How the Indian Sikh community is giving lessons in racial harmony to Donald Trump after damage in America's tallest dam

America, though, hasn't been really kind to its Sikh community, who have faced persecution in the wake of 9/11, often for being mistaken for Muslims.

After all, there is hope for America under Donald Trump. And it is the Indian Sikh community settled in the northern part of California that’s leading by example, at least when it comes to demonstrating racial harmony in times of crisis. A Mexican family of thirteen people. An African-American man. That’s not the kind of cultural make-up of devotees you would expect at a Sikh Temple in America. But that’s what a Los Angeles Times reporter encountered when he walked into the Guru Ravidass Temple located in the Sacramento Area, home to one of the largest Sikh communities in America.

The Sikh temple, or gurudwara, in the Rio Linda neighbourhood of Sacramento, was among 10 Sikh temples in the region that played host to hundreds of families fleeing potential floods after local authorities issued calls for mandatory evacuations in the wake of a damage at Lake Oroville Dam. The structure is the tallest in the US, and as reported in local daily The Mercury News, nearly 188,000 people have been evacuated due to a spillway damage at Lake Oroville. This story of the Sikh community in Sacramento is just one side of the how the local communities are holding up.


(Source: Twitter/Michael Kull)

Around 11,000 Sikh families are settled in Sacramento in California, the southern state where nearly half of America’s 5,00,000-strong Sikh community lives. According to the LA Times report, the Rio Linda gurudwara is not only hosting evacuees from all cultural backgrounds but also feeding them free of cost. Local Sikh restaurant owners are also reportedly chipping in with American cuisine in a bid to make evacuees feel more at home.

The news report noted that the food menu had come to include chips, pizza, vegetarian pies and macaroni, beside the traditional Sikh langar, that was being served.

The best part is that Sikhs are not expecting anything in return for helping out strangers in difficult times, despite the fact that members of the community have been victims of surging hate crimes since the 9/11, often because they are confused for Muslims.

Also read: Reviving Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat: Muslim men braved fire to save Sikh woman in Kashmir

“Our temples — all temples — always have a rule of having an open-door policy to house and feed anybody. That’s one of the most important teachings of our guru,” a truck driver, Raj Kumar Sood, who is also Rio Linda gurudwara’s board member was quoted as saying by LA Times.

But America hasn’t been kind to its Sikhs. There have been terrorist incidents targetting the Sikh community in recent years, most recently in 2012 when a “White Supremacist” opened fire inside a gurudwara in the northern state of Wisconsin. The LA Times report even highlighted that the Rio Linda gurudwara facing resistance in its plans for expansion from neighbours, most of whom were not Sikhs.

The LA Times highlighted, “Neighbours say they are concerned about drainage and parking, but local Sikhs believe that they are more concerned about religion.”