VANCOUVER, B.C.: An impressive and colorful parade marked the Sikh nation’s birthday celebrations. On the first day of Vaisakhi in 1699 corresponding to March 30, 1699, the tenth Master Guru Gobind Singh formally fashioned the Sikh nation by administering KhandeKiPahul (baptism by the sword) to five beloveds (Punj Piare) and also by himself taking the same. This occasion is celebrated by Sikhs all over the world on the 1st day of Vaisakh which falls around April 13 every year.

Sikhs of Vancouver came out dressed in their best to participate in the parade which started from Gurdwara Ross Street and stopped for two hours in the Main Street which is popularly known as “Punjabi Market”. More than 25,000 Sikhs marched in perfect discipline chanting religious hymns and occasionally raising political slogans. A helicopter hovered above all the time and carried birthday greetings to Sikh nation in large letters.

Colorful floats representing a number of societies, gurdwaras and organizations were the main highlights conspicuous among them were the tastefully decorated floats of Khalsa Diwan Society’s Punjabi School, Khalsa Diwan Society, Vancouver, Merrit Sikh Society, Khalsa Diwan Society, Nanaimo, and International Sikh Youth Federation with a Khalistan flag and map, Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, Delta Surrey and World Sikh Organization.

In the Punjabi Market the parade was welcomed by S. Kewal Singh Pabla. In his brief speech S. Surjit Singh Gill appealed to the Sikhs to send the children to the Punjabi school.

Bhai Lakhbir Singh, convener International Sikh Youth Federation said that only Sikh nation has

the unique distinction of having a birthday. No nation was born in such a distinguished and majestic manner as the Sikhs, he said. He appealed to all the Sikhs to unite at this critical juncture.

S.Daljit Singh Sandhu, President Ross Street Gurdwara felicitated the Sikhs on their birthday and thanked the Punjabi Market for making excellent arrangements.

Bhai Ajaib Singh Bagri said that Jathedar Talwinder Singh’s release was a big slap in the face of the Indian government whose pressure was responsible for the uncalled detention of the Jathedar for nearly eight months. He said that Sikhs never attack innocent persons, they only fight against oppression.

Dr. Chanan Singh, who had brought Guru’s weapons from England for special display on this occasion, also, felicitated Sikhs on their birthday.

Earlier Mr. Chingiara elaborated on the importance of Vaisakhi.

The participants in parade carried placards and raised slogans like “Khalistan Zindabad; Raj Karega Khalsa; Degh Tegh Fateh; Panth Ki Jeet; Ban Ke Rahega Khalistan; Lae Ke Rahange Khalistan; Singho Jhande Gad Deo; Katil dokhi wad deo; and Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale Zindabad”.

Leading the procession were Sikh flags and the Canadian flags which were prominently featured in the T.V. coverage. The T.V. commentators also said that Sikh will keep fighting for their sovereignty. The peaceful nature of the procession was specially commended. The credit for the grand success of the parade goes to the gurdwara managements and various Sikh organizations. They deserve to be congratulated by all Sikhs.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 24, 1987