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Sikhs Celebrate Visakhi in NSW Paliament


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    by M. P. Singh (Sydney)

    28th March 2006, will be marked as a special event in the history of New South Wales, Australia. For the first time Visakhi was celebrated in NSW Parliament with Hon John Aquilina (the speaker) as the guest of honour. This special event marked the beginning of celebrations of Visakhi which will go on for a month with Sikh games and other cultural programs around Sydney.

    The guests started coming in from 5:30Pm and were entertained by melodious Sitaar-Vaadan & Tabla by Bhai Rashpal Singh & Bhai Gulzar Singh. The program officially began at about 6PM with traditional Shabad Singing. S Moninder Singh, Co-coordinator of Punjabi Council of Australia, welcomed the guest of honor and all others.

    Almost all top speakers of Sydney were there and shared their view about significance of Visakhi and the contribution of Sikhs in Australia since the early migration in 1870. They included Giani Santokh Singh Ji (AKA mobile encyclopedia of Sikhism), S Manmohan Singh Walia, S Prabhjot Sandhu, Ms Lucky Singh, Ms Zeenia Singh Youth Ambassador and many others.

    Of course there was Bhangra and Gidha entertainment between each speaker’s time. The guests were seen thoroughly enjoying the beats by clapping and tapping their feet.

    Mr. Sujan Chenoy the Consul General of Indian High Commission in Sydney shared with guests that his first name Sujan was selected by his mother after getting influenced by a Sikh character named Sujan Singh in Sikh history.

    Another surprise dignitary was Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan (Lahore High Court) who attended the celebrations especially and informed the Sikh Sangat that there are still millions of followers of Baba Nanak in Pakistan.

    The guest of honour Mr. John Aquilina started his address with ‘Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa’ and the whole audience responded with big ‘Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh’. He thanked the Sikh community for their positive role in building strong multiculturalism in Australia. He emphasized on Australian Sikhs to be proud of their ancient heritage and should never be afraid to proclaim their faith and devotion.

    Other highlights:
    About 15 members of parliament and 10 councilors graced the occasion.
    The invitation was extended to all other communities and their overwhelming participation proved that Sikh Community belongs to all and all belongs to Sikh Community.
    Purely Punjabi culture with Turbans dominating the scene.
    A beautiful poem in English highlighting the significance of ‘Sikh artifacts of faith’ was recited by Ms Lucky Singh.
    About 10 events of Bhangra and Gidha beats.
    About a dozen books were presented to Hon John Aquilina for the NSW parliament library. Mr. Aquilina was also presented with a framed portrait of Harmandar Sahib.
    Vegetarian refreshments (w/o any liquor) – catered by Taj of Harris Park.

    See more snaps by clicking link below:

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