Why a Frenchman, an American, a Canadian and a Scot Became Sikh

With people from diverse ethnicities embracing Sikhism, Guru Nanak’s message of equality and love resonates worldwide ...

An aerospace engineer who wants to open a gurdwara in Jamaica, an African-American who found her faith at a yoga class and a 21-year-old baptised Christian who is now spreading the message of Sikhism via her website, on Guru Nanak's 550th anniversay followers across the globe tell TOI how they found their faith...
Gurpreet Kaur
It was less than three years ago - in January 2017 - that Texas resident Gurpreet Kaur became a Sikh. Inspired after a reading of Guru Granth Sahib, her book, My Journey into Sikhi; A Tell-All by an African American Convert," reveals her journey from a baptised Christian girl to a Sikh and how she finally found in Gurbani what she was seeking at a social (considering all humans equal) and spiritual level...

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The 21-year-old business student in University of Texas, Austin has coined the term 'Afrodhari' for herself. "I'm proud to be Black, Sikh, Amritdhari, Afrodhar," she says. She also runs a website, "Embracing Sikhism" and focuses on bridging the gap between east, west and across all cultures." "I am an Akal Takht-following Sikh," she said. 
"What inspired me to receive Amrit (Sikh ceremony of initiation) was the desire to dedicate my life as a servant of humanity and cultivate spiritual discipline," she told TOI. 

Editor's note: Click the link below all the images to read the full bio's of the various international converts: 

Lathan-Dennis Singh
Seventy-two-year-old Lathan, a Jamaican friend of singer-musician Bob Marley and follower of Rastafarianism, was a student of aerospace engineering at the University of Michagan when he spotted a turban-sporting "tall, handsome" Sikh man...

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Krishna Kaur
When Harbhajan Singh Yogi, popularly called Yogi Bhajan - a master of Kundalini Yoga - started teaching yoga in the US after settling there in 1968, hundreds of people thronged to his yoga sessinos, and many went on to embrace Sikhism. While most of these "American Sikhs" were whites, Los Angeles-born Krishna Kaur was one of the first African-Americans who joined the Sikh fold by partaking Amrit at the Akal Takht in 1971...

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Gursoorma Singh
It was in a world geography class that Gursoorma Singh (then Charles King), now 21, heard about Guru Nanak's teachings and Sikhism for the first time. "I became a Sikh five years ago and partook Amrit on Baisakhi on 2019. I was contemplating suicide but the message of Gurbani changed my thinking and I decided to follow the path of Guru Nanak,"... 

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Second-generation black Sikhs in US
Awtar Singh Khalsa and Har Krishan Kaur Khalsa, both of African American origin, joined the Sikh fold in the mid-1970's under Yogi Bhajan's influence. The couple had two sons - Siri Chand Singh Khalsa and Lakhmi Chand Singh Khalsa - wo are second - generation black Sikhs. 

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Gurfateh Singh 
Liberia resident Gurfateh Singh joined the Sikh fold 14 years ago after a Christian missionary gave him a book on world religions. Today, he runs a Sikh religious organisation in the West African countries of Nigeria and Liberia and is raising funds to rent a flat for a gurdwara and a hostel for an orphanage...

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Kalasinghas in Kenya
Some Sikhs from undivided Punjab settled in Kenya in the late 19th-early 20th century when the British  started laying a railway line there. Among them was Kala Singh... They started calling him, and all other Sikhs who looked like him thereafter by the name Kalasingha... Gurdwara Makindu, established in 1926, is a legacy of Sikh settlers in Kenya. Khalsa said it is locals who works as sewadaars (volunteers) in the gurdwara, managing the langar (communal free meal) and other affairs...

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Darshan Singh Rudel
The French national converted to Sikhism in 1997. He became an Amritdhari Sikh at Anandpur Sahib and married a Sikh woman, Malvinder Kaur, who teaches English at a college in Nangal. Now settled at Nurpur Bedi in Ropar district...

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Shiv Charan Singh
A native of Scotland, Shiv Charan Singh met Yogi Bhajan for the first time in Amsterdam in 1980 where he worked at the golden Temple restaurant... In 2000, he and his wife, Satya, opened the Kriya Centre in London and began offering teacher training. Four years later they started the Guru Ram Das Project...

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Chinese-Origin Sikhs 
Vancouver-based Chinese-origin Pat Cheung became Pat Singh Cheung after being inspired by the Guru Nanak's Free Kitchen langer. He has grown his hair and beard and ties a turban and intends to become an Amritdhari... US-based Sunder Singh Khalsa could very well be the first Sikh of Chinese origin... Malaysia-based turban wearing Chinese-origin Sikh, Jasmeet Kaur, has shared her story on 'Basics of Sikhi' in Mandarin, in which she explains how her journey in Sikhism began in 2004-05...

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