NEW JERSEY: On this most auspicious occasion of the 290th year of the Sikh calendar. The Birthday of the Khalsa, The day on which our tenth master Guru Gobind Singh baptized the first batch of puritan Sikhs in 1699, it is our greatest pleasure to ‘Welcome Honorable Thomas Kean, The governor of New Jersey.

Mr. Arjit Singh Mahal gave a speech on The History of the Sikhs. With particular reference to the Migration of Sikhs to the USA.

Following is the text of the governor’s speech: “I’m delighted to be here, and I’m always proud into be first at something, I understand I am the first New Jersey Governor to set foot inside a Gurdwara on this special occasion. The celebration of The Vaisakhi, which begins the 290th year of The Khalsa,

You gave something here that is very special. You have tradition. As Americans you also share in our nation’s traditions, like The Thanksgiving Turkey and fireworks on the fourth of July. We “cherish these traditions.

Anyone who has seen department stores displaying candy canes and tinsel in midOctober knows that we can a get a little carried away. It’s up to our families to preserve the true meaning of these traditions.

So it is with Sikh families. They keep alive the story of the 10th Guru Gobind Singh. They recall how he baptized five brave men who were willing to give their lives for the faith. He called them KhaIsa, the pure ones. And he gave them the five symbols of the skih faith, which we know as the five K’s

Today I went to talk about something like the five K’s I’ll call them the four C’s. Together they ‘help form the backbone of your faith. They are also very much what we all treasure as Americans.

The four C’s are these: community, concern, coequality and courage.

When you talk about community, you must look first at the family. The measure of any society is the strength of it’s most basic structure the family. Sikh families find strength in the home, with a room in each house set aside for prayer. This is where the holy book, “The Guru Granth Sahib” is kept.

In their home, Sikh mothers and fathers pass the faith to their children.

Your community in New Jersey is a young community, one of our newest. But after 200 years, ours is a young nation.

And it is kept ever younger and vibrant by the changing faces of its newest communities. We welcome you.

The second C is concern. Guru Nanak, The founder of the Sikh faith, taught that a true believer serves his fellow man. You are + doing that in Perth bmboy this week as members of the Sikh community distribute food to the needy. Whether it’s running a blood drive or helping out the march of dimes, you put concern into action every day”.

The third C is coequality. Five centuries ago, Guru Nanak was teaching a value that some still think progressive. He believed that woman and man, rich and poor are coequals in a universal brotherhood. That belief is made vivid here in the Gurdwara, Where we sit together without chairs. Two centuries ago, Thomas Jefferson put that belief into our declaration of independence when he wrote, “All men are created equal.” 5 Finally, there is courage. Commitment to an ideal may come with the realization that it is right. But you need courage when following that ideal may be dangerous. The pages of our nation’s history are filled with examples of these courageous men and women. People like natan help, who spoke out for liberty as the British were ready to hang him.

And people like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Who spoke so. Eloquently about the rights of the black man and the black woman to opportunity in America. He dared to promote peaceful change, knowing many would hate him.

These people remind us of the five Sikh disciples who responded to Guru Gobind’s call nearly 300 years ago.

Sparked by courage, more and more Sikhs have come to the United States and many have settled here in New Jersey. 1am sure the world here looks a lot different from that of the Punjab. But, like so many immigrant communities, Sikhs are not only surviving in New Jersey, you are thriving here.

As you welcome me here today, I want to welcome you, one of our youngest communities, to the great state of New Jersey. It’s greatness lies in the same four C’s 1 speak of today.

American is a country where nearly everyone is from somewhere else. Ours is a nation where the Sikh, The Spaniard, The swede each has brought a piece of his homeland here, enriching us all with his heritage.

Keep alive your heritage. Keep strong your faith and culture Not only the signs and symbols, but the history and traditions which underlie them.

Two hundred years ago a Frenchman writing about our new nation asked “What is this American? Who is this new man?” The American is the sum of many parts and many nationalities. Now we add the Sikhs and the skih experience. We welcome it and you, and we are glad to have this contribution.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 13, 1988