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A Week long Exhibition on "Sikh Heritage in India" Inaugurated in State of Illinois Building in Chicago

Chicago, September 23, 2013
R. Mago

Honorable Consul General of India in Chicago Dr. Ausaf Sayeed inaugurated a photo exhibition “The Sikhs – A Heritage of Valor and Devotion” in the atrium of the State of Illinois Building, the James R. Thompson Center, Chicago on Monday September 9.

The Exhibition by the renowned photo artist Sondeep Shankar is a pioneering work which showcases the rich Sikh Heritage and traditions.  The Exhibition is sponsored by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi and is co-hosted by the Consulate General of India, Chicago, the State of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and the Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago. The Exhibition will remain open to the public from September 09 to 13, 2013 from 9am to 5pm. Other venues for this display are also being planned.

Nearly fifty Indian American community members attended the inauguration ceremony of the exhibition. On behalf of the Governor Pat Quinn, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of Asian American Outreach Ms. Theresa Mah welcomed everyone to this Sikh Heritage exhibition and announced that it was a part of the series of events displaying the diversity of cultures in Illinois.

Rajinder Singh Mago of Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago gave an overview of the Sikh beliefs, the history of Sikhs in America and their contributions and sacrifices in the world wars gallantly fighting for the success of the allies.

Mr. Mago introduced the Consul General Dr. Ausaf Sayeed who has recently joined his post in Chicago. C.G. Dr. Sayeed and other dignitaries joined in the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially declare the exhibition open to the public.

In his remarks, Dr. Sayeed spoke highly of the rich Sikh Heritage and the openness and inclusive nature of the Sikh culture personally experienced by him over the years through his many Sikh friends.

Dr. Sayeed remembered the "langar" (community meal) that the Sikh community hosted regularly during Sikh festivals in the countries of his earlier postings. He also recalled having visited the historical Sikh Gurdwara in Baghdad, Iraq, which was built to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanakdevji to Baghdad and touched upon the inclusive nature of Guru Granth Sahib.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of the two Sikhs, one US national and another Indian national, who were murdered at a grocery store in Middlebury Street in Elkhart in the northern Indiana during a robbery attempt last week.

The Consul General and other invitees viewed the exhibits on display.

"This exhibition will generate awareness and understanding about the Sikh American community among their fellow Americans, which is invaluable during the week of nine eleven," said Rajinder Singh Mago.

Sikhism established in the 15th century, is just over 500 years old religion. Its teachings are founded in the philosophy of humanism, pluralism and universal brotherhood. Guru Nanak Devji was the first Sikh Guru, born in 1469. He was followed by nine Gurus whose descendants and close followers are spread in large numbers across the world. There are approximately 25 million Sikhs worldwide making it the fifth largest religion in the world, about 700,000 Sikhs live in the United States of America including several thousands in the State of Illinois. There are four Gurdwaras in Metropolitan Chicago area.

PCS Chicago's next events are a Social Security Information Seminar on October 6 in Palatine, and The McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade on State Street in Chicago on November 28, 2013.

 The Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago is a not-for-profit community service organization devoted to promoting Punjabi culture, language, performing arts, healthy life style, sports, education, and good citizenship, in the metropolitan Chicago area.