Celebrating Satwant Dhindsa

dhindsa.jpgAlthough a semi-frequent traveler to Canada, I must admit I have never been to the city ofVernon. I have been to the city Mt. Vernon in Ohio. Not a pretty place.

Well in a week that saw the tragic death of Ishmeet Singh and the triumphant victory of Sarika Singh in the UK, I found a personal obituary of note through Google News.

It seems this past week, the Sikh communitysaw the passing of a “Good Citizen That Made A Difference,” Satwant Singh Dhindsa. His popularity and his commitment to service are expressed in the article.

The obituary glows:

Satwant Dhindsa is being remembered fondly as a person who cared deeply for Vernon.

Named as a Good Citizen of the Year in 1994, Dhindsa, 79, died July 25.

He was always helpful towards new immigrants, said Dave Nahal, president of the North Okanagan Sikh Society.

As part of those activities, Dhindsa was involved with the Vernon Immigrant Services Society and the Vernon Multicultural Society.

He was also a past-president of the North Okanagan Sikh Society.

He did a lot for the Sikh community and he was instrumental in building the temple, said Nahal.

Other organizations that Dhindsa participated in were the First Nations Friendship Centre, the Social Planning Council, the Victims Assistance Group, the Vernon Advisory Services Commission and the Vernon Human Rights Association.

He will really be missed for his work that he did for the community as a whole, said Nahal.

Even in physical death, Satwant Singh is still helping the community. On his family obituary page, the family states:

Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the Canadian Cancer Society of BC[link]

I tried checking the City of Vernon’s webpage but only found his name listed, with little additional information about him. If any of our Sikh readers are from Vernon or know about him, I would love to hear about him. The obituary states that he was one of the pioneering Punjabi Sikh immigrants into Vernon.

While Canada has a very different immigration history than the US, it does remind me about the mortality of some of the Sikh community founder’s here in the US. While sometimes wehighlightthe stories of our grandparents, I hope that our story (especially our local stories) fromour parentswill be penned down before we lose these important voices.


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12 Responses to “Celebrating Satwant Dhindsa”

  1. Singh says:

    Just a general question – is there anyone on the Langar Hall blogger list who is Canadian? If not I think it would be good to have one because Canadian bloggers can give better context.

  2. Singh says:

    Just a general question – is there anyone on the Langar Hall blogger list who is Canadian? If not I think it would be good to have one because Canadian bloggers can give better context.

  3. KhalsaJi says:

    I am familiar with this man and would like to share my belief that as a Sikh, I consider his ideology to be another example of an insidious philosophy that is not uncommon among Sikhs who settled in British Columbia in the 1960's and earlier. Mr Dhindsa considered himself an Indian first, Sikh second, and would openly condone the actions of Indira Gandhi against our venerated Harimandir Sahib as being a warranted and necessary response to Sikh extremism.

    Among Mr. Dhindsa's greatest legacies is a highly fragmented Sikh community in the small city of Vernon where the Gurdwara serves no purpose other than as a place to gather for weddings, family events, and funerals. Mr. Dhindsa was a firm believer that the Guru's message requires censorship so as make it relevant in the current times given the elapse of hundereds of years since conception of the Shabad Guru. He used to openly promote the notion of a "modern" Sikh where a member of the Khalsa Panth was considered a fanatical uneducated embarassment for this elite faction that lives in servitude to the

    I would like to ask God to bless Mr. Dhindsa and ask God to give his family the strength to live in God's hukam and accept his passing. My intent in sharing my thoughts is not to defame the man's character but to educate and create awareness about this class of Indians living in Canada and the dangers they pose for Sikhs who support the Panth and live a complete life as a Gursikh; a "Sikh" sharing an anti-Panthic philosophy publicly is great fodder for the media and does a great job of casting a Sikh as a fundamentalist and fanatic.

  4. KhalsaJi says:

    I am familiar with this man and would like to share my belief that as a Sikh, I consider his ideology to be another example of an insidious philosophy that is not uncommon among Sikhs who settled in British Columbia in the 1960’s and earlier. Mr Dhindsa considered himself an Indian first, Sikh second, and would openly condone the actions of Indira Gandhi against our venerated Harimandir Sahib as being a warranted and necessary response to Sikh extremism.

    Among Mr. Dhindsa’s greatest legacies is a highly fragmented Sikh community in the small city of Vernon where the Gurdwara serves no purpose other than as a place to gather for weddings, family events, and funerals. Mr. Dhindsa was a firm believer that the Guru’s message requires censorship so as make it relevant in the current times given the elapse of hundereds of years since conception of the Shabad Guru. He used to openly promote the notion of a “modern” Sikh where a member of the Khalsa Panth was considered a fanatical uneducated embarassment for this elite faction that lives in servitude to the

    I would like to ask God to bless Mr. Dhindsa and ask God to give his family the strength to live in God’s hukam and accept his passing. My intent in sharing my thoughts is not to defame the man’s character but to educate and create awareness about this class of Indians living in Canada and the dangers they pose for Sikhs who support the Panth and live a complete life as a Gursikh; a “Sikh” sharing an anti-Panthic philosophy publicly is great fodder for the media and does a great job of casting a Sikh as a fundamentalist and fanatic.

  5. Jodha says:

    I must first admit that I do not know nor will ever know Mr. Dhindsa.

    You are right Singh, some context would definitely be helpful and the comment section is a great place to add it.

    I think it is great that KhalsaJi has provided a single viewpoint on the legacy of Mr. Dhindsa. Hopefully others can express their thoughts as well.

  6. Jodha says:

    I must first admit that I do not know nor will ever know Mr. Dhindsa.

    You are right Singh, some context would definitely be helpful and the comment section is a great place to add it.

    I think it is great that KhalsaJi has provided a single viewpoint on the legacy of Mr. Dhindsa. Hopefully others can express their thoughts as well.

  7. Singh says:

    I do not know on which "credentials" KhalsaJi has spoken, but by the same token I don't know if the author of this blog post, Jodha, had very many credentials either in relation to this story.

    As I said above, I strongly encourage the Langar Hall bloggers to enlist a Canadian blogger to give more context on these stories. I think it is very irresponsible and dare I say typically "American" to try to report on the stories of the Sikh world without local context.

  8. Jodha says:

    Please feel free Singh to jump in. Provide some context!

    We will definitely be looking into blogger expansion in the near future as well. Stay tuned!

  9. Singh says:

    I do not know on which “credentials” KhalsaJi has spoken, but by the same token I don’t know if the author of this blog post, Jodha, had very many credentials either in relation to this story.

    As I said above, I strongly encourage the Langar Hall bloggers to enlist a Canadian blogger to give more context on these stories. I think it is very irresponsible and dare I say typically “American” to try to report on the stories of the Sikh world without local context.

  10. Jodha says:

    Please feel free Singh to jump in. Provide some context!

    We will definitely be looking into blogger expansion in the near future as well. Stay tuned!

  11. KhalsaJi says:

    Singh, how "American" of you to assume I'm American; Shame on you.

    In fact, I am very much Canadian and home for me is very close to where Mr. Satwant Dhindsa resided.

  12. KhalsaJi says:

    Singh, how “American” of you to assume I’m American; Shame on you.

    In fact, I am very much Canadian and home for me is very close to where Mr. Satwant Dhindsa resided.