AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sikh Americans from all over Texas are gathering today in Austin to join State Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) for a historic moment in Texas Sikh history. For the first time, a Texas state representative will formally recognize “Vaisakhi” on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. Vaisakhi, the most significant event on the Sikh calendar, is celebrated on Tuesday, April 14th.
Rep. Turner will read a proclamation on the House floor recognizing the importance of the Vaisakhi celebration to Sikhs in Texas and around the world.
Sikh advocate, Manpreet K. Singh of Houston, who today joins many other Sikh community members from around Texas in the House gallery to celebrate the monumental event, said, “Every April, Sikh communities across the world come together to celebrate Vaisakhi. For generations, Sikhs have been making major contributions to Texas in business, culture and education, so it’s very special that the Texas House of Representatives formally acknowledges the importance of this day for us.”
Some 50,000-100,000 Sikhs live in Texas. With more than 25 million adherents, Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest organized religion, after Christianity, Islam, Hindu and Buddhism. It is a monotheistic religion which began in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century. Included among its central tenets are tolerance and acceptance of others.
Vaisakhi took on special significance for the Sikh community in 1699, when the tenth of the Sikh Gurus—Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708 CE)—invited his disciples to join him in the city of Anandpur Sahib. At this gathering, Guru Gobind Singh formally established the Khalsa Panth (the community of committed Sikhs) and publicly entrusted it with leadership. Vaisakhi is fundamentally about community, celebration, and progress, and these values are at the forefront of the collective consciousness as Sikhs gather together to mark the occasion.
Sikh community leader G.P. Singh, who drove up from San Antonio to celebrate the occasion, noted how important this day was for the growing Sikh community in Texas.
“Sikhs are a growing presence in Texas and our faith represents more than 25 million followers worldwide. Our beliefs and values are compatible with the best of American ideals. As a Texan, who has been living here for the past 35 years, it’s a wonderful affirmation to see Vaisakhi recognized on the floor of the state capitol.”
For more details on the event today or to learn more about Vaisakhi, Sikh history, and the Sikh community in Texas please contact Manpreet Singh (information below). She can promptly connect you to Sikh community members in Texas for more background information and interviews.