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I The Journey Understanding Mohalla Hola
Vaisakhi &
2024 VAISAKHI 4 6 Understanding Hola Mohalla 12 Vaisakhi & I - The Journey 20 The Largest Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan Outside of India Return to Surrey & Vancouver 24 Supreet Sidhu 29 Peter Bance - Preserving Sikh Heritage 37 Rise of Punjabi Music & Culture 40 Gems of VPD 42 The Month of Vaisakh 46 Arsh Singh Kaler 48 Patka Box 52 Spirit of Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan 57 Ravi Singh: Doing Seva Around the World 63 Seven Gems from the Treasure Chest of Wanjara Nomad Collections 70 Sikh Foundation 76 Recipes 109 Nishan Sahib 111 Vaisakhi Activities for Kids 120 Order of the Sikh Gurus 126 The Three Golden Rules of Sikh Panth 2024 VAISAKHI SPECIAL Publishers: Gurvinder Singh Hundal Ramneek Singh Dhillon Editor: Monica Sethi Contributing Writers: Inni Kaur Maneet Bhamra Mrinalini Sundar Naina Grewal Petrina D’Souza Graphic Designer: Jaskaran Singh Kethuka H.M Herath Online Editor: Ish Sharma Advertising & Sales: Gurvinder Hundal Ramneek Dhillon Prapti Taneja Postmaster if undeliverable please retun to: 340-8140, 128th St. Surrey, BC. V3W 1R1 Published By: Darpan Publication Ltd. Copyright © 2024 Darpan Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. Darpan Magazine is published once every two months. This magazine, its editorial content, images or advertisement cannot be reproduced or reprinted in any form, without prior written permission of the publishers. The views expressed by the writers in this publication are not necessarily the views of the publishers. The publishers assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Publications sales agreement no. 4116014. Vaisakhi & I The Journey Understanding Mohalla Hola The Spirit of Vaisakhi 2024 VAISAKHI Vaisakhi VAISAKHI SPECIAL 2024 REFLECTING THE SOUTH ASIAN LIFESTYLE

Understanding Hola Mohalla

Hola Mohalla is a three-day Sikh festival that encapsulates the essence of spirituality and martial valour.

Rooted in the historical event of the creation of Khalsa, this festival, celebrated annually on

the day following the festival of Holi, holds profound significance for Sikh communities worldwide. It beautifully intertwines the principles of the Saint and the Soldier, echoing the timeless teachings of Sikhism.


The origins of Holla Mohalla can be traced back to the year 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, founded the Khalsa Panth (community of the pure) on the day of Vaisakhi. This momentous event marked a pivotal juncture in Sikh history, symbolizing the synthesis of spiritual devotion and martial prowess. Guru Gobind Singh called upon Sikhs to embody the virtues of the Saint-Soldier (Sant-Sipahi), emphasizing the importance of inner purity and outer strength in the pursuit of


This concept is deeply ingrained in Sikh philosophy. It advocates for a harmonious balance between spiritual enlightenment and active engagement in practical affairs. It emphasizes the idea of being spiritually grounded yet morally courageous, echoing the teachings of Sikh Gurus who preached compassion, humility, and selfless service alongside the readiness to defend the oppressed and uphold justice.

Holla Mohalla, meaning “mock fight” or “mock battle,” pays hom-

age to this ethos by featuring various martial arts displays, including Gatka (traditional Sikh martial art), sword fighting, archery, and horse riding. These spectacles are not merely demonstrations of physical prowess but serve as symbolic reminders of the Sikh commitment to defending righteousness and standing against tyranny. Moreover, they underscore the importance of discipline, bravery, and camaraderie within the community.

Beyond the martial aspect, Holla Mohalla also encompasses

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Sikhs gather at Gurdwaras to participate in prayers, hymn recitals, and readings from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism. These devotional activities foster a sense of unity and collective consciousness, reinforcing the values of humility, equality, and selfless service.

One of the distinguishing features of Holla Mohalla is the langar, a communal kitchen where free meals

are served to all attendees, irrespective of caste, creed, or social status. This practice exemplifies the Sikh principle of seva (selfless service) and reinforces the idea of equality and inclusivity—a cornerstone of Sikh teachings.

Holla Mohalla serves as a vibrant expression of Sikh identity and ethos, encapsulating the timeless teachings of the Saint and Soldier tradition. It is a joyous occasion that not only commemorates a spiritual dimension.

the historic creation of Khalsa but also reaffirms the enduring values of Sikhism—compassion, courage, and communal harmony.

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Inni Kaur

Inni Kaur is the Creative Director at the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI). She has served SikhRI in several capacities since 2010, including Chair of the Board and, most recently, CEO.

She is a frequent speaker at community and interfaith events, the U.S. Office of the Pentagon Chaplin, and several universities. She is a passionate author, poet, and artist. Her published works include Journey with the Gurus, a children’s book series inspired by the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Sahib, Sakhi-Time with Nani ji, Thank-You Vahiguru, Daddy’s Turban, and The Story of Us.

She is passionately involved in transcreating Sabad (Infinite-Wisdom) and the writings of Bhai Vir Singh.

To Inni, every single day is a celebration. Her writing is inspired by that same outlook on life, as well as Sikh thought. While she writes anytime the spirit moves her, she thoroughly enjoys watching the clouds pass her, taking long, mindful walks to appreciate nature’s innate beauty, and painting abstract artwork.

Inni Kaur resides with her family in the United States).

Vaisakhi & I The Journey

For a Sikh, Vaisakhi reverberates with the resounding echoes of 1699, where the 10th Patshah, the Tenth Sovereign, left an indelible mark on Sikh history. This extraordinary event transcends the confines of time, engraving itself deeply into our collective consciousness.

The historic Vaisakhi of 1699 pulses vividly within me, intricately woven into the very fabric of my existence. It feels as though it resides within the genetic makeup of every Sikh, an integral component of our identity. Regardless of geographical boundaries, on this momentous day, every Sikh endeavors to go to a gurduara (Sikh place of learning and worship), immerse themselves in the sangat (congregation), and commemorate this significant occasion.

Our recollections of Vaisakhi vary, reflecting the diverse stages of our Sikhi journey.

Stories of Vaisakhi nurtured me, yet its significance eluded me. It wasn’t until despair cloaked me in its shroud that a Voice thundered within:

“You are not a commodity, You are not someone’s property.

You are a spark of Divinity, Recognize your worth.

I give you the name ‘Kaur.’ It belongs to you.

Stand tall, my child. I am with you.”

In that transcendent moment, I embraced “Kaur” with fervor. I grasped, on myriad levels, the profound gift bestowed

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upon me. It occurred in my forties, an epiphany amidst the mundane.

Before then, “Kaur” and I were strangers. But now, we are kin. That moment became my

personal Vaisakhi; A treasure cherished with every breath.

Embracing Kaur unfettered my spirit, unleashing a torrent of transformative freedom. The

intensity of this liberation wrought profound changes, stirring tumult within relationships—both cherished bonds and those professing affection. Yet, despite the upheaval, retreat was not an option, for I had savored the divine “Nectar” and yearned for its essence above all else.

Surrender ensued, though I had once perceived it as a mark of weakness. Images of white flags and conquering armies loomed large whenever the notion of surrender brushed my consciousness. Yet, this surrender was unlike any other.

It wasn’t merely I who surrendered; it was the very essence of my being that yielded willingly. My head bowed instinctively, my heart unfurled like a blossom in spring, and a radiant warmth of love ensued. I felt cradled, nestled within the comforting embrace of Gurbani.

The Guru says:

“If you are excited to play the game of love, come to my street with your head placed on the palm. Once you place your foot on this path, do not hesitate to offer your head.”

-Guru Granth Sahib 1410

So, I tread upon this Path, its challenges as intricate as a hair’s breadth

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ਜਉ ਤਉ ਪ੍ਰੇਮ ਖੇਲਣ ਕਾ ਚਾਉ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਧਰਿ ਤਲੀ ਗਲੀ ਮੇਰੀ ਆਉ ॥ ਇਤੁ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪੈਰੁ ਧਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਿਰੁ ਦੀਜੈ ਕਾਣਿ ਨ ਕੀਜੈ ॥੨੦॥

and its trials as piercing as a double-edged sword.

In the mosaic of my journey, I recall a line from Bhai Vir Singh’s “Kalgidhar Chamatkar”: “Sikhi is love; Sikhi is faith” (Sikhi piar hai, Sikhi sidak hai - ਸਿੱਖੀ ਪਿਆਰ ਹੈ, ਸਿੱਖੀ ਸਿਦਕ ਹੈ).

I’m repeatedly asked: “Why this path?”. The answer is quite simple. The love I’ve discovered within the House of Nanak is a love that tenderly nurtured me, fostering my growth and flourishing.

Sikhi is indeed love. I bear witness to that truth.

Love is not a concept but an experience woven into the fabric of relationships. The bond between Guru and Sikh exemplifies this, where

proximity to the Guru deepens the connection exponentially.

For me, Guru is Sabad. Sabad entered. My life transformed. The slumber ended. My eyes opened. I see beauty all around. It was always there; I simply lacked the discernment to perceive it.

Embracing Kaur has given me a guiding light, leading me towards self-acceptance and embracing every facet of myself, including imperfections. In Sikhi, Guru is Perfection, and I am a work in progress.

Vaisakhi transcends its commemorative essence, intricately weaving itself into the fabric of my existence. Unexpectedly, I

find myself whisked away to the Vaisakhi of 1699, its significance never distant from my consciousness. When queried, “Who were you before Kaur?” I’m left grappling for words. Often, I feign ignorance, and if pressed further, I simply concede, “I was nothing: I was a void.”

I’ve weathered storms before Sikhi enveloped me in its embrace. I am now Kaur, and that’s the essence of my being.

Perhaps it seems peculiar, or perhaps not, but I believe the Vaisakhi of 1699 liberated me. There’s no retreat once you’ve tasted the sweet nectar of freedom. It all boils down to relationships, and I yearn for this bond to define my existence.

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I regard the Gifts as my shingar, my adornments, mirroring the divine reflection of Guru. They stand as emblems of love, manifestations of belonging.

My kesh (hair) flourishes with tenderness; I now revere them my tresses.

The kara (steel bracelet) graces my wrist; it’s the sole jewel I cherish.

I no longer brandish the kirpan as a mere sword. Instead, it’s an instrument of compassion wielded with reverence. I pine for divine virtues to imbue my being before I deem myself worthy of bearing this Gift. It took time to

reach this state of mind. Yet, in Sikhi, the journey is the destination—an ongoing evolution towards spiritual fulfillment. I am cognizant that Sabad’s profound presence enriches and embellishes my life.

I genuinely believe that every Sikh shares a profound connection with Sabad, each in their own unique way. Sabad’s ineffable beauty leaves an indelible mark on all who encounter its divine essence.

In my mind’s eye, I see us all as radiant jewels adorning the crown of Sikhi. Some shine like diamonds, emeralds, and

rubies, while others are the solid gold upon which these precious gems rest. Yet, all jewels require refinement to reveal their true splendor, a process gracefully undertaken by the Guru.

We are indeed all jewels in the glorious crown of Sikhi.

This Vaisakhi, let us fervently yearn for refinement. Let us earnestly aspire to be adorned with “The 5 Gifts.” Let us passionately embody the noble ideals of the Vaisakhi of 1699.

And I wonder, when will the Kirpan embrace me in its compassionate embrace?


Spotlight on Surrey

The Largest Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan Outside of India Return to Surrey & Vancouver

Every April, millions of Sikhs and devotees worldwide eagerly anticipate Vaisakh, a celebration that holds profound significance in Sikh tradition. As the day commemorates the establishment of the Khalsa Panth by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699, it stands as one of the most significant festivals in the Sikh calendar. Across the globe, Sikh communities come together to honor this auspicious occasion with vibrant festivities, but nowhere is the spirit of Vaisakhi more fervently felt than in Surrey, British Columbia.

Surrey, a culturally diverse city in the heart of Metro Vancouver, hosts the largest Vaisakhi Parade outside of India. Drawing an astonishing crowd of approximately 500,000 people each year, the annual Surrey Vaisakhi Parade has become a monumental event that resonates far beyond the local Sikh community. With its magnitude and cultural significance, the parade serves as a testament to the vibrant Sikh heritage and the city’s rich cultural tapestry.

The origins of the Surrey Khalsa Day Vaisakhi Parade date back

to the early 1990s when a small group of local Sikhs initiated a procession to commemorate Vaisakhi. For the last two decades, the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade has graced the streets of the community. Over the years, the event steadily grew in size and popularity, evolving into the grand spectacle it is today. Held in the streets of Surrey’s Newton neighborhood, the parade encompasses a route that spans several kilometers, pulsating with the rhythm of joyous celebrations and spirited performances.

This inclusive and culturally vibrant event

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welcomes attendees from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, showcasing numerous floats, community performers, and live music. Additionally, volunteers offer complimentary food and beverages to participants, generously provided by hundreds of local residents and businesses. The air is filled with the resonating sounds of dhols (drums) and gurdwara bands, creating an atmosphere of unity and jubilation.

One of the defining features of the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade is its inclusivity and welcoming spirit. While the event holds deep

religious significance for Sikhs, it also serves as a platform for intercultural exchange and community engagement. Attendees from diverse backgrounds, faiths, and cultures come together to partake in the festivities, fostering bonds of friendship and understanding amidst the joyous revelry.

As the largest Vaisakhi Parade outside of India, the Surrey Khalsa Day Vaisakhi Parade has transcended its local roots to become a global phenomenon. In fact, each year, the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade draws attendees not just from neighboring cit-

ies, but also from across the border in the United States. Families and communities from various states eagerly make the trip to be part of this grand celebration of tradition.

As such, the event serves as a beacon of collective identity and pride, uniting communities in celebration of shared heritage and values. Through its colorful pageantry, cultural performances, and acts of benevolence, the parade encapsulates the essence of Vaisakhi — celebrating new beginnings, fostering unity, and spreading joy and goodwill to all.

Surrey’s Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan stands as a shining example of cultural diversity and communal harmony, embodying the spirit of Vaisakhi in its truest form. As we reflect on the significance of this annual extravaganza, let us embrace its message of inclusivity, generosity, and solidarity, recognizing that the spirit of Vaisakhi transcends boundaries and embraces all humanity!

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Supreet Sidhu Championing Punjabi Heritage

In the bustling landscape of New York City, amidst the rich diversity of cultures, one individual stands out for her innovative approach to preserving and celebrating Punjabi heritage: Supreet Sidhu. A multifaceted professional, Supreet wears many hats—from being a cherished photographer capturing life’s precious moments to pioneering playful methods of teaching Punjabi. Her journey is not just about personal growth; it’s a testament to the power of cultural preservation and the importance of language in shaping identity.

Born and raised in Mumbai, Supreet’s story took a significant turn when she relocated to New York at 13. Amidst the whirlwind of adjustment, she yearned to reconnect

with her Punjabi roots, feeling a profound disconnection in her new environment. The discovery of a Gurmukhi book sparked a journey of self-discovery, laying the foundation for her commitment to preserving Punjabi culture.

Supreet’s dedication to learning Gurmukhi was not merely a personal endeavour but a promise to future generations. As

she embraced motherhood, she realized the profound impact of language and culture on identity formation. Determined to provide her daughter with a solid connection to her heritage, Supreet embarked on a mission to make learning

Punjabi fun and accessible.

The result?

Punjabi Era and the Gurmukhi Box—a testament to Supreet’s ingenuity and

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This Vaisakhi take a moment to inspire and be inspired by our traditions, history and rich cultural heritage! #208-8120, 128th St. Surrey BC Tel: 604.599.7262 | Fax: 604.599.3555 www.asbubber.com ARVINDER S BUBBER, FCPA, FCA Income Tax | Estate Planning | Investing | Accounting Wishing You A Very

passion for blending tradition with modernity. The Gurmukhi Box, designed with playful elements inspired by the Montessori approach, offers children a captivating journey into the Punjabi language and culture. From interactive foam magnets to engaging flashcards, Supreet’s creation fosters immersive learning experiences that resonate with children and their families.

Reflecting on her journey since launching the Gurmukhi Box, Supreet cherishes the moments of connection and impact. Whether it’s witnessing

children proudly writing their names in Gurmukhi or fostering intergenerational bonding through language learning, each milestone reaffirms the importance of her mission.

Yet, Supreet’s vision extends beyond individual success. She sees herself as a bridge between Punjabi communities worldwide, fostering collaboration and mutual support. Drawing inspiration from her visit to Surrey, BC, where Punjabi language integration in education is more pronounced, Supreet envisions a future where New York

and Surrey exchange best practices, enriching the global Punjabi diaspora.

In Supreet’s eyes, preserving Punjabi culture is not just about language; it’s about fostering a sense of belonging, community, and pride. Through her innovative initiatives and unwavering dedication, she’s shaping Punjabi education’s future and empowering individuals to embrace their cultural heritage with joy and resilience.

As Supreet’s journey unfolds, one thing remains certain: her passion for preserving Punjabi culture will continue illuminating paths of connection and understanding, inspiring future generations.

You can chat with her on : www.PunjabiEra.com

Local Surrey residents can buy The Gurmukhi Box from Sunfarm produce outside Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib


The Extraordinary Pursuits of

Peter Bance

Preserving Sikh Heritage and Beyond


In the fascinating tapestry of Sikh history, Bhupinder Singh Bance, known as Peter Bance, emerges as a luminary figure whose passion for preserving the legacy of Maharajah Duleep Singh, and beyond, has left an indelible mark on the historical landscape of Sikhism, Punjab, and beyond. A renowned Sikh historian, independent researcher, and antiquarian, Bance's journey into the realms of Sikh history is as unconventional as it is compelling. Born into a family that moved to Britain in the 1930s, Bance's initial foray into the world of academia saw him as a marketing student rather than a history scholar. However, fate had a different path laid out for him. It was during a visit to Thetford that the seeds of curiosity were sown as he stumbled upon the samadhi of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last sovereign ruler of the Sikh Empire.

Intrigued by this chance encounter, Bance initiated a quest to unravel the lesser-known aspects of Duleep Singh’s life, particularly focusing on his descendants. This quest became the catalyst for the creation of a vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia associated with the Maharajah and his family. Bance’s newfound passion prompted him to place advertisements in local papers,

seeking information about Maharajah Duleep Singh’s children. The response was overwhelming – 400 replies flooded in, unveiling a treasure trove of artifacts and personal stories. Bance’s journey became a personal connection to his roots, a way of staying tethered to his Indian heritage, despite never having set foot in India at that point.

With a collection of such magnitude,

Bance became a custodian of history, showcasing his treasures globally, from the Victoria & Albert Museum to The British Museum and the Bard Graduate Centre in New York. He then embarked on a journey of research that would redefine Sikh historiography. His debut book, The Duleep Singhs: Photograph Album of Queen Victoria’s Maharajah, released in 2004, marked the inception of

his literary contributions, paving the way for a series of monumental works. Sovereign, Squire and Rebel: Maharajah Duleep Singh & the Heirs of a Lost Kingdom and Sikhs in Britain: 150 Years of Photography are among his written endeavors that not only encapsulate the historical narrative but also delve into the broader context of Sikh history. Bance’s writings explore the establishment of Sikh temples in the UK, the migration of Sikhs, and

the multifaceted tapestry of their experiences.

Beyond the written word, Bance’s impact extends into the realm of broadcasting. His appearances in various BBC programs, such as Britain’s Maharajah and The Stolen Maharajah: Britain’s Indian Royal amplify his commitment to disseminating Sikh history to a wider audience. Through the medium of television, Bance brings history to life, making it accessible and engaging for diverse audiences.

The passionate historian has also played a pivotal role in contributing to The Black Prince, a film featuring Satinder Sartaj. Collaborating closely, Sartaj and Bance worked on shaping the underlying narrative of the film, an experience that fostered a lasting friendship. Presently, Bance is engaged in a new venture with Raj Babbar’s daughter, Kajri Babbar, who is working on a film, Lioness, revolving around Sophia Duleep Singh, Maharaja Duleep Singh’s daughter, and the goddaughter of Queen Victoria. The ensemble cast, featuring Aditi Rao Hydari, Leon Ockenden, Edmund Kingsley, Archana Puran Singh, Raj Babbar, Jaaved Jaaferi, Prateik Patil Babbar, Paige Sandhu, and Anup Soni, is set to commence shooting in the upcoming spring season.

In fact, one re-

Maharajah Duleep Singh's Jacket on Display at Kensington Palace in 2019 Maharajah Duleep Singh's Perfume Bottles Maharajah Duleep Singh's Gurmukhi Kehda Maharajah Duleep Singh's Purdey Gun Maharajah Duleep Singh's Purdey Shotgun

markable artifact in Bance’s current collection is the sari of Sophia Duleep Singh. This saffron garment gained prominence during an event attended by Queen Elizabeth, underscoring the importance of Duleep Singh’s family in modern British history. Bance’s extraordinary collection also includes Maharaja Duleep Singh’s intimate possessions such as his personal hunting shotgun, distinctive jacket, and the profoundly revealing pages of his personal diary, offering a tangible connection to the life and legacy of this pivotal historical figure.

Bance’s work has not only immersed him in the rich tapestry of Sikh history within the UK but has also extended his exploration into India, where

Bance’s interactions with prominent figures like the Maharajah of Kapurthala and Maharajah of Patiala have enriched his historical understanding. Talks across India have allowed him to share his work and also connect with individuals who had personal ties to Duleep Singh. Bance has also done extensive work researching history in Pakistan. Addressing the myth surrounding Pakistani stamps on visas, Bance sheds light on the need for Sikh tourism, dispelling notions that hinder travel to historical sites. His insights highlight the importance of increasing awareness and tourism in Pakistan to ensure the preservation of Sikh monuments. “Since the partition, we have lost more than half of Sikh

Maharani Jinda Telegram sent by Maharajah Duleep Singh on Morning of her death
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Bance's journey unfolds as a testament to the power of passion, determination, and the unwavering commitment to safeguarding Sikh history and Punjab’s history.

history. Conservatively speaking, this translates to well over 100 monuments that have been destroyed or eroded at the hands of neglect. Of what’s left, 80% of Sikh history is currently in Pakistan, and in the next 50 years, there may be very little remaining. We catalog what we can, but it still hurts to see these sites practically rotting.”

Bance further details that many historic gurdwaras are situated in rural areas devoid of Sikh populations, making renovations seem impractical. While there is a significant need for substantial Sikh tourism, the current demand appears insufficient. Even the Kartarpur

Corridor, once bustling, now witnesses a decline in activity, leading to the closure of shops in the vicinity. Bridging the generational gap in understanding shared history involves Bance’s advocacy for younger generations to visit historical sites in Pakistan. Social media’s role in fostering interest is evident, as Sikh visitors have increased in the last five years. Bance’s anecdotes, shared online, receive hundreds of messages, showcasing the power of digital platforms in connecting people to their heritage. The challenges of neglect and destruction faced by Sikh monuments after partition underscore the importance of creating

awareness. Bance’s plea for government involvement, driven by tourism incentives, reflects a pragmatic approach to preserving these historical sites for future generations.

Undoubtedly, the significance of Bance’s work goes beyond scholarly pursuits; it resonates with a personal connection to his roots. His extensive collection of memorabilia related to Maharajah Duleep Singh serves as a bridge between the past and present, linking generations and preserving a rich cultural heritage. In essence, Bance’s journey unfolds as a testament to the power of passion, determination, and the unwavering commitment to safeguarding Sikh history and Punjab’s history. His efforts transcend borders, bringing to light not just the historical narrative but the human stories that breathe life into the past, enriching our collective understanding of the world.

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In recent years, Punjabi music has transcended geographical boundaries to captivate audiences worldwide, marking a cultural renaissance that extends far beyond its origins in Punjab. The meteoric rise of Punjabi artists on the global stage reflects a seismic shift in the music industry, propelled by a fusion of traditional Punjabi melodies with contemporary beats and rhythms.

At the forefront of this cultural revolution stands Karan Aujla, whose historic victory at the 2024 Juno Awards underscored the genre’s burgeoning prominence in Canada and beyond. Aujla’s recent triumph with the 2024 TikTok Juno Fan Choice Award represents a watershed moment for Punjabi music, breaking barriers and reshaping perceptions in the mainstream music indus-

try. Aujla has emerged as a trailblazing figure, bridging cultural divides with his infectious melodies and poignant lyrics. Countless singles of his have achieved unprecedented success, garnering millions of views on YouTube and solidifying his status as a household name in Canadian music.

Beyond Canada’s borders, Punjabi music has gained traction on a global scale, resonating with audiences of diverse backgrounds and cultures. The genre’s infectious rhythms and vibrant melodies have transcended linguistic barriers, captivating listeners from South Asia to North America and beyond. This universal appeal was evident at the 2023 Juno Awards, where AP Dhillon made history as the first Punjabi to perform at the

show. AP Dhillon’s performance at the Juno Awards marked a significant moment in his burgeoning career, as he showcased his unique blend of Punjabi music and contemporary sounds on one of Canada’s most prestigious stages.

Diljit Dosanjh’s electrifying performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2023 marked a groundbreaking moment for Punjabi music, as he became the first artist from the region to grace the prestigious festival’s stage. Dressed in traditional Punjabi attire, Dosanjh captivated audiences with his soulful vocals and dynamic stage presence, showcasing the rich tapestry of Punjabi music and culture to a global audience. His historic performance not only solidified his status as a cultural icon but also underscored the growing

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influence of Punjabi music on the global stage, paving the way for future collaborations and cultural exchange.

The global rise of Punjabi music has been bringing artists from diverse backgrounds together to create music that transcends boundaries. Diljit Dosanjh’s collaborations with international artists such as Australian singer Sia, British musician Ed Sheeran, and American rapper Saweetie showcase his versatility and global appeal, solidifying his position as a leading figure in the fusion of Punjabi music with mainstream genres.

Surely, collaborations between Punjabi and Western artists have become increasingly common, resulting in groundbreaking fusions of musical styles and genres. Moreover, it’s important to note that Sidhu Moose Wala, the late Punjabi rap sensation, left an indelible mark on the global music scene with his groundbreaking collaborations and unparalleled influence. Despite his un-

timely passing, Moose Wala’s legacy continues to resonate, evidenced by his staggering online presence and devoted fanbase.

Undoubtedly, central to the rise of Punjabi music is its ability to blend traditional Punjabi melodies with contemporary beats and rhythms, creating a sound that is both timeless and cutting-edge. This fusion of old and new has propelled Punjabi artists to the forefront of the global music scene, attracting fans with its infectious energy and irresistible charm. From Vancouver to Punjab, the spirit of Punjabi music is alive and thriving, offering a glimpse into a vibrant cultural heritage that transcends borders and generations.

One of the defining characteristics of Punjabi music is its ability to tell stories and convey emotions through music. Whether celebrating love, loss, or life’s simple joys, Punjabi artists infuse their music with heartfelt sincerity and authenticity, resonating with listeners on a deeply personal level. This emotional resonance has endeared Punjabi music to audiences around the world, fostering a sense of connection and unity that transcends language and cultural barriers.

Looking ahead, the future of Punjabi music appears brighter than ever, with artists like AP Dhillon and Diljit Dosanjh poised to make their mark on the

global stage. Dhillon’s upcoming performance at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Dosanjh’s North American 2024 Dil-luminati Tour signal a new era of global recognition

and acclaim for Punjabi music and culture. As Punjabi artists continue to push boundaries and defy expectations, their music serves as a powerful reminder of the universal language of music and its ability to unite people from all walks of life.

In conclusion, the global rise of Punjabi music and culture represents a cultural phenomenon that transcends borders and generations. With its infectious rhythms, heartfelt lyrics, and universal appeal, Punjabi music has captured the hearts and imaginations of listeners worldwide, cementing its place as a driving force in the global music industry. As Punjabi artists continue to push boundaries and break barriers, the future of Punjabi music looks brighter than ever, promising to inspire and uplift audiences for generations to come.

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etective Constable Gagan Luddu epitomizes resilience and determination within the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). Her journey from India to Canada in her teens and her unwavering commitment to breaking barriers highlight the values of inclusion and excellence in law enforcement, where she has served for the last 18 years. She defied norms and pursued her dream of becoming a police officer despite societal expectations. Drawn by the VPD’s reputation for inclusivity, she embarked on a journey to challenge stereotypes and make a difference in her community.

Throughout her career, Gagan drew inspiration from role models like retired Constable Linda Stewart, embodying dedication and compassion in her work. Leveraging her background in business commerce, she bolstered her skills and determination, earning respect and paving the way for other women, particularly those from immigrant backgrounds, to join law enforcement.

As a South Asian woman in law enforcement, Gagan brings a unique perspective and understanding of diverse communities. Fluent in Hindi and Punjabi, she serves as a bridge between the VPD and underrepresented groups, fostering trust and connection through open dialogue and cultural competence.

Looking ahead, Gagan envisions a future where law enforcement reflects the rich diversity of Canadian society. To aspiring South Asian women considering careers in law enforcement, Gagan offers words of encouragement and guidance. “Believe in yourself and embrace your heritage as a source of strength,” she urges.

As a trailblazer and advocate, she inspires others to challenge stereotypes, pursue their passions, and embrace their unique identities. Her tireless dedication to service and community exemplifies the essence of policing with compassion, integrity, and respect.


ith over 18 years of service in the Vancouver Police Department’s Patrol and Major Crime Section, Sergeant Harminder Rai epitomizes dedication to Diversity, inclusion, and community engagement.

During this time, he has contributed to the department’s cultural awareness initiatives, particularly within the South Asian community.

As a Sikh, Harminder’s cultural background deeply influences his leadership style, which is rooted in equality, honour, and service. His leadership extends beyond the force; he actively mentors young officers, ensuring every member is equipped to succeed.

Reflecting on Vancouver’s multicultural landscape, Harminder underscores the significance of representation within law enforcement. The VPD’s commitment to Diversity mirrors the city’s demographics, promoting inclusivity as a core value. Harminder highlights the department’s active engagement with various communities, including South Asians, through events like the annual Vaisakhi Parade.

Navigating cultural and language barriers is integral to Harminder’s role. His relationship with diverse communities, specifically the Punjabi community, proves invaluable, fostering trust and cooperation among Vancouver’s multicultural populace. In fact, during a critical investigation, his rapport with the South Asian community facilitated crucial information-sharing, leading to a successful resolution.

Harminder urges aspiring South Asians in law enforcement to embrace challenges, emphasizing the profession’s demands for resilience and compassion. He remains committed to personal and professional growth and strives to create inclusive environments where everyone feels valued.

Harminder encapsulates his ethos: “Diversity promotes forward thinking and builds a trustworthy and meaningful team environment. These are the pillars of having successful teams and successful team players.”


The Month of Vaisakh

A Time of Abundance and Spiritual Awakening

Vaisakh, the second month in the Nanakshahi calendar, holds profound significance in Sikhism, marking both the arrival of spring and the harvesting season in Punjab. Falling between April 14 and May 15, Vaisakh symbolizes renewal, abundance, and hope. This month heralds the celebration of Vaisakhi, one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar. Vaisakhi commemorates the creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699. The festival is a vibrant display of Sikh culture and tradition, marked by Samagams, Nagar Kirtan, Gatka exhi-

bitions, and Akhand Paaths worldwide.

Moreover, Vaisakh holds significance in Sikh history as the birth month of Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, the second son of Guru Gobind Singh, born on April 9, 1691. Additionally, the birthdays of Guru Angad Dev Ji, the second Sikh Guru, and Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth Sikh Guru, are celebrated on April 18 during this auspicious month. Furthermore, it is a time to remember the passing of Guru Angad Dev Ji and Guru Har Krishan Ji, who ascended their heavenly abodes, passing the Guruship to Guru Amar Das Ji and Guru Tegh Bahadur

Ji, respectively.

Beyond its religious significance, Vaisakh encapsulates the spirit of rejuvenation and optimism as nature blossoms with new life. As the fields burgeon with the season’s bounty, it symbolizes the promise of abundance and prosperity. The festival of Vaisakhi is a testament to the resilience and fortitude of the Sikh community, celebrating their heritage and values amidst the joys of spring.

In the larger context of the desi calendar, Vaisakh is not just a month but a tapestry interwoven with the threads of tradition, culture, and spirituality. Each month carries its

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Photos: Courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

own significance, reflecting the cyclical nature of life and the passage of time. In the Nanakshahi calendar, each month holds cultural and religious significance. The twelve months, or “maheene,” are as follows: Chet, Visakh, Jeth, Harh, Sawan, Bhadon, Assu, Kattak, Maghar, Poh, Magh, and Phaggan.

These months correspond to various seasons and agricultural cycles, reflecting the rhythm of life in our communities. Each month is marked by festivals, religious observances, and cultural traditions that deepen the connection to heritage and spirituality. From the warmth of Chet to the monsoon showers of Sawan, the desi calendar mirrors the rhythm of existence, guiding individuals through the ebb and flow of seasons.

Ultimately, Vaisakh serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring individuals to embrace new beginnings and pursue their aspirations with vigor. As the earth awakens from its winter slumber, Vaisakh beckons us to embark on a journey of spiritual growth and self-discovery. It is a time to reflect on the teachings of the Gurus, honor our heritage, and rejoice in the boundless possibilities of the season.


Arsh Singh Kaler

Arsh Singh Kaler, owner of Kaler Enterprises Ltd., is empowering South Asian youth and fostering community development in the Fraser Valley. His ventures include wedding and event coordination, 360-degree video and stand-up photo booths, titanium detailing, bhangra and dhol lessons, and snow removal services. Despite his business commitments, he remains committed to giving back.

Arsh’s passion for community service is evident in his numerous achievements and initiatives. As a prominent leader and advocate for youth, he has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year at just 20 years old, among other accolades.

His community service includes founding the Smiles Through Seva Foundation, which supports youth through fundraisers and donations. He is also involved with the Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association and Kirpa Collective Society, focusing on emergency relief. Additionally, he collaborates with organizations like the Indo-Canadian Youth Club of Abbotsford.

Cultural preservation is integral to Arsh’s work, influenced by his roots as a dhol player. He engages with schools during cultural festivals to educate youth about their heritage. As a mentor, he encourages pursuing passion over profit and embracing failure as a learning opportunity. His vision includes mentoring every young person and guiding them towards fulfilling their potential.

Arsh Singh Kaler’s dedication exemplifies leadership and compassion, creating a brighter future for South Asian youth in the Fraser Valley and beyond.

Empowering South Asian Youth and Community

BCNU wishes everyone joy and prosperity on this special day of harvest and new beginnings.

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Preserving Identity, Promoting Diversity Patka Box

In an increasingly diverse world, fostering inclusivity and respect for different cultures and faiths has never been more critical. A uniquely empowering initiative, the Patka Box, is making a profound impact in schools, particularly for Sikh students.

The Patka, a head covering worn by Sikh boys as a symbol of their faith and identity, is now receiving the recognition and support it deserves in educational institutions.

The brainchild behind the Patka Box is Rosey Kaur, an educator with a background in Early Childhood Education, who has been running her own home school for a decade. Her journey into creating this essential resource began

with a defining moment when a young Sikh boy’s Patka came undone during school hours. This incident not only highlighted the need for assistance but also raised questions about the resources available to address such situations.

Kaur’s determination was ignited when she guided a teacher through retying the Patka via video chat, and she promised to create a resource for future reference. Thus, the Patka Box was born.

“The Patka Box is a comprehensive toolkit designed to assist educators and school administrators in providing support to Sikh students when their Patka becomes undone. It not only offers practical guidance on retying the

Patka but also imparts knowledge about the significance and purpose of the Patka in Sikh culture,” explains Kaur.

A key aspect of the Patka Box is its role in empowering Sikh students and fostering a sense of belonging. Many educators may not have been aware of the profound significance of the Patka before the introduction of the Patka Box.

This newfound knowledge has had a deeply positive impact, leading to a greater understanding of Sikh identity and a commitment to preserving it within the classroom environment.

Kaur elaborates that through the Patka Box, Sikh boys are now empowered to maintain their kesh

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(hair) and proudly wear their Patka to school.

The Patka Box doesn’t stop at schools in Ontario, Canada. Its impact has reached school districts in the USA and the UK, where it has been received with remarkable enthusiasm. Since its launch, the Patka Box has produced over 5,000 boxes, showcasing the immense demand for this valuable resource. The response has been overwhelming and a testament to the importance of cultural inclusivity in education.

Kaur’s journey in creating the Patka Box was not without its challenges, but her persistence and passion for the cause have been unwavering. Kaur recalls, “Initially, I had reservations about the potential success of this project, but sometimes, you must take the leap and see how far it can go.”

As for the future,

Kaur envisions further growth for the Patka Box and the development of additional Sikh-related toolkits to support Sikh children in educational environments.

One of her recent accomplishments is the publication of a book, Knots of Identity: Patka Poems, aimed at assisting individuals on their Patka journey. These poems delve into the profound emotions

experienced by young Sikh boys wearing the Patka and are intended to foster a deeper understanding of the importance of preserving the Sikh faith. Kaur’s message to Sikh boys is one of persevering positivity, “Embark on your school journeys with unwavering optimism, charhdi kala, and recognize that with each step you take, Waheguru walks alongside you!”

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The Spirit of Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan

For millennia, Vaisakhi has symbolized the harvest season when farmers would reap their crops and welcome the onset of a new year. Since 1699, Sikhs have added another layer of significance to this occasion, celebrating the birth of the Khalsa. Today, Vaisakhi is observed with heightened enthusiasm, marking centuries of tradition with joy, energy, and fervor.

The Nagar Kirtan, a vibrant and joyous Sikh tradition, holds profound significance in the Sikh religion and Punjabi culture. Rooted in the rich tapestry of Sikh history and spirituality, the Nagar Kirtan serves as a communal

celebration of faith, unity, and seva, selfless service. An important element of Vaisakhi, the Nagar Kirtan traverses global city streets, spreading the message of love, equality, and compassion.

The history behind Nagar Kirtan dates back to the time of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, who championed the principles of equality, social justice, and spiritual devotion. Guru Nanak Dev Ji initiated the tradition of Sangat and Pangat, emphasizing the importance of congregational worship and communal meals shared without distinction of caste, creed, or social status. Inspired by

these teachings, Sikhs began organizing processions called Nagar Kirtan, where they would sing hymns, recite prayers, and share langar, a community kitchen, with all participants.

As the Sikh faith flourished under the guidance of the ten Gurus, the Nagar Kirtan evolved into a cherished tradition that symbolizes the spirit of Chardi Kala, ever-rising optimism, and Sarbat Da Bhala, the welfare of all.

During the Nagar Kirtan, the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is carried on a decorative palanquin, known as the Palki Sahib, accompanied by devotees singing hymns and performing Gatka, the Sikh martial arts. The pro-

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Photos: Courtesy of www.shutterstock.com

cession is led by the Panj Pyare, the Five Beloved Ones, or local Sikh leaders.

Furthermore, Nagar Kirtan offers an opportunity for seva and community outreach. Many selflessly volunteer their time and resources to organize and support Nagar Kirtan events, contributing to the preparation of langar, providing first aid assistance, and ensuring the safety of participants along the route.

Participating in the Nagar Kirtan is not only an expression of devotion but also an opportunity to embody Sikh values of humility, service, and community engagement. As such, there are certain etiquette and customs to observe to ensure that Nagar Kirtan remains a spiritually enriching and harmonious experience for all:

1.) Plan Your Route: Parking is extremely limited near parade routes, and attendees are encouraged to travel to the event via transit.

2.) Wear Appropriate Attire: It is essential to dress modestly and respectfully when attending Nagar Kirtan. Both men and women are encouraged to wear clean and modest attire, covering their heads

as a sign of reverence. Bring footwear that is suitable for a good amount of walking!

3.) Maintain Discipline: Participants are expected to maintain decorum during the Nagar Kirtan procession. This includes refraining from disruptive behavior, such as shouting, pushing, or littering, and following the directions of designated volunteers who help ensure the smooth flow of the procession.

4.) Abstain from Substance Use: Attendees are urged to adhere to refrain from tobacco, drugs, and alcohol. Free non-alcoholic drinks will be served to all.

5.) Watch Out for Moving Vehicles: Caution is vital due to the presence of numerous moving vehicles among the massive crowd, including many children. Stay vigilant, especially around trucks pulling floats, as devotees may climb on and off them during the procession. Additionally, be mindful of motorcycles, police vehicles, and promotional vehicles, and follow instructions to ensure safety, particularly as the parade concludes.

6.) Do Not Litter: Ensure cleanliness and respect by refraining from littering on the streets. Keep the

environment pristine by disposing of trash responsibly in designated bins or carrying it with you until a proper disposal option is available. Let’s preserve the sanctity of the event and show our reverence for the community by keeping the streets clean for everyone to enjoy.

7.) Be Inclusive: At the heart of the Nagar Kirtan lies the spirit of inclusivity and hospitality, welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds to join in the celebration. Whether you are Sikh or non-Sikh, Vaisakhi’s festivities invite you to embrace the values of love, unity, and service that lie at the core of Sikh teachings.

Ultimately, the Nagar Kirtan serves as a vibrant expression of Sikh faith and heritage, embodying the principles of devotion, community, and seva. In essence, Nagar Kirtan isn’t just a Sikh tradition; it’s a celebration that extends its arms wide, welcoming people of all backgrounds to partake in its spirit of community. By honoring the history behind Vaisakhi and observing respectful etiquette, participants can truly experience the spiritual upliftment and unity that this cherished tradition brings.

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Singh Ravi Doing Seva Around the World

Ravi Singh’s organization, Khalsa Aid, has now become an international global organization with chapters in Australia, Canada, America, India, UK and Africa.

Founder Ravi Singh’s small initiative to be of service to those in need has turned into a global organisation. Khalsa Aid is now recognized as an international NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world. The organisation is based upon the Sikh principle of

“Recognise the whole human race as one”.

The idea of taking the concept of langar aka Sikh community kitchen to people or regions that needed it the most gave birth to Khalsa Aid organization in 1999 in London, United Kingdom. Singh recalls the moment vividly as it was the during that time that a vicious civil war was taking place in Kosovo, a disputed territory and partially recognized state in Southeast Europe. He saw the footage of the Kosovan refugees on the news and was inspired

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by one Sikhi ideology in particular – “Sarbat da Bhalla” meaning “well-being for all” – recognising the humanity in us all and reaching out to those in need, regardless of race, religion, borders. “I read in the newspaper about a small group who were organising an aid convoy to Albania. I phoned the group from the newspaper and asked to join them to help deliver aid donated by the Sikh community who had been extremely generous in giving food and money – within two weeks we were on our way with two trucks and a van load of aid to Albania,” he recalls. This led to the formation of Khalsa Aid.

“The vision of Khalsa Aid has always been to show the world that Sikhs are humanitarians, that we are driven by humanity, and we are what the Khalsa

means. Since the beginning of 1999 to now, Khalsa Aid has become an international global organization with chapters in Australia, Canada, America, India, UK and Africa. The vision is coming alive,” shares Singh.

Singh and his team have provided humanitarian aid in Syria, Yemen, Nepal, Kenya, Greece, Lebanon and Congo, among other regions. Currently, Khalsa Aid

Ravi Singh was inspired by one Sikhi ideology in particular – “Sarbat da Bhalla” meaning “well-being for all” – recognising the humanity in us all and reaching out to those in need, regardless of race, religion, borders.

is supporting Syrian refugees and the Yazidi IDPs in the Middle East, especially in Iraq; building a clinic in a refugee camp in Iraq particularly for women refugees who are struggling with health care; installing water pumps in Kenya, Zambia,

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The beauty of Khalsa Aid is that you don’t have to be a Sikh to be part of the organization or be of service. “Doesn’t matter what background you are from, you just need a big heart,” Singh states clearly. You can also help through donations and other forms of support.

Malawi and the Gambia; relaunching their Pad The Path which provides reusable sanitary pads to young girls and women in Africa who are struggling through period poverty; and organising huge langar aid projects in England and providing hot meals and other support for the vulnerable and the homeless. “Khalsa Aid is

supporting the farmer’s protest in India by providing food, water and other essentials. In Punjab, we opened a school for children not long ago and we also have five education centers and many more planned across the state. We are funding across India and Punjab medicine and medical operations for those who can’t afford it. We are also running a hospital in Jammu called the Guru Nanak Mission Hospital. There is a lot going on and we have more projects lined up across the world,” adds Singh.

During the pandemic, the team couldn’t travel at all but the local voluntary groups and volunteers in many countries managed and carried on with Khalsa Aid projects. During Covid-19, Khalsa Aid in the UK, Canada, America and Australia started supporting the international students stranded in Russian, Ukraine and Cypress. “We also supported day labourers with food packs in Kenya and Peru. We had minimal staff but we relied on our international partners, networks and contacts to deliver aid on our behalf,” says the founder.

The beauty of Khalsa Aid is that you don’t have to be a Sikh to be part of the organization or be of service. “Doesn’t matter what background you are from, you just need a big heart,” Singh states clearly. You can also help through donations and other forms of support. His message to those wanting to do seva is: “Once you really want to move into the seva field, you have to see everyone as an equal. You can’t judge people by their religion, race or colour. Everyone to us is a human being first. You need to respect every human being as you would respect someone close to you. More helping, less judging.”

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Photos: Courtesy of Ravi Singh/ Khalsa Aid

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Seven Treasures from the treasure chest of Wanjara Nomad Collections

A unique preserver of heritage and history, Wanjara Nomad Collections offers an exquisite collection of artifacts from historical moments of Sikh history spanning centuries. Wanjara Nomad Collections has curated a unique collection of antiques to gather and reconstruct the story of Sikhs to preserve, learn, and share it. The ultimate objective is to comprehend, safeguard, and distribute their unique collection from various continents and origins to showcase how Sikhs perceive the past, present, and future in a horizontal, vertical, and thematic dimension. The collection shares a modest selection of books, medals, maps, albums, and ephemera, hoping to inspire and prompt others to preserve history on a singular level.

The abode of the

Wanjara Nomad Collection includes an array of breathtakingly beautiful items with profound cultural and historical significance. From rare art to important antiquities, each piece is a unique and meaningful representation of the rich and diverse history of the Sikh Panth and beyond. On the auspicious occasion of Vaisakhi, we bask in the spirited glory of seven unique artifacts from the Wanjara Nomad Collections:

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Aad, Nanakshahi Samat 439

This 117-year-old embossed print of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, one of four volumes in existence across the globe, is a remarkable religious treasure that has stood the test of time. The unique seal belonging to the King of Faridkot, Raja Bikram Singh Brar, illuminates when placed under light, enhancing the print’s over-

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Photos Courtesy: Wanjara Nomad Collections By Naina Grewal

all beauty and uniqueness. The embossed impression of the bani creates a profoundly spiritual experience that connects the reader to the divine teachings within. Guru Granth Sahib Ji provides guidance and inspiration to millions worldwide as a cosmic axis of the Sikhi. The Sikh Panth holds the preservation and veneration of bani in the highest regard, ensuring its sanctity and sacredness remain intact. This historic print is a testament to the community’s unwavering devotion and commitment to preserving the religious heritage of the Sikh faith.

Signature of Maharaja Duleep Singh, 1838-1893

A rare and valuable artifact, this is the original signature of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire and the youngest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He was exiled to Britain as a child, where he lived a turbulent life and was eventually separated from his heritage and culture. A significant figure in the history of the Sarkar-E-Khalsa, Maharaja Duleep Singh has lived a life that highlights the complexities of colonialism and

its impact on individuals and cultures. This artifact provides a tangible link to the Maharaja and his story. As a symbol of his identity and legacy, the signature serves as a reminder of the struggles and triumphs of the Sikh Empire and its people, as well as the enduring power of heritage and culture.

Singh’s profound erudition and insightful interpretations of various aspects of Sikh identity and institutions. This book is not just a literary work but a glimpse into the intellectual and spiritual world of a prominent Sikh scholar. The Baisakhi of Guru Gobind Singh, Kapur Singh, 1959

This unique artifact is a book that holds both sentimental and historical value. It was gifted to Ahsanuddin Pir on September 10, 1960, in Simla, making it a cherished possession for someone at some point

in time. The book is a first edition from 1959 and contains a handwritten note in Urdu on the first page, adding to its personal touch. Parasaraprasna (“The Questions of Parasara’’) is a masterpiece by Kapur Singh, a renowned theologian and national professor of Sikhism. The book was born from scholarly discussions between Singh and Shri Sardari Lal Parasara, the Principal of Simla’s Government School of Arts. Every page showcases

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Join Hi-Class Jewellers for Vaisakhi on April 13, 2024 in Vancouver's Punjabi Market for the annual Nagar Kirtan


Nanakshahi Coin Seals, 1831-1840

The Nanakshahi coin seals are a unique artifact from the Sikh Empire that was used on Nanakshahi coins during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. These seals feature the “Akal Sahai Nanak Ji” text, which translates to “Victory belongs to the timeless one, Nanak.” Issued from 1831 to 1840, the Nanakshahi coins were the first to feature the Sikh emblem, the Khanda, on one side and the name and title of Maharaja Ranjit Singh on the other. These coins were in circulation in the Punjab region and beyond, serving as a tangible symbol of the Sikh Empire’s economic and political power. The Nanakshahi coin seals are important artifacts as they link to the history of the Sikh Empire and its currency system. They also highlight the significance of Sikhism in the region’s culture and identity and demonstrate the fusion of spiritual and temporal power that characterized the Sikh Empire.

A Dissertation of the Proper Names of the Punjabis, 1883

This artifact, “A Dissertation of the Proper Names of the Punjabis: With Special Reference to the Proper Names of Villagers in Eastern Punjab,” is an important anthropological study that delves into the origins of Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim names in the Eastern Punjab region. The book, first published in 1883, provides insight into the cultural and historical background of names in the region, shedding light on the diverse influences that have shaped the identities of the people living there. This artifact is valuable for those interested in tracing their family history or understanding their cultural roots. Names are an integral part of identity, and knowing where names come from can help better understand and appreciate heritages. Additionally, the book offers a window into the past, providing a glimpse into the cultural and social practices of the Punjabis over a century ago.

Punjab Gun License, 1945

This Punjab Gun License from 6-1-1945, issued in British India, provides valuable insights into the region’s political and social climate before the Partition of India. The license’s conditions give us a glimpse into the bureaucratic process of gun ownership, including the licensee’s name, residence, and authorized arms and ammunition. It also required the retainer’s name and address and the extent of the license’s validity. The licensee’s historical significance lies in its connection to the broader context of the Partition of India, marked

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Happy Vaisakhi!

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by communal violence and the forced migration of millions of people. Printed by Lahore’s prominent publishing company, C&M Gazette Ltd, during the British Raj, the license sheds light on the political, social, and cultural factors that shaped the region’s history. It highlights the government’s attempts to maintain order during a period of upheaval, offering a window into the past and reminding us of the need to preserve our heritage for future generations.

This 1839 map of Punjab with parts of Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Sinde is a valuable artifact that provides a glimpse into the region’s political and geographical boundaries during the Sikh Raj. The map was created a decade before the fall of the Sikh Empire, making it a rare and precious piece of history. While digital copies of the map exist, physical copies are scarce because of the British policy of destroying

books, maps, and other cultural artifacts during the Anglo-Sikh wars. As part of their efforts to undermine the power and influence of the Sikh Empire during their colonization of Punjab in the mid-19th century, the British employed a tactic of paying civilians to sell books, maps, and weapons, which were then confiscated and destroyed. This was part of a broader strategy to suppress Sikh culture and impose British values on the population. Much of the burned metal exists in Anglo-Sikh war memorials today, acknowledged by historians. The survival of specific physical maps is paramount to comprehending the history and geography of the region, as they serve as vital artifacts offering insight into the existence of the Sikh Raj.

Preserving artifacts such as the ones lovingly protected by Wanjara Nomad Collections is an incredible and noble effort, as it enables us to keep the memories and stories of our communities alive, providing a tangible link to our past and heritage, which is especially relevant during the celebration of Vaisakhi, a time when we honor the legacy of our ancestors and the principles of freedom, justice, and equality they fought for.

As Raj Singh Bhandall of Wanjara No-

mad Collection puts it, the initiation rites of the Five Beloved Ones by Guru Gobind Singh Sahib marked a significant turning point for the Sikh Quam. It called for a spirit of cooperation and unity, urging the elimination of divisive and oppressive practices of the past. The Nash doctrine espoused abandoning previous occupations, family ties, creeds, karma, and superstitions in favor of the belief in Ik Onkar (Waheguru). It aimed to confront the old-fashioned and free the Sikh Panth from the shackles and bondage of castes and outdated traditions. The Khalsa collective embodied individuals who demonstrated complete faith and love in the Waheguru. Both men and women are considered equal and are encouraged to lead a life of righteousness, service, and devotion to God. The names “Singh” and “Kaur” symbolize this equality and remind Sikhs that they should strive to embody the virtues of courage, strength, dignity, and independence, regardless of their gender. Bhandall shares, “Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s greatest act of genius was transferring the Patshahi Dava vested in him to the Khalsa Panth. The Sikh Panth became a living spirit with a different constitution of the mind and elevated and altered physical frames by the imprint of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Hum Rakhat Patshahi Dava.”

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Map of Punjab, 1839

The Sikh Foundation

On A Mission To Promote and Preserve Sikh Culture

It has been over 50 years since The Sikh Foundation was established and the work they have done in the field of education and culture is exceptional. As the founder, late Narinder Singh Kapany, once said, “On the threshold of the twenty-first century, it is the destiny of the Sikh people to be a thriving and contributing international community. The teachings and exemplary lives of the ten Sikh Gurus from Nanak to Gobind Singh are our beacons. The wisdom, philosophy, and arts

of the Sikh faith belong to the world and it is time now to bring them into the light.”

Taking the conversation forward is Sonia Dhami, the executive director at The Sikh Foundation. While we know that the Foundation takes special interest in the field of art and education, Sonia expands on what the ultimate goal of the foundation is, “The Sikh Foundation ultimately looks to promote, preserve and support the Sikh

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culture, art, artists, and support universities with a special focus on the study of Sikhism,” shares Sonia, adding, “We closely work with museums, universities, artists, and other organizations.”

Go through their online store and one cannot but fall in love with the unique paintings, literature, kid’s books, religious texts, and culture-related books, etc. From greeting

cards, painting of the Third Empire of Punjab, to The Boy With Long Hair - a book about culture identificationthere is a lot to choose from. “Several times we have Sikh artists contact us about displaying their work. We happily agree and will always promote it, too,” shares Sonia.

The Sikh Foundation ultimately looks to promote, preserve and support the Sikh culture, art, artists, and support universities with a special focus on the study of Sikhism,” shares Sonia, adding, “We closely work with museums, universities, artists, and other organizations.”

The Sikh Foundation has been very vocal about supporting the farmer’s protest that made headlines all over the world. Talking about the issue, Sonia declares, “I believe the farmer’s protest has touched the lives of Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. It has become more of a human rights situation and escalated to new levels.

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I can only hope that this Vaisakhi changes things for our farmers. Having said that, I believe a lot of art has come out of these protests. From paintings, poems, and street theatrethere has been a lot of powerful engagement with the Government,” shares Sonia Dhami.

Coming from a village in Punjab, I know how difficult it must be for everyone who has left farming and is on the streets protesting for their rights. It is hard for these farmers to fight against corporations and what is ultimately going to happen is they will be left landless.

Unless the Government steps in and takes action it is going to be very difficult for the common man.”

With this grim mood, Sonia says that the coming Vaisakhi brings with it a ray of hope. “I think with Covid and the farmer’s protest, this Vaisakhi is going to be very different. I can only hope that this Vaisakhi changes things for our farmers. Having said that, I believe a lot of art has come out of these protests. From paintings, poems, and street theatre - there has been a lot of powerful engagement with

the Government,” she shares.

As far as art exhibitions are concerned, most of the shows are on hold courtesy of Covid-19. However, The Sikh Foundation is proud to announce Sikhs in Singapore – A Story Untold, an art show that supports and showcases the long and rich history of Singapore’s Sikh community. The exhibition is divided into three parts - “Roots, which explores the origins of Singapore’s Sikh community; Settlement, which presents the narratives of Sikh migrants in Singapore, revealing the story of the nascent original community and some of its prominent members; and Contemporary Perspectives, which offers glimpses into the experiences of contemporary Sikhs, highlighting the everevolving Singaporean Sikh identity and the community’s contributions to the nation, said an official statement regarding the show.

Sonia also tells us exciting news about a permanent Sikh Art Gallery as part of the Montreal Museum of Art. “We have about 150 pieces that will be on display. While the show was to go live last year, things have been on hold and there is no updates on a definite date. We hope to finalize things and announce a date soon,” she concludes.

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Sardarni Sada Kaur, Devender Singh, 2011 Oil on canvas, Kapany Collection Photos: Sikh Foundartion, DARPAN Archives

Blackberry Bubble


• Blackberries – 4-5 (2 extra for garnishing)

• Orange juice 1/ 2 Cup

• Lemon juice 1/ 2

• Cinnamon Powder (Pinch)

• Honey – 1tsp

• Soda or carbonated water unsweetened

• Thyme leaves – 5-6


• In a cocktail shaker, muddle blackberries and thyme with a wooden spoon. Add orange juice, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon and shake well. Pour a glass, and top with soda. Garnish with blackberry in thyme sprig. Serve chilled.

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Vaisakhi Recipes
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Sriracha Agedashi Paneer


• 1 lb paneer cut into 1” cubes

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1 tsp sesame oil

• 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

• 2 tbsp sriracha sauce

• 2 tbsp soy sauce

• 2 tbsp honey

• 2 tbsp rice vinegar

• 3 tbsp cornstarch (for coating)

• 3 tbsp ap flour (for coating)

• 1 tsp baking soda

• 0.25 cup cold water

• 0.50 cup vegetable oil

• 1 scallion, finely chopped for garnish (optional)

• 1 tbsp pickled ginger for garnish (optional)


• Make the coating batter by adding cornstarch, ap flour, soy sauce, baking soda and cold water. Add the cubed paneer to the coating batter mix until the paneer is evenly coated and set aside.

• Whisk sriracha, soy sauce, honey and rice vinegar in a bowl and set aside.

• Heat oil in a frying pan and when the oil is really hot, add the paneer cubes and fry on each side until golden brown. After cooling for a few minutes, toss

the paneer cubes in the sriracha sauce mix. Stir to coat the cubes well and serve garnished with the scallions and pickled ginger.

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Paneer Tikka


• 400 gms cottage cheese (paneer)

• ½ medium bunch fresh mint leaves

• ½ medium bunch fresh coriander leaves

• 1 tbsp oil + for greasing

• 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

• 1 tsp caraway seeds

• (shahi jeera)

• 2 green chillies

• 8-10 cashew nuts

• 1 tbsp gram flour (besan)

• 2 tbsps yogurt

• 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

• ¼ tsp turmeric powder

• ½ tsp garam masala powder

• 1 tsp chaat masala

• ½ tsp dried fenugreek powder

• 2 tsps sesame oil

• 1 tbsp fresh cream

• Salt to taste

• 1½ cups mixed capsicum cubes (red, green and yellow)


• To prepare marinade, heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add cumin seeds and sauté till it changes colour. Add caraway seeds, broken green chillies and cashewnuts and sauté for one minute.

• Add gram flour and sauté for one minute. Add chopped mint leaves and chopped coriander leaves and mix well.

• Grind the mint leaves mixture along with two tablespoons of yogurt into a smooth paste.

• Mix together ground paste, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, dried fenugreek powder, chaat masala, sesame oil and cream in a bowl. Add salt and mix well.

• Apply some marinade to the cottage cheese cubes. Add mixed capsicum

cubes to the remaining marinade and mix till well coated.

• Insert one marinated green capsicum cube, one cottage cheese cube, one red capsicum cube, one yellow capsicum cube, one more cottage cheese cube and one green capsicum cube in each skewer.

• Heat a non-stick grill pan and grease with some oil. Place the prepared skewers and fry from all sides till golden brown. Serve hot.

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Badam Malai Tikka


• Paneer - 2 cups

• Potato boiled & mashed –1/2 cup

• Oil - 2 and ½ tbsp

• Jeera - 1 tsp

• Green chillies chopped - 2 tsp

• Ginger chopped - 2 tsp

• Turmeric –1/2 tsp

• Cilantro chopped - 2 tbsp

• Almonds chopped –1/2 cup

• Bread Crumb 1/3 cup

• Salt - 1 tsp (as per taste)


• Mash the Paneer and mix it with the potato. Heat oil and add jeera; once it crackles, add ginger and green chilli. Toss them for a few seconds, add the turmeric, and immediately add the Paneer-potato mixture.

• Add salt to taste. Toss for 2-3 mins and take off the flame. Spread out on a tray and allow to cool completely. Add bread crumbs, chopped coriander, and almonds to the mix, and make round

and flat patties. Roll the sides of the patty with some almonds and keep aside.

• Heat the remaining oil in a pan and cook the patties on both sides till golden brown.

• Serve with Mint chutney or Tomato Ketchup

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Carrot, Onion & Spinach Bhajias

Ingredients Preparation

• Vegetable oil for frying

• (you won’t need more than 1 lt)

• 2 carrots

• 1 large red onion

• 3 cm root ginger

• Good handful of spinach, roughly chopped

• 1 red chilli, finely chopped

• 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped

• 1 tsp cumin seeds

• 1 tsp turmeric

• 1 tsp garam masala

• ½ tsp hing/asafoetida (optional)

• Juice of 1 lemon

• Good pinch of salt

• 100 g (3½ oz) gram flour

• Pour oil into a large deep lipped frying pan so it comes two centimetres up the sides. Gently heat it whilst you make the bhajias. If you are using a deep fat fryer, then set it to 180°C.

• Grate the carrots, onion and root ginger using a cheese grater. Transfer them to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Scrunch all of the mixture together to release the moisture from the veggies. This will help it bind, but you can add a few tablespoons of water if you need to. You want it to be dropping consistency.

• Test a little of the mixture to see if the oil is hot enough. It should sink and swim. Deepfry the bhajias, in batches if you need to, until they are golden brown. Use around a tablespoon of the mixture

and shape it into a ball before flattening it a little. This allows them to cook all the way through so you don’t end up with a doughy centre. You will need to flip them a few times to get an even colour. Drain on absorbent paper.

• Serve with your favourite chutney.

My Secret:

Gram flour is chickpea flour and can be found in most supermarkets. It is gluten-free and used widely in Indian cooking, but if you don’t have any, then you can use some plain flour instead. Just add a little more turmeric to give the bhajias a good colour.

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Paneer Kasuri Makhana


• 500 gms paneer

• 400 gms tomatoes

• 30 gms ginger and garlic paste

• 90 gms white butter

• 90 gms desi ghee

• 100 ml cream

• 10 gms red chilli powder (Kashmiri)

• 4 gms whole black pepper

• 2 bay leaves

• 8 cloves

• Salt

• 75 gms makhana (lotus seeds)

• 5 gms kasuri methi


• Roast the tomatoes on the flame like you would do for brinjal for bharta; remove the skin and puree.

• In a kadhai, add ghee. When the ghee is slightly hot, add the whole spices. When the pepper splutters, add the ginger and garlic and sauté till brown. Then add the chilli powder. Once the colour is achieved, reduce the flame.

• Now add the tomato puree and cook on medium flame till smooth and no bits are visible. At this point, add the white

butter, fresh cream and kasuri methi.

• Cook until an aroma is achieved, then add the paneer diamonds and cook for three to four minutes on low flame and finish to serve.

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Channa Masala


• 2 tbsps canola oil

• ½ cup chopped onion

• ¼ cup canned crushed tomato

• 1 tsp garlic puree

• 1 tsp ginger puree

• 1 ½ tsp ground coriander

• ¾ tsp ground cumin

• ½ tsp turmeric

• ½ tsp garam masala

• ½ - ¾ tsp salt

• ½ cup water

• ¼ tsp red chili powder (optional)

• ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro

• 1 can (19 oz or 540 ml) chickpeas, rinsed and drained


• In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown.

• Reduce heat slightly while adding ingredients to ensure the onions don’t burn. Add the canned crushed tomato, garlic puree, ginger puree, ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, garam masala and salt. Increase heat back to medium and then stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring periodically for about half a minute to enable the mixture to thicken into a masala.

• Add water and stir to combine. Let cook for

about one to two minutes to thicken and enable the flavours to come together.

• Add the chickpeas and stir to combine. Add the chili powder at this stage if using. Cover and let cook for about five minutes and then uncover and continue to cook for another two minutes.

• Add the freshly chopped cilantro, leaving a little out to sprinkle on top before serving. Stir to combine. Serve warm with rice, paratha, naan or chapati.

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Vaisakhi Recipes

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Ingredients Preparation

• 500 g potatoes

• 2 tbsps rapeseed oil

• 1 tbsp cumin seeds

• 2 green chillies, finely chopped

• 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger

• 1⁄2 tsp ground turmeric

• 1 tbsp ground coriander

• 1⁄4 tsp red chilli powder

• 2 tbsps chopped fresh coriander

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• Salt, to taste

• Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, making sure they don’t overcook or break up. Once drained and cooled, peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes. Set aside.

• Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat, then add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Immediately lower the heat so that they don’t burn. Add the chopped green chillies and ginger, ground spices and asafoetida, and sauté

for a few seconds.

• Add the boiled and cubed potatoes to the pan and toss with the spices. Let the potatoes cook for two to three minutes on a medium heat, then mix in the chopped coriander. Check the seasoning and add the lemon juice to finish.

• Serve with pooris, parathas, or as a side dish with dal and rice.

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Maa Choleyan Di Daal


• 2/3 cup split black gram with skin (chilkewali urad dal), soaked for 4 hours

• ¼ cup split Bengal gram (chana dal), soaked for

• 4 hours

• Salt to taste

• ¼ tsp turmeric powder

• 1 large onion

• 1 large tomato

• 1½ inch ginger piece

• 5-6 garlic cloves

• 2 tbsps pure ghee

• ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)

• 1 tsp red chilli powder

• ½ tsp garam masala powder


• Heat a pressure cooker. Drain and add split black gram, split Bengal gram, salt, turmeric powder and four cups water and mix. Close the cooker with the lid and cook under pressure on low heat till four histles are given out.

• Finely chop onion, tomato and ginger. Roughly chop garlic.

• Heat ghee in a non-stick pan, add onion, garlic and ginger and sauté for two minutes. Add asafoetida and tomatoes and continue to sauté till fragrant.

• When the pressure is completely reduced, open the lid of the cooker and

lightly mash the grams.

• Add red chilli powder and garam masala powder to the pan and mix well.

• Add a little cooked grams to the pan and mix well. Add this mixture to the grams remaining in the pressure cooker and cook till the grams are completely soft and creamy.

• Transfer into a serving bowl and serve hot with paranthe.

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Supporting the community has always been at the heart of what Envision Financial is about, going all the way back to the original inception of our credit union, where business owners first came together to create accessible saving and loan options for local businesses and farmers. We’ve seen time and time again that our community can and does come together to support one another as we adapt to our ever-changing environment.

Thank you to our members, our partners, our local business owners, and to all of you who support our communities every day. We’re proud to be able to offer support in return, and hope you’ll continue to rely on us for your financial needs.

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Sarson Da Saag


• 1 kg fresh mustard leaves (sarson ke patte)

• 200 gms fresh spinach leaves (palak)

• 100 gms bathua

• Salt to taste

• 2 medium onions

• 2 inch ginger

• 8-10 garlic cloves

• 3-4 green chillies

• 4 tbsps ghee

• 2 tbsps cornmeal (makai ka atta)


• Roughly chop mustard leaves, spinach leaves and bathua together.

• Heat ¼ cup water in a non-stick pan, add the chopped leaves and a little salt and let them cook.

• Finely chop onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies.

• Heat three tablespoons of ghee in another non-stick pan. Add ¼ cup water to the leaves cooking in the other pan and blend with a hand blender.

• Add onions, garlic and ginger to the ghee in the second pan and sauté till light brown and fragrant.

• Add green chillies and the greens. Mix well and cook.

• Add cornmeal and mix and cook till the mixture blends well and thickens. Add the remaining ghee and mix.

• Transfer into a serving bowl, place a dollop of white butter on top and serve hot.

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Vaisakhi Recipes

Besan Laddoo-Beetle Extract Chocolate Tart


• 200 gms white chocolate

• 50 ml milk

For the besan laddo

• 150 gms besan

• 50 gms sugar

• 40 gms desi ghee

• ¼ tsp green gardamom

• (ground)

• 10 gms roasted almonds, slivered

For the chocolate tart

For the crust:

• 200 gms almond flour

• 50 gms unsweetened cocoa powder

• 60 gms melted butter

• 20 ml maple syrup

For the chocolate filling:

• 20 ml milk

• 150 gms dark chocolate, roughly-chopped

• 5 ml vanilla syrup

For the chocolate filling:

• 8-10 beetle leaves

• 50 ml coconut milk


For the besan laddoo: For the beetle extract:

• Heat ghee in a pan or kadhai; once melted, add the beasn, initially it will clump but stirring continuously at medium flame for seven to eight minutes will make it into a smooth paste. Cool and add the cardamom powder and sugar; mix in and make a smooth dough. Now carve a small-sized laddoo, garnish with nuts and keep separately.

• For the chocolate tart:

• Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Mix in almond flour, cocoa, butter and maple syrup to make a mix. Press in a tart mould and bake till firm.

• For the filling, melt the broken chocolate adding the milk gradually and mixing on a double boiler till a velvet finish is achieved. Pour the chocolate mix in the shell when slightly cool and refrigerate.

• Dip the beetle leaves in ice water for five minutes, and then blend with some coconut milk. Mix thoroughly and microwave twice for 10 seconds each with a gap and mixing in between.

• Melt the white chocolate adding milk on a double boiler till velvet consistency; add the beetle extract to achieve a nice green colour. Pour in a flat tray and let it set. Then cut in round discs of the same size of the tart tops. Make ¾ small holes with a nozzle top and keep aside.

• To finish, take the tarts and top with the beetle extract disc. In the round cut-outs, lace the besan laddoo and garnish with chopped nuts and gold leaf.

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Vaisakhi Recipes
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Gautam Mehrishi Kheer


• 2000 gms milk

• 200 gms rice

• 300 gms sugar

• 1 gm elachi powder

• 1 gm saffron

• 50 gms pista

• 50 gms almond slivers

• 2 gms dried rose petals

• 2 ml rose water

• 200 ml almond milk


• Soak rice in water and grind it coarsely. Boil milk, add the ground rice and cook for 15-20 minutes.

• Add sugar, rose water, dried rose petals tied in a muslin, and elachi powder with saffron. When it becomes slightly thick, reduce the flame completely and add the almond milk for richness.

• Set in a clay pot and garnish with nuts.

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Vaisakhi Recipes
Wishing You A Very Happy & Prosperous Vaisakhi BUY SELL INVEST

Gud ka Halwa


• 1.25 ltr. water

• 1 cup jaggery

• 1 tsp cardamom powder

• 1 tsp ginger powder

• 1 cup ghee

• 2 tbsp cashew nuts

• 2 tbsp almonds

• 2 tbsp pistachio

• 1 tbsp raisins

• 1 cup semolina

• 1 tsp saffron


• First in a sauce pan add water, jaggery, cardamom powder, ginger powder and let the jaggery dissolve in it properly. Once the jaggery melts, add saffron in it to enhance the color.

• Heat ghee in another pan, add cashew nuts, almonds, pistachio and cook till they are brown in color. Remove and keep it aside.

• Now in same pan add semolina and roast till light brown in color.

Add raisins, mix well and roast till raisins are fluffy.

• Add jaggery water in it, mix well till it is thick in consistency. Keep the halwa little bit watery, because once it gets cool, it will get thick. Now add mixed nuts in it and mix it properly.

• Serve in a glass bowl and garnish it with mixed nuts on it.

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Vaisakhi Recipes




• 1 ½ cups of ground breadcrumbs

• ½ cup panko

• ¼ cup melted butter

• ¼ cup mascarpone (can substitute with fresh cream)

• ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese

• ½ cup honey

• ¼ cup hot water

• Few drops of rose extract

• Orange slices

• ¼ cup powdered pistachios


• Preheat oven to 180-degree C.

• Take bread in a blender and powder till its fine. Then, take it in a bowl, add panko and melted butter, and mix well.

• Spoon half of the mixture into the baking pan. Press flat and firm.

• Then spread the mascarpone cheese/cream and mozzarella cheese on it. Top with remaining breadcrumbs and press lightly. Bake this for 25 to

30 minutes.

• Take water in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil. Switch off the flame and add honey, rose extract, and two to three orange slices, and mix well.

• Pour this over the bread kunafa and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

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Nishan Sahib

Nishan is the Sikh word for flag. The nishan is raised and flown at every Sikh Gurdwara in a prominent spot at the highest point of the property when possible. The flag is made from two colours.

Colours used range from yellow to deep orange and royal to grayish blue. Most popular is the Sikh coat of arms in deep blue set onto a bright orange background. The colour scheme is sometimes seen reversed. The flag pole is often covered by a cloth of the same colour as the flag background. The emblem symbolizes a khanda. Atop the flag pole is either the representation of a double-edged sword or a spear head.

with the brain and mental faculties, giving rise to focus and clarity of thought, it is helpful to learning and the gathering of knowledge. In general terms, knowing your direction and what you are doing in life.

Symbolism of the flag

Two seven-feet high flags from the temple are taken down and washed in milk. This symbolises the value and importance the flags and the temple have within the community. The flags reflect the temple’s aim to provide food, shelter and spiritual energy. The

flags are then wrapped in new cloth before being re-hoisted.

Colour analysis

As subtle beings we are affected by many things, one of these is colour. The colours of the clothes we wear, the food we eat, and those we see in our environment all have an affect on our emotions and well-being. Below are some meanings of the Khalsa colours from a colour therapy perspective, exploring the many ways in which they influence us as Sikhs in our personal and spiritual development.

The colour yellow has to do with our sense of self, our identitywho we are. It brings forth the emotions of happiness and joy.

Yellow is most strongly associated

Blue is a beautiful colour, seen in the healing water of Sarovars (pools) of Sikh Gurdwaras. It nurtures faith and trust. Blue is the colour of peace. It supports the development of verbal communication skills. Royal Blue is the colour of sensitivity. The deep blue of the night sky during Amrit Vela enhances intuition, resulting in deeper thoughts and insights. It is the colour of honesty and of being reliable. Presence and authority are other qualities inspired by this colour.

Orange appears in the form of our Nishan Sahibs, the cholas worn by Panj Pyare and Sikh turbans. This is the colour of deep joy and bliss. It absorbs shocks, nasty experiences, and trauma. It is about letting go of what holds us back or what is not helpful. Orange is the colour of connection, a sense of community, belonging and social aspects of being.

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Vaisakhi Activities for KiDS

Any festival is an opportunity for the parents to connect their kids to their native culture.

Festivals are all about celebrations, cultural bonding, and togetherness. And when it comes to a colourful festival like Vaisakhi, the list of recreational activities is neverending. Children usually are most excited when it comes to festive celebrations as it is the time they can freely play, eat, and have loads of fun.

Any Indian festival is an opportunity for the parents to

connect their kids to their native culture. Majority of the immigrants feel that their kids growing on a foreign land are bereft of the culture that was passed to them by their parents and grandparents. Here are a few activities for kids that not only provide enjoyment but are also great for cultural bonding among families.

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Visiting Gurudwara

As Vaisakhi is a Thanksgiving Day, it is pertinent to make the little ones visit Gurudwara and have langar and do seva as it will implant a humble attitude within them right from a very tender age.

Understanding Gurbani

Talking about Vaisakhi

It is very important to keep the kids educated and informed about the festival. Explaining the significance and reason for celebrating Vaisakhi triggers the logical and emotional bonding with one’s culture.

Learn kirtan

A contemporary research says that music is a magic potion for calmness and works like a natural anxiety antidote. Kirtan is one of the traditional methods that if practiced right from childhood can bring the same results and create a wonderful

Reading books on Vaisakhi

It is always good to instill good reading habits among kids. Gaining knowledge by reading festival-oriented books is a constructive way to keep the child busy and at the same time informed about

Dress up in traditional attire

Indians, and especially Punjabis, love dressing up in bright clothes and ornaments. This love for dressing can be shared with the children too by dressing them in traditional attire.

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Photo: Gurumustuk Singh

Planting a tree

Vaisakhi is symbolic of good harvest and prosperity. Thus, a habit of planting trees around can be another fun and social activity for kids.

Kite Flying

A fun, entertaining activity that can involve the family and relatives.

Get creative

Festivals are the best time to let the kids get creative. Teaching them traditional handmade art like making phulkaris and crochet can be a lot of fun. Kids love drawing and painting as it acts as a window to their imagination. Making Vaisakhi greetings is another way to indulge the kids in the celebration.

Katha (literary composition)

An Indian-style religious story telling that is an excellent opportunity for grandparents to share their knowledge of the religion and festival among their grandkids and strengthen the bond between them.

Helping out in traditional cooking

It is always nice to help parents in household chores, especially on festivals when special and favourite dishes are being prepared.

Vaisakhi is one of the best times to teach children about the historic and cultural significance of their indigenous culture and strengthen the cultural bonding. The activities bring them closer to their roots. It gives shape to their identity, builds a connection to their cultural background, and gives happiness to the parents and grandparents.

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The word ‘Guru’ in Sanskrit means teacher, religious person or saint. However, in Sikhism, ‘Guru’ refers to the descent of divine guidance to humankind provided by the ten enlightened masters. These ten Sikh Gurus founded the religion, starting in 1469 with Guru Nanak and ending with Guru Gobind Singh in 1708. After that, it refers to the Sikh Holy Scriptures as Guru Granth Sahib. The Gurus are widely regarded as the embodiment of one guiding light which passed from one Guru to the next, and which now resides in the Holy Scriptures. The order of the ten enlightened Gurus is as follows:

Sikh Gurus Order of the

Guru Nanak Dev (1469 to 1539)

Founder of Sikh faith; apostle of peace, unity and true infinite; possessed divinity and religious authority; first Guru of modern thinkers in India; created Langar, free kitchen, for all people; teachings are in the Guru Granth Sahib; his philosophies and teachings were enlightened for his time, he criticized the social, political and religious injustices; advocated for equality between men and women; instructed disciples to face and tackle oppression, he knew this couldn’t be accomplished in his lifetime, so he appointed the practice of successors to lead Sikhs in their spiritual mission

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Guru Angad Dev (1504 to 1582)

Compiled the biography of Guru Nanak Dev; introduced Gurmukhi script, medium of writing the Punjabi language; opened schools to educate children; started Mall Akhara, physical and spiritual exercises

Guru Amar Das (1479 to 1574)

Social reformer; removed caste, colour distinction and stigma of untouchables; strengthened Langar on basis of equality; introduced Anand Karaj marriage ceremony; abolished Sati and custom of Paradah

Guru Ram Das (1534 to 1581)

Organized the structure of Sikh society; contributed 688 shabads to Granth; planner/creator of Ramdaspur (Amritsar) and designed the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple); founder of sacred Sarovar; author of Lavaa, the hymns of marriage rites

Guru Arjan Dev (1563 to 1606)

Completed construction of Amritsar, founded Taran Taran and Kartarpur; collected works of first four Gurus, dictated works into verses for Adi Granth compilation, the only script that still exists in the form first published, a hand-written manuscript; organized Masand ‘missionary’ system

Guru Har Gobind (1595 to 1644)

Wore two swords of Miri-Piri – one represented spiritual authority, while the other temporal; built the Akal Takht (Throne of the Almighty); excelled in matters of the state; built an army with trained horsemen; martial artist and hunter; built fortress at Amritsar called Lohgarh (Fortress of Steel)

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Guru Har Rai (1630 to 1661)

Known for his compassion of life and living things – instead of killing animals, placed them in his zoo; continued military traditions started by grandfather Guru Har Gobind, maintained cavalry of 2,200 soldiers; established ayurvedic hospital and research center at Kiratpur Sahib

Guru Har Krishan (1656 to 1664)

Guru Har Rai named five-year-old Har Krishan to succeed him as the next Guru, rather than his elder son Ram Rai, who was in favour with Aurangzeb and the Mughal Empire; helped heal the sick and in doing so, contracted smallpox and passed away at the age of seven

Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 to 1675)

Youngest son of Guru Har Gobind; created city of Chakk Nanaki, which later became Anandpur Sahib; contributed hymns to Guru Granth Sahib, including Saloks (Mahal 9); responsible for saving Kashmiri Pandits from Mughal persecution; Aurangzeb issued order for Guru’s arrest, was held for three months and tortured until he would accept Islam; he refused and was martyred at Chandni Chowk

Guru Gobind Singh (1666 to 1708)

Succeeded father Guru Tegh Bahadur at age nine; was a warrior, poet and philosopher; created the Khalsa Panth in 1699 – the Panj Pyare were the first baptised Sikhs; declared the Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, and living Guru for Sikhs; his writings and poems were compiled in volume called Dasam Granth; recited the line “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji Ki Fateh,” which is an important religious verse included in the daily prayer of Sikhs

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Sikhism is the universal world religion with the message of ‘One God’ for all men. It is a relatively new religion with practical approach founded by Guru Nanak Dev ji in the 15th century. All Sikh Gurus gave one fundamental teaching that God is one and he is the supreme truth. He is the creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe.

The 10 Gurus promoted universal brotherhood and taught mankind the importance of living in the world while attaining liberation. In their sacred scriptures, they set three golden rules for their followers –Kirt Karni, Naam Japna and Vand Shakna.

Kirt Karni

Refers to working hard and earning an honest and truthful living. The Gurus wanted their Sikhs to be loyal and avoid cheating and lying.

Naam Japna

Means meditation on God’s name. Meditations keeps one truthful, humble and in high spirits. Be absorbed in the beauty of the creator. Naam japna is a stateof-mind, in which an individual aligns with the creator’s energy and becomes in touch with the infinite.

Vand Shakna

Means to share, and Sikhs should share their earnings with those in need, thus they are expected to donate their surplus into a separate treasury so it can be used to help the needy. According to the Sikh religion, every individual should contribute 1/10th (also called daswandh) of his income for such projects.

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