Court orders Californian temple board election
Legal pressure by a member of the congregation has resulted in a Sikh temple in Yuba City, California, being ordered to elect a new board.
Tejinder Dosanjh, 54, took action to secure the election and called it “a victory for the congregation”.
The Sutter County Superior Court was told that there had been no board election at the gurdwara since 2002, a situation aimed at perpetuating the board’s control, it was alleged.
Mr Dosanjh sought the full participation of members and the court appointed an attorney as special master to oversee the vote. The gurdwara board also asked the court to arrange supervision.
Thousands of Sikhs voted in a 72 per cent turnout.
Didar Bains, the temple’s current president, will hand over to the new board, comprising some 73 members, after serving out his term this year.
Mr Dosanjh was delighted the ballot took place. The previous arrangement had not been fair, he said.
The temple holds a pivotal position in Sikh affairs in the US. Many Sikh immigrants stay there on arrival before dispersing around the country.
Every year up to 70,000 followers attend a three-day Sikh Parade in Tierra Bueno Road, Yuba City, which centres upon the recitation of holy scriptures. Hundreds of volunteers serve langar (complimentary refreshments) to the visitors.
Highlight of the celebrations is Nagar Kirtan – the “town chanting” parade, which stretches for nearly five miles.
Sikh immigration in the US started in the early 1900s, before other South Asian faiths began to arrive en masse.
Sikh historians say this had something to do with Sikh men being at ease with world travel after serving in the Indian army.
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