Chile has over 200 legally recognized spiritual paths. But until January 25th 2016, the Sikh religion was not one of them.
After 4 years of consistent effort, however, the fledgling Sikh community in Chile achieved legal recognition of Sikh Dharma as a religion.
“Now we will be protected, with more safety in our jobs, in our health system and political system,” Rupinder Kaur Khalsa of Sikh Dharma Chile said of the legalization. “That is very good news for all of us…We can have the right to have gatherings in public places, also.
“We started the legalization process 4 years ago. Creatinag legal documents that describe what a turban is, what Sikh Dharma is, who we are, what do we want to legalize for Sikh Dharma Chile, and what our values are as Sikhs. Then, the legal process was about waiting for the government to approve this.”
The Chilean government did so in January.
The Sikh religion was introduced into Chile in the late 20th century by the Sikh missionary Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, also known as Yogi Bhajan. Through his inspiration, people in Chile began to adopt the Sikh faith. Now, there is a thriving community of Chilean born Sikh families in Chile, who host many spiritually uplifting events in their country.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on Feb. 16th 2015