Hon. Navdeep Bains, MP Chief Guest at Halifax Baisakhi Celebrations
Nova Scotia, Canada’s “ocean playground,”is a small province in eastern Canada. It started attracting Sikhs to its beautiful land in the early nineteen sixties. Most of the Sikhs who came here were teachers, engineers and doctors. They mostly settled in Halifax, capital city of Nova Scotia. They formed a Sikh organization, Maritime Sikh Society, on the Baisakhi day in April 1968 and then built a Gurdwara in 1978. This year was 40th anniversary of the society. It was celebrated with great dhoom-dham all through the month of April
The culural evening on May 3 was the climax of the celebrations with Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains, the 30 year old young turbaned Sikh member of Canadian Parliament, as chief guest. The society organized a great show, highly entertaining and it was their best foot forward. There was excitement and good will all around. Dances, gidha and bhangra performances were outstanding and well prepared. It was a delight to see young men, women and children in colorful costumes.
In a brief inspiring speech to a crowd of 350 people, Hon. Bains encouraged the parents and grandparents to focus on the participation aspect of their children's performance and not on perfection. Baisakhi function reminded him of his own growing up years. He made his first speech at his local Gurudwara Sahib at the age of 10. There were 20 participants and he was placed 19th and the 20th participant did not show up. But then in 2004, he was only 26 when he won his first election to the Parliament of Canada. He reminded the Punjabi audience that they were Canadians for all intents and purposes and should shed any complex of being a minority. `I'm a Sikh by faith, an Indian by background and a Canadian by birth' as he put his own view as a Canadian citizen
Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains and two members of the founding fathers's families, Mrs. Surjit Sidhu and Mrs. Rupa Chowdhary, were invited to cut the ceremonial cake. S. Pyara Singh Randhawa, who is credited with building the Gurdwara in 1978 when he was the president, was given the honor to present the gift to the esteemed guest on behalf of the society.
Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains is the federal Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Brampton South in Ontario. First elected in June 2004,he was subsequently re-elected in January 2006 with a significant increase in number of votes. He served as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Paul Martin in the Liberal Govt. Though born and raised in Canada, he speaks Punjabi effortlessly. Mild mannered, soft spoken, a teetotaler,he is a pooran Gursikh and is pretty active in the Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation of Toronto.
Mr. Bains currently lives in Mississauga with his wife Brahamjot and their six month old daughter Nanki.
Jagpal S Tiwana
Maritime Sikh Society
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