A Land Mark in the History of British Columbia
Five Kakars Recognized by British Columbia
VICTORIA, BC, March 20, 2006
Dr. Raghbir Singh Bains,
Surrey, BC Canada
After unanimous decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in
recognizing the wearing of Kirpan by the Sikh students in
educational institutions throughout the country, British Columbia
has become the second province in Canada to recognize Vaisakhi
and the Five articles of Sikh Faith in a row. The Province
of Manitoba was the first province in Canada to grant such
recognition to the Five Kakars of the Sikhs on July 13, 1999.
This motion is already underway in the province of Ontario.
The motion #49 for recognition of Vaisakhi and the five Sikh
Kakars was tabled by Jagrup Singh Brar
NDP MLA in the Assembly of British Columbia. The
purpose of this motion is to recognize and reaffirm the values
of multiculturalism, human rights, equality, racial and religious
tolerance in B.C especially the recognition of Vaisakhi and
Articles of Sikh Faith..
Sukhdeep Singh (Dave) Hayer, a senior MLA of the BC
Liberal party, supported the motion. He retold the history
of the Sikhs when Khalsa was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh
on the day of Vaisakhi at Sri Kesgarh Sahib in 1699 to stand
for justice, dignity of meek and weak. He went on supporting
the motion by saying that that B.C. was the first province
in Canada to celebrate and pass a proclamation recognizing
the 400 years of Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Golden Temple
Honorable Minister Micheal De Jong and house leader,
who recently came back from his short visit of Punjab, appreciated
the nobility of the Sikh people and paid his tribute to the
Sikh pioneers who came to Canada more than a century ago and
contributed vigorously to the prosperity of British Columbia.
He supported the motion of recognition of Vaisakhi and five
Articles of Sikh Faith with full fervor.
Harbhajan Singh Lali, a senior MLA of NDP gave a brief
account of the excellent and brave history of the Sikhs on
this historic day in the Assembly. He was enthusiastic to
see this motion passed in the House.
While taking part in the debate, Mary Polak MLA said
in the Assembly, Rare is the initiative that finds support
from both sides of this chamber. The values represented by
the five Ks are universal. They are values that speak to us
as individuals, regardless of our own religion or culture.
Truly, the ideals advanced by Guru Gobind Singh are crying
out to be embraced by a modern culture that often focuses
only on commercial or material success.
Gordon Hogg Government Caucus Chair repeated the motion on
behalf of the B.C. Liberal Caucus, Be it resolved that
this house recognizes the importance of the anniversary of
the creation of the Khalsa, celebrated every year as the festival
of Vaisakhi; and the contributions Canadian Sikhs have made
to our country and our province; and that this house also
recognize the importance of the Panj Kakkaar: the Kirpana
ceremonial sword representing indomitable spirit; the Kesunshorn
hair, representing a simple life, saintliness and devotion
to God; Kanghaa wooden comb worn to represent a clean
mind and body; and the Kachhashort breeches, representing
Other Sikh MLAs who strongly supported the motion on
recognition of the Articles of Sikh Faith were Harry Singh
Bains, Raj Chouhan and their other colleagues.
Many of the MLAs mentioned unfortunate story of Komagata
Maru when in 1914 its Indian passengers were not allowed to
touch an inch of Canadian land and they were forced to leave
the Canadian shores. They reminded the people of the message
of Guru Gobind Singh regarding commitment to equality, dignity
and justice, for he has chosen to respond to the irrational
fears of others with great equanimity and patience.
It has been the historic occasion for the Sikhs worldwide
when a new history has been created by the Provincial Assembly
of British Columbia. All the MLAs who took part in debate
started their address by saying Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru
Ji Ki Fateh ! The gallery was fully occupied by the Sikhs
hailing from throughout Canada to say thank you to the legislators
who made this happen. Amusingly, all the Kirpan wearing visitors
were allowed for the first time to enter the assembly without
asking them to take the Kirpan off. All the19 MLAs from
ruling and opposition party who took part in one hour debate
supported the motion with one voice. It was the historic day
when both ruling party and opposition party congratulated
each other for bringing the motion on five Articles of Sikh
Faith. The motion was unanimously passed by the house of 79
MLAs. For most of the time, House proceedings were chaired
by Dy Speaker Sindy Hawkins (Surinder Kaur) who was fare enough
to give 3minutes to each speaker in the House.
Sikhism is a religion of Divine love. It is more than 500
years old. It is the youngest religion in the world with over
25 million followers living in 157 countries of the world.
The Sikh identity, especially for those who live elsewhere
other than in India, is so marked by external and visible
signs that sometimes people dont see them and their
beliefs for what they truly are.
Sikh religion requires its practicing followers (Amritdhari-baptized
Sikhs) to wear five articles of Sikh faith. These integral
and indispensable articles constantly remind the commitment
of the follower to universal principles of justice, peace
and equality. Sikh religion teaches pacifism and encourages
respect for other religions. Wearing of the Articles of Sikh
faith for the devout Sikhs is held a sacred religious belief
and is not capricious.
With passing of the unanimous motion in recognition of both
Vaisakhi and five Sikh Kakars, a new responsibility has fallen
on the shoulders of the Sikh community who have already contributed
immensely in the social, economic, academic and political
fields of the country. Now the Sikhs need to contribute more
diligently and positively in a different way towards development
of British Columbia and Canada. This will be an opportunity
for them to create awareness about Sikhism and paying a great
tribute to the pioneers who worked hard for future of their
posterities to live in Canada with peace and dignity.