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Lokvani Talks To Sarbpreet Singh

Ranjani Saigal

Sarbpreet Singh is an executive in the technology industry. He has held senior roles at companies such as Lucent Technologies and Flextronics International and serves as a mentor to Boston area entrepreneurs. A writer and commentator, Sarbpreet Singh has published opinion pieces and commentary at The Boston Herald, The Milwaukee Journal, The Providence Journal and NPR's Morning Edition. He has contributed poetry to Manushi and his historical and satirical plays have been performed at various Sikh events focused on mentoring young people. He is the founder of The Gurmat Sangeet Project, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the Sikh musical tradition. He teaches music and history at the Milford Gurdwara and has served in Gurdwara Management in various capacities. Sarbpreet is heavily involved with interfaith activities and serves on the Board of Directors of the Refugee Immigration Ministry, a Malden non-profit that provides services to recently admitted refugees and asylum seekers. He also serves on the advisory board of the Sikh Coalition.

He talked to Lokvani about the recent tragedy.

Could you tell us a little about your professional background?

My educational background is in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. In my early career I worked at G.E. Medical Systems and AT&T Bell Labs; about fifteen years ago I moved into customer facing and business management roles, managing business units, as well as running smaller technology companies.

How did you get involved with the Milford Gurudwara?

We moved to the Boston Area in 1999 and chose to live in Hopkinton because of its proximity to the Milford Gurdwara; since then my family and I have been intimately involved with the Gurdwara.

What role do you play at the Gurudwara?

My primary role at the Guurdwara has been as a teacher; I have been teaching our children Gurmat Sangeet (Sikh Sacred Music) and History for twelve years. I was inspired by the enthusiasm of the young children here to start a non profit called The Gurmat Sangeet Project (www.gurmatsangeetproject.com), dedicated to the preservation and propagation of the Sikh musical tradition. Over the years I have served in various capacities in Gurdwara Management, as Secretary and President of the Executive Committee. I am involved with one of the Gurdwara Committees at the moment.

How did you react when you heard the terrible news from Wisconsin?

I was inevitably shocked and saddened that such a heinous crime had been committed at a place of worship. It would have pained me no less if this had happened at a Temple, Mosque or a Church.

How is the Sikh community feeling in the wake of the tragedy?

The Sikh community is in pain but is also rallying at every Gurdwara in the country. We have strong support form law enforcement everywhere and there has been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy and compassion from all other faiths.

Many vigils are being organized. Why are the vigils important? What does the Sikh community hope to convey via these vigils?

The Vigils help underscore that for every hate-crazed bigot, there are millions of compassionate and kind people who love their fellow human beings regardless of their race or religion. This is a teachable moment for sure. The Sikh community is using this to drive home the message that its is insane to target *anyone* because of their appearance or their faith.

What can we do to help?

Speak up against bigotry and intolerance, no matter who is at the receiving end. Sikhism believes in actively fighting oppression in every form. We outnumber the bigots and the haters greatly. Let all right-thinking people of faith, overpower them. Not through force, but through love, compassion and education.

Any special message for our readers?

On August 23, 2012, The Mass Council of Churches, The Jewish Community Relations Council & The Islamic Council of New England are organizing an interfaith program at Trinity Church in Copley Square, Boston. Hymns from the Gurmat Sangeet tradition will be sung in this magnificent church, followed by speakers from various faiths. The four Boston Gurdwaras will then serve Guru Ka Langar to all of the guests after the service. The service begins at 6 p.m. Please encourage your readers to come.

Thank you for time. We hope many of our readers will attend the event.

Thank you 

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