Thursday, August 09, 2012

Gurdwara

I've driven by the Gurdwara in Richfield hundreds of times and always wondered about what goes on beneath the glittering onion.


On Sundays, the lot brims with cars and kids will often play on the lawn if the weather is nice.

History of Sikhs in Ohio. Click to enlarge.

I love the unique symbiosis of pastoral Richfield and the Sikhs, with their exotic turbans and colorful clothing.


The Sikh's have a garden shed.


Sikh's wear flip flops, but never inside the Gurdwara.


I knocked on the door. Priest Bhupender Singh greeted me and gave me a tour of the building. He exuded kindness and sincerity.

The Darbar Sahib, featuring the Guru's Takhat.

Places have unique energies. The Richfield Gurdwara felt gentle and welcoming.

The Langar, or free community kitchen.

Priest Bhupender said the temple is open to everyone, and that it belongs to the community. He invited me to return anytime and share a plate of food. I was honored to meet him. I asked to take his photo, but he declined, saying he wasn't properly dressed.

I thought he looked marvelous, but you'll have to use your imagination.

The Khanda is often misinterpreted.

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Local news coverage on a vigil held at the Richfield Gurdwara for the Wisconsin victims.

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23 comments:

John Venlet said...

Erin, the few Sikh individuals I know here in West MI, two of whom are business owners, are fine folks. Welcoming, gracious, and beyond their particular faith, Americans.

twinklysparkles said...

Amazing post, Erin. Full of love, wonder, and peace.

The child is open to the world.

Anonymous said...

@ Erin: I almost always love you, but sometimes I love you just a little bit more. Thanks for this post.

I had a Sikh truck driver at our warehouse picking up a shipment just last week.

I hate to generalize but I have almost invariably found Sikhs to be gentle of spirit and especially kind and peaceful people.

MR

Erin O'Brien said...

Hi gang and thanks.

Sometimes huge terrible things bring out tiny good things.

dean said...

Where I live there are many, many people of the Sikh faith.

In my experience, there are kind Sikhs and arrogant Sikhs and lazy Sikhs and industrious Sikhs and devout Sikhs and Sikhs who only go to temple when their wives make them. There are studious Sikhs and riotous Sikhs and Sikhs who drive loud cars and Sikhs who like traditional music.

They're pretty much like everyone else, in other words.

Vince said...

It is equally as dangerous to create a sainted segment of society as it is to deamonise. The history of the Sikh community in the last hundred years is one where savagery is blatant.
On the on 13 April 1919, General Dyer orderes his British troop fire on a crowd of 20000 in the square surrounding the temple at Amritsar. In ten minutes 1,302 people were slaughtered.
And then, Sikh police and army regiments went about Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Jahore. And the Malay States generally without too much worry at the carnage left behind them. Ditto South Africa and Uganda. While Sikh paramilitary police were the terror of the Kenyan peoples. The West Indies had their own version of Sikh sponsored hell in Trinidad. But it was in India during the Raj and after their reputation of being loyal to orders became fixed. They were the military police and parliamentary guards. They were the Indian version of the Secret Service to a man. And it was in that position that they killed Indera Gandhi.

Velociman said...

In a previous life many, many years ago I used to board Indian merchant vessels to handle cargo lading, customs, immigration, etc. Sometimes 3 a week. A few of the captains were Sikhs.

Man, were they awesome. All Indians are awesome, but the Sikhs liked to party a bit. Every 45 days I would host a party at a friend's condo overlooking River Street for a particular captain. Single malt Scotch and wild young ladies. He wrapped me a turquoise turban which I kept for many years, because I looked just like Tyrone Power in that thing. Good peeps.

Erin O'Brien said...

News update on the Richfield Gurdwara.

Plenty of reasons to take it easy on the Sikhs these days.

Anonymous said...

Vince, you may not be responsible for your mental retardation. But you can shut the hell up.

MR

Erin O'Brien said...

Come on guys, the whole point of this post was to honor the Sikhs in the aftermath of a hate-filled tragedy in a way that eschewed hate.

dean said...

Vince, 'they' killed Indira Gahndi in exactly the same way that you, Vince, killed a bunch of people in Iraq.

Anyway... Elderly Sikh gentlemen are about the most poised, dignified people I have ever seen.

Indian food is good, and the type that Sikh people make is my favourite. If all you can think of when you think of Indian food is 'hot', you need to try more. Pakistani/Punjabi food is less hot than more southern cuisines, and as richly, wonderfully spiced.

Sikh weddings are about the biggest deal you can imagine.

I once had a conversation with one of those dignified Sikh gentlemen. I was taking photos of a local soccer game on a warm summer evening when he came up and stood beside me. He said something in Punjabi and motioned at my camera. I replied, in English, that I spoke no Punjabi. He nodded and smiled, and we then proceeded to watch the game, speaking in English and Punjabi to each other, neither understanding the words of the other, but having a conversation nonetheless, gesturing at the game. When it was time for me to go, I waved and he bowed and offered his hand, which I took.

Sikh males are socialized to be fearless and strong, and yet they make probably the world's most indulgent grandfathers.

Bill said...

Got stereotype?

Anonymous said...

Bill, here's a stereotype: you're a clown. Stereotype enough for you? You're perfectly happy to stereotype when it suits your purposes.

You've been relatively dormant here. Keep it up.

MR

WV:"mwhile". "mwhile, back at the oasis, the Arabs were eating their dates..."

Bill said...

MR should have gone on long rides with that wonderful Sikh truck driver. He almost always found Sikhs to be gentle of spirit and especially kind and peaceful people. I'm sure that the Sikhs are very thankful that MR looks kindly upon them. I'm glad you missed me.

Anonymous said...

Bill, you're quite the arsehole. thanks for playing.

MR

philbilly said...

Back in the '70's, we ate our dates with aplomb.

Bill said...

Tu enna daffar kyon hain, MR?

philbilly said...

Given the serious nature of Erin's original post here, I'll temper my smartas comment thusly;

I have only had contact with one Sikh to any gret degree, an engineer who was a very nice guy and extremely accomplished.

On the other hand, I've met lots and lots of supremists, be they black, white, Jewish, Arab, Christian, Muslim, etc., and to a person they were;

1.) xenophobic
2.) ignorant
3.) paranoid
4.) cowardly
5.)"victims"


Anonymous said...

phil, my bad for throwing the troll a piece of gristle.

Relating something you know about people you've actually met isn't stereotyping, but I should have known better to respond to It.

MR

Bill said...

I don't think I've ever met a supremacist and I think this is the first time I've known of someone who's met "lots and lots" of them. However, some of my favorite cab drivers have been Sikhs. They were always fair and never went the long way.

Vince said...

It is only today that I've discovered the reason for your post. The reports of the massacre in Milwaukee didn't cross the Atlantic in any major way. Leastwise they didn't eclipse the Olympic Games on the BBC, RTE or France24.

Harry Nigel said...

Sikhism is considered to be one of the most highly organized religions of the world, on the similar lines the Gurudwaras have been regarded as extremely well maintained, well structured and well-organized places of worship and religious activities, despite so many people visiting it every day.

Harry Nigel said...

Sikhism is considered to be one of the most highly organized religions of the world, on the similar lines the Gurudwaras have been regarded as extremely well maintained, well structured and well-organized places of worship and religious activities, despite so many people visiting it every day.