100 Years of Khalsa Diwan Society
Thousands come together in New Westminster to participate in Khalsa Diwan Society’ s Centennial celebrations.
New Westminster, BC, December 26, 2006:
Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, New Westminster celebrated the 100 year
anniversary of the pioneer Sikh society, Khalsa Diwan Society, from December
15 to December 25, 2006. The opening ceremony took place on December 15
onwards of which the congregation enjoyed a variety of scheduled events
throughout the 10 day celebrations. On Saturday December 16, 2006, close to
70 participants and over 400 viewers took part in the Khalsa Dastaar/ Dress
(turban tying/dress) competition celebrating the Sikh identity in Canada.
December 17 brought dozens of local, national and international dignitaries
to the Gurdwara Sahib including politicians and Sikh officials from the
RCMP. Speeches and presentations touched on the significant Sikh
achievements of the past 100 years. On Friday December 22, Mr. Harinder
Singh from Texas put on a workshop for Sikh youth called The Guru:
Connecting with the Divine Light which was attended by over 100 Sikh youth.
On December 23, over 400 people filled the New Westminster Community Center
for seminars on Sikh history, philosophy, drugs, and social challenges.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Harvinder Singh Phoolka addressed the
congregation during these seminars as well as DR Khem Singh Gill, former
Vice Chancellor at Punjab Agricultural University and many more local
An International Gatka Exhibition was held on Sunday December 24, 2006 and took place at the Khalsa School in Surrey. Closing ceremonies took place on
Monday December 25 where Sikh pioneers were honoured for their service and
hard work in the establishment of the Sikh community in the Lower Mainland.
In addition to this the Sangat (congregation) of Khalsa Diwan Society, New
Westminster had nominated over the course of the last six weeks, various
descendants of Sikh Pioneers such as the Sikhs involved in establishing the
society and descendants from the Kamagata Maru.
Local Sikh community activists and the achievements of the Sikh youth in the
field of sports and education were also recognized during this day. An award
ceremony also commenced on this day for the participants of the Gatka
Tournament, Dastar (Turban), Khalsa Dress and Essay competition.
A special souvenir titled Khalsa Diwan Society: Celebrating 100 years of
Sikh Achievements was released during the closing ceremonies by Baba Iqbal
Singh from Baru Shaib, India and he also received recognition on behalf of
Sant Baba Teja Singh, who registered the Khalsa Diwan Society and helped
organize Vancouver Sikhs in the early 1900’s and thereafter went back to
India and established the Kalgidhar Society which currently Baba Iqbal Singh
currently oversees and operates over 22 schools and private hospitals and
treatment centers in India. The souvenir which entails a compilation of
articles on Sikhs in Canada will be shipped to libraries and communities
An historical exhibition which featured scared Sikh Scriptures dating back
over 200 years brought exclusively for this event from a private collection
in Toronto as well as pictures of Sikh pioneers and temples dating back to
1897 was also on display.
The 10 day long celebrations not only celebrated 100 years of Sikh
achievements but also marked the beginning of a new era as the youth
community continues their work in the management of Khalsa Diwan Society,
New Westminster. Thousands of members of the Sikh community enjoyed the
celebrations which celebrated the past and showed a glimpse of a glorious
Sikh future in Canada. During the closing ceremonies, the youth management
committee thanked the hundreds of volunteers and organizations who helped
put together the week long celebrations and vowed to continue to honour our
pioneers and highlight the glorious Sikh history in Canada.