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Stockton Sikhs confer a special Award on Professor Harold A. Gould

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Hundred Years of Sikhs in America

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Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society, Stockton, though, celebrated 100th Anniversary of Stockton Gurdwara last year from September 22, 2012 to October 13, 2012, yet the centennial course of events has been continuing since the beginning of kick off ceremony two years ago. Sikh officials of Stockton Gurdwara traveled to Delray Beach, Florida on December 13 – 15, to confer a special award to Dr. Harold Gould for his scholarly studies on Sikh Pioneers in America.

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Gould underlined the importance of recognizing Ghadris' pluralistic conception of Indian nationalism, and their lobbying efforts to involve the US government in securing freedom for India. More than two dozen scholars from America, Canada, Britain, and India had joined in presenting their papers on evaluating the role of Ghadr movement in instilling passion for freedom in Indians.

The Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society considered Gould’s book, Sikhs, Swamis, Students and Spies: The India Lobby in the United States, 1900-1946, as one of the profoundest studies about Indian Pioneers journey in America. Dr. Gould makes groundbreaking disclosures about United States of America’s role in pressurizing Britain for freeing India after World War II.

The Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society involved the local Sikhs of Florida and invited them to the event that took place on December 14, 2013 from 2 PM- 5 PM. Dr. Ravinder Mahal, Dr. Sirtaz Sibia, Attorney Arvind Singh, American Sikh Fateh Singh and many other prominent members of Florida Sikh Society attended the event. Professor Gould’s son Armeen Gould specially came from Pittsburgh to make arrangements for the function along with his sister, and brother in law .

The delegation to Florida comprised of Stockton Gurdwara President, Amrjit Singh Panesar, General Secretary Daljit Singh, Executive member and former president Harnek Singh Atwal, Centennial Committee Chairman Manjit S. Uppal, Centennial Coordinator Bhajan Singh and Centennial Conference Convener and media coordinator Dr. Amrik Singh.

Dr. Amrik Singh started the program by introducing Dr. Harold A Gould and his sterling scholarship in South Asian Studies. He recounted how Stockton Gurdwara had been integral to starting an organized freedom movement from the Pacific Coast and how its founder president, Harvard educated Professor Teja Singh was instrumental in creating support for right to self-determination and freedom as integral to human progress. When the question of sending delegates to Peace Conference in December 1918 came in focus, the fund collected for establishing a Gurdwara in Berkeley, were instead used for representing India at Versailles Peace Conference.

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Amarjit Singh Panesar briefly described lives of Sikh Gurus and their teachings for recognizing equality, liberty and fraternity in all human beings. Bhajan Singh then presented a slide show that captivated the audience for about an hour. Manjit S Uppal described in detail about Stockton Gurdwara’s effort to continue the legacy of Sikh pioneers in uniting and awakening a sense of self –esteem in people living on the margins of the society. The society thanked Dr. Ravi Mahal for inviting the delegation to Florida Gurdwara and honoring Professor Gould there on Sunday, December 15, 2013.
The visit created a lot of goodwill and interest in history of Sikhs in America for more than Hundred years.

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