Sikhs in India & USA

Sikhs in India & USA

I am not a historian or scholar. I am an ordinary Sikh interested in my roots. There are many excellent books about Sikh history and Sikhs which everybody cannot read. Most of the new generation, including my own children, do not know about Sikh history.

In 2012, on the centennial celebration of the founding of the Sikh temple in Stockton, California (the first temple in the USA), I was given the honor of making a Sikh museum in the original Gurudwara Sahib building. The building still stands, though it has been renovated over the past one hundred years.

While working on the museum, the thought came to me about writing a small booklet about the Sikhs. This booklet would tell about our home, our history, and our contributions.

Although I tried to use accurate dates for events, they vary in different books and sources. One reason for the variation is that the original dates are based on the Indian lunar calendar (Vikrami calendar), which varies each year compared to the Western calendar. For example, in 1699, Baisakhi was on March 30th. Now it is celebrated on April 13th each year. The Baisakhi date will change again in a few years. Mr. Purewal solved the problem by creating the Nanak Shahi calendar. What was done to this calendar by our honorable Jathedars? Every Sikh knows that. Anyway, I do not want to go into the controversy over calendars and dates.

There are certain Punjabi words are used to show respect like BABA (old man, wise man) MATA (mother) BIBI (nice, used for girls) ji (like yes sir or madam) SARDAR (Chief, leader. it is used in India to address any Sikh) SIRI (like sir) SAHIB (sir lord boss). This booklet is written more as a story and not a book of history. For anyone who wants to go deeper into Sikh history, good books are available. One excellent source is the Encyclopedia of Sikhism. It is a four-volume set by the Punjabi University of Patiala and is available online.


This booklet is kept simple so that any high school student can read and understand it. It is also for non-Sikhs, who may not want to spend time on a reading a longer or more complex books. Just by reading this, they will have some understanding about the Sikhs. It will also serve as a guide to Sikh Museum in Stockton (Gadar Memorial Museum). I am thankful to Nikki Kalra for typing it. I am also thankful to Neil Ranu for reviewing it and giving it the shape of book. Your suggestions are welcome at

This is my humble effort. I hope my readers will accept it.

Harbhajan Singh Shergill M.D.
Stockton, CA
April 2018