a strong moral code and a commitment to reinforcing those ideals in every aspect of our lives, which will undoubtedly lead to a better world for all.
The president of ASA Ryan Diaz and international student program coordinator at UCIE Jesse Makowski, expressed their appreciation for the opportunity that the event provided to the campus community to gain deeper insights into Sikhism and commemorate the cultural richness of our community. They extended gratitude to the Sikh Student Association, the Sikh community of Dayton/Cincinnati, and others who contributed to the planning of the event. Harshdeep Singh, Master’s student welcomed the guests and thanked ASA, UCIE for the support.
Gurvir Singh, a WSU student recruited to serve in US army, expressed gratefulness to be allowed to serve his country while keeping his Sikh identity. Piara Singh Sembhi, Secretary of the Sikh Society of Dayton congratulated Sikh students on hosting this event and invited the guests to visit Dayton Gurdwara.

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