Rediff India Abroad
 Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections


The Web

India Abroad

Sign up today!

Mobile Downloads
Text 67333
Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Contact the editors
Discuss this article

Home > News > PTI

Americans taking to Sikh philosophy

December 03, 2006 16:04 IST

As Vikram Singh sang Sikh hymns at a recent inter-faith concert in Washington, few could remain without giving him a big applause as the voice singing the verses belonged to none other than Vic Briggs, a prominent rock star of the 70s, who has now embraced Sikhism.

Singh is in fact the first non-Indian Sikh to have performed at Golden Temple in Amritsar. But then he is not the only American who has taken to Sikhism. According to Dr Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, the number of these 'turban-wearing American Sikhs' is nearly 50,000.

"In the last decade, some Americans who have become Sikhs are mainly through the contacts with American Sikhs and some local Indian Sikhs," Dr Rajwant Singh, Chairman, Sikh Council on Religion and Education, told PTI in an e-mail from Washington.

"Recently, there is also surge in numbers of people becoming Sikhs in the Latin America.  There have been reports of people turning to Sikhism in Brazil, Chile, and Peru. Men and women are equal who are converting," he said.

Explains Dr Jaspal Singh, a Sikh scholar and former diplomat: "These Americans are impressed with the Sikh philosophy, which has universal appeal. Sikhism is the youngest religion and modern in outlook."

Various Sikh groups have been working there with NRI Indians, to keep the Sikh identity intact and the locals are also very much impressed with their work, he says. And this is happening at a time when there is crackdown on overt expressions of religious identity in the West, especially in Europe.

This is in fact a reflection of the religious diversity of America. "It is important for us to come together during these challenging times," said Chattar Singh Saini of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation.

According to Dr Rajwant, Vikram Singh joined a kirtan group at the Interfaith Conference and added guitar, Dilruba and Sitar in the Kirtan. Prior to becoming a Sikh, he was a rock star with a very popular group, The Animals. Vikram Singh does exceptional kirtan and was actually the first non Indian Sikh to do kirtan at Golden Temple in Amritsar, he said.

© Copyright 2006 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: sikhism has enviable future

Every human being needs an identity.It is a basic struggle which goes on in human beings.World is fed up with Christianity as it never updated ...

Posted by samson aseervatham

Sub: Youngest religion?

<blockquote>"Sikhism is the youngest religion and modern in outlook"</blockquote> Not True! Bahai is more recent and also quite modern in its outlook!

Posted by Salauddin



Copyright © 2006 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.