Indiana legislature hails Sikh role in America's rise to power
Indianapolis: Both Houses of the US' Indiana state legislature have unanimously passed resolutions praising the "significant contribution" of Sikh Americans in the country.
The House of Representatives, the lower house passed the Sikh resolution on Wednesday, within days of the Senate, the upper house, passing a similar resolution.
A Sikh prayer marked the opening of the day's proceedings at the House of Representatives in Indiana, which has a population of about 10,000 Sikhs who own around 3,500 businesses in the state.
Noting that Sikhs in America pursue diverse professions and walks of life, making rich contributions to the economic vibrancy of the US as farmers, engineers, doctors, scientists, and business owners, the resolution said Sikhs continue to make strides toward securing religious liberty as patriotic members of the United States Armed Forces.
It observed that Sikhs have served on local, state, and federal levels of government in the US, and said the community provided significant contributions to and continued to serve the country, state and the communities.
"As such the faithful service of the Sikh community to this state and the country merits appreciation as an integral thread in the fabric of American plurality," said the resolution sponsored by Representative Cindy Kirkhofer and co-authored by House Speaker Brian Bosma.
"Indiana's growing Sikh community continues to make tremendous contributions to our state, and it's an honour to formally recognise them and their efforts on Wednesday at the Statehouse," Bosma said.
"Thousands of Sikhs call Indiana home, which adds to our state's vibrancy and diversity while strengthening our economic engine," he added.
Asserting that Indiana is home to a large and thriving Sikh community, Kirkhofer said as owners and operators of businesses, Sikhs play a vital role in the state's economy, providing jobs, services and goods to Hoosiers.
"They are also deeply involved in philanthropic and civic activities that make Indiana more vibrant and stronger. I look forward to fostering relationships with the Sikh community as our state continues to grow," the state legislator said. Earlier the day's proceeding of the Indiana House of Representatives opened with a Sikh prayer by Gurinder Singh Khalsa, founder and head of Sikhs Political Action Committee.
"Sikhs across Indiana are honoured to receive this recognition," Khalsa said. "We are dedicated to the future of Indiana and the United States and we commit ourselves to serving with an open, honest heart," he added. The House proceedings, he said, was an opportunity for others, perhaps who are not even aware of exactly who the Sikhs are, to hear a little bit about the community.
Acknowledging that the Sikh community has been a victim of maltreatment, because of their traditional attire, Bosma said the religion itself was created as a protector. "We understand here that the (Sikh) community just wants to live the American dream... We can learn about the Indian dream and the Sikh dream as well. It's good for those cultural exchanges," he told PTI.
The Speaker, who is yet to travel to India, said he wants to visit the "largest vibrant democracy" of the world.
"It is the largest democracy, most populated democracy in the world. While we've had some differences here and there, we've been key allies through much of the twentieth century and continues to be key allies through the 21 first century, particularly as the East and the Middle East continues to be a point of conflict, its critical for us to have close ties with India," he said in response to a question.
Bosma said there are some key business ties that are beginning that he is aware of and some that have not yet been announced but are in the works. "It's exciting for us to continue the strong relationship, a historical relationship that we've had. And we want to expand it, particularly in the economic arena in both directions," he added.