A Tale of 3 Nagar Kirtans and Other Weekend Wrap-Ups

As many of us reflect upon the birth of the Khalsa this Vaisakhi, throughout North America (and beyond) our communities come together in celebration. Covered here is a round-up of Vaisakhi celebrations with various media links. If your city is covered here, provide us some context/anecdotes about your experience. If your city is NOT covered here, provide us some context/anecdotes about your experience.

Beginning in Central California, thousands attended the annual Selma Nagar Kirtan. A video by the local press can be found here.

In Stockton, the home of the first North American Sikh Gurdwara, the community came together to celebrate Vaisakhi. A slideshow from the local newspaper can be found here.
Even Sikhs in Utah got in the Vaisakhi mood serving Langar to the homeless.
Moving up the west coast, we arrive in one of the largest concentrations of Sikhs outside of Punjab Surrey, B.C. While the Nagar Kirtan that attracts 100,000+ seems to have went off without a hitch, the Surrey mayor seems to be attempting to incite some controversy now that it is over. Raising objections over a controversial political float, the mayors commented:
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said she was disappointed the float was put into the parade again after she was assured it wouldn’t be used.
“I suppose we have to depend on the goodwill of the organizers because from a legal perspective we can’t ban certain floats,” said Watts.[link]
Watts is right; Canadians have a right to free speech. From pictures of the float, I personally think it was a good idea that avoidance of Parmars picture may be astute (although I am empathetic towards those that believe Sikh-Canadians have right to display it). Watts seems to think that pictures of people such as human rights luminary, Jaswant Singh Khalra, is somehow political, although she may be unaware for the Sikh organizers not to address the issue of the post-1984 issue would also be political. I am glad that the Sikh community is Surrey chooses to celebrate members of their community as they see fit, not as Watts and others in Canadian politics decide. Hopefully in the next elections, Sikhs, who make up 20% of the city, help to throw her out of office.
Almost as bad as Watts remarks is the Vancouver press portrayal of the events. Everyones favorite reporter (or NOT!) or even Renu Bakshis moronic portrayal that an organizers stupid comments were a battle over a moderate ideas on Sikhism. Here is an illustration of an outsiders inability to have an understanding of the nuances of a debate and want to fit all disagreements in the tired binary of moderates vs. fundamentalists that thankfully most in the community have moved past, even if the press has not.
Community member Moninder Singh deserves a pagh salute for providing a greater context and showing that the annual media hoopla, this year stirred by Watts, is all really much adieu about nothing.
Despite these causes of celebration, all was not well this weekend. Violence was seen in a Gurdwara in Brampton (near Toronto) where Sikhs fought amongst themselves, leaving 5 hospitalized and the police called in (a fellow Langa-writer, tangentially touched upon the issues, albeit in a different context). In Ohio, a man was killed at the Gurdwara after a scuffle with the police. The community is in morning and questions of the victims mental state and possible police overreacting brutality are being circulated. Any information would be appreciated.

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