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Governor Baker Inaugurates Sikh Gurdwara In Westborough

Deepak Arora and Harneet Kaur

On the afternoon of October 14, 2017in Boston, MA, Governor Charlie Baker Inaugurated the Gurdwara built in Westborough. Congressman Jim McGovern, Rep. Hannah Kane and Rep. Kim Fergusan, Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis, Westboro Police Chief Al Gorden, Selectmen and town officials from Westboro and neighboring towns, and many representatives from different faiths, churches, synagogues, mosques and temples had gathered at the Gurdwara Sahib.

In his speech, the Governor welcomed and praised the Sikh Religion for its virtues and services to the community. He compared them to many other faiths and said their beliefs relate to those of other religions.

The Governor went on to say, “For me the chance to be here today and share this opening with you and speak on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as to how much we appreciate your presence, your work, you culture, your faith, and your belief in one another.” He continuously expressed how thankful he is. There was a positive energy in the air and you could feel the unity in the room. This was a milestone for both the Sikhs and the Governor.

To reiterate the message of equality Governor Baker explained that “there is a very simple phrase in Latin 'e pluribus Unum' that means 'Out of many one'. That has been from the very beginning. That has what the United States has strived to be -- Out of many one. Some days are better than others.” He talked about this phrase in order to compare it to Massachusetts and freedom. He wanted us to know what type of Country the U.S. has always wanted to be and how there is ups and down.”

The Governor also explained that, “We have positive moments and negative moments. We   are not perfect. But I know that I speak for the people of Commonwealth, when I say how much we value the notion that it is the land of opportunity and freedom and we are all children of God - brothers and sisters." This demonstrates how the Governor thinks that everyone is equal under the eyes of God and believes many of the same things that Sikhs believe.

The chief guest and other dignitaries were welcomed by Amandeep Singh, the Secretary of the Gurdwara. Following this, the Governor was introduced by Dr. Jang Bahadur Singh, Associate Prof. of medicine at UMass. There was also an introduction on Sikhism by Dr. Harpreet Singh, a Harvard Scholar & CEO of Experfy big Data Management.

Amar Sawhney, Chairman at Ocular Therapeutix, introduced Congressman McGovern soon after the Governor concluded his Speech. The Congressman talked about the History of America and a lot about the Country right now.

He also believed that Sikhs are able to help the community. The Congressman said, "I am told that the word Sikh means disciple or student. We can look to the Sikh community as an example for all of us to be lifetime learners.... Learners of tolerance, gratitude, service and hard work...” The Congressman wanted Sikhs to serve as examples to the rest of the Community.

Congressman McGovern also believed that Sikhs were needed especially during the time our country is going through now. He said that, “We are living in a very troubled world. We are living in the face of unspeakable violence and intolerance. And this community has been subject to persecution in other parts of the world. But what breaks my heart is when you are subject to persecution in this country. When people are bullied and when people are victims of hate crimes.” He pretty much summarized some of the issues going on in today’s world.

Presenting the vote of thanks were youth representative Simran Soin and President Malkit Singh Gill. Simran Soin spoke about the youth, history, and values of Sikhism. The President said that Sikhism symbolizes American Value. He urged the Governor to declare April 13 as the Sikh Heritage Day.

The Ceremony was concluded with Governor Baker being presented with a Saropa (Ceremonial robe) and a Kirpan (Ceremonial Sword) by Monohar Singh Grewal and Jot Singh Khalsa.

Photo Courtesy: Harpreet Tehim


The New England Sikh Study Circle, Inc. (NESSC), a non-profit organization, was established in 1968 to serve as a center for spiritual growth and religious services. It has governed the Gurdwara (Sikh House of Worship) in Milford MA, for more than two decades, before moving to its new home in Westborough, MA, where religious services and kirtan are held on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings. NESSC is active in interfaith events and community service throughout Massachusetts.

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