The Haloona Project Coordination Team recently organized an event called "Community Revival: Rekindling Sikh Spirit" at the Sikh Spiritual Center in Rexdale. The event took place from 2 pm to 7 pm. As part of the workshop organized for Sikh organizations in the Greater Toronto Area, the team invited the Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI), a community development organization based in Texas, to facilitate two educational sessions.

According to Bhai Harjinder Singh, the coordinator of Haloona, the purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the issues faced by the Sikh community and to provide information that has a positive impact on the Panth.

The workshop 

In this workshop focused on the idea of unifying the Sikh community, a group of eighty-five participants engaged in discussions to find practical and realistic solutions for the existing problems within the Sikh Nation. Community Revival, recognizing their abilities to prioritize and actively improve the Sikh nation, aimed to bring together various community leaders, activists, professionals, and youth.

Bhai Inderpreet Singh, one of the workshop facilitators and a member of the SikhRI's Board of Advisors, explained that the purpose of the Community Revival program is to restore a deep sense of identity. He emphasized the importance of the global Sikh community maintaining the spirit of Sikh sovereignty and prosperity through an understanding and a practice of their faith.

Throughout the sessions, the attendees learned about the origin and significance of the Sikh Rahit Maryada in guiding and shaping individual and collective Sikh behaviour. They also explored the application of institutions such as Sarbat Khalsa and Gurmata in today's context. To simulate a Sarbat Khalsa activity, eight different Jathas with varying ideologies within the Sikh community were formed. The participants were tasked with identifying the three most critical priorities facing the Sikh Nation. After three rounds of discussion, they determined that Unification, Education, and Sovereignty were the top priorities. Each participant also developed a personal goal to champion a task related to one of these three areas, which they will implement within the next two months.

A step towards understanding the Sikh community 

Gurdev Singh, a participant from Brampton, expressed his thoughts on the program, saying that it is a valuable initiative for the community. He appreciated the opportunity to understand the perspectives of other Sikh factions who may differ in their thinking. He believed that this program exemplifies the "Sarbat Khalsa" ideology, which should be comprehended and implemented.

Gurpreet Singh, another participant from Mississauga, was highly impressed and shared his positive feedback. He found the program to be informative and effective, emphasizing the rarity of such clarity and transparency in the vision, action plan, and execution.

Balwinder Singh, a member of the Haloonaa team, highlighted an important lesson derived from the event. He emphasized that every Sikh should dedicate their time and resources to address common issues and contribute to positive efforts in order to strengthen the Panth (Sikh community).

Bhai Harinder Singh, the Executive Director of SikhRI and the chief workshop facilitator, concluded by stating their objective to learn and share the intricacies of the sovereign elements of Sikh culture that unite them as a collective. He recognized that, for over 200 years, un-Sikh-like processes have been employed in Sikh decision-making. He emphasized the need to reignite their spirit, develop processes initiated by the Guru, and fortify their institutions for the collective good.

Sikh culture encompasses a rich tapestry of traditions, beliefs, and practices that have evolved over centuries. Rooted in the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, Sikh culture promotes equality, justice, and selfless service. Initiatives like The Haloona Project are a step ahead in this direction. 


*Based on an article by Harjinder Singh in The Link Paper on 22nd July 2008 

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