Sikhism in Greater Boston

1965    The Immigration and Nationality Act is signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, eliminating immigration quotas created by earlier legislation. Immigration from Asia and the Middle East increases dramatically, marking the beginning of one of the greatest demographic transformations in American history. Greater Boston sees a marked expansion of minority religious groups, including the SikhSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... community.

1968    The New England Sikh Study CircleIn some Pagan traditions, a “circle” refers to the people who gather for a ritual. When standing in a circle, all the participants are able to see each other, with no one member elevated over any other. This practice is often felt to encourage egalita... (NESSC) is established. Initially, only a handful of families participate, meeting in members’ homes on a monthly basis.

1970    Members of the national Happy Healthy Holy Organization (3HO) begin meeting in Boston; later, the group will form the Guru Ram DasThe fourth of the ten Sikh Gurus, Ram Das served as Guru from 1574 to 1581. He is primarily known for establishing the town of Ramdaspur, later known as Amritsar, in the Punjab. AshramIn the religious traditions of India, an ashram is a retreat center, where the cultivation of religious life takes place under the guidance of a teacher or guru. and GurdwaraThe gurdwara, “the gateway of the Guru,” is the place for community gathering and worship in the Sikh tradition. The Guru is the Adi Granth, the sacred scripture of the Sikh tradition. Each center will include a chamber where the Adi Granth is kept, a... in Millis.

 1979    The New England Sikh Study Circle officially receives non-profit status.

1981    Members of the Happy Healthy Holy Organization (3HO) purchase a former Jewish resort in Millis; the property is converted into a gurdwara, known as the Guru Ram Das Ashram and Gurdwara.

1984   A series of deadly attacks against SikhsSikhs call their tradition the “Sikh Panth,” meaning the “community (panth) of the disciples of the Guru.” The tradition reveres a lineage of ten Gurus, beginning with Guru Nanak in the 16th century and coming to a clos. with the death of Guru Gob... in India, particularly in Delhi, results in a second major wave of Sikh immigration to the United States.

1990    The New England Sikh Study Circle acquires a former Kingdom HallA Kingdom Hall is the name the Jehovah’s Witnesses give to their place of worship. in Milford; the property is converted into the Milford Gurdwara Sahib.

1997    The Gurudwara Guru NanakGuru Nanak (1469-1539) was the first teacher of the community of disciples that became known as the Sikhs. His songs in praise of the formless and transcendent God are a cherished part of the Sikh scripture, the Adi Granth. Darbar is founded. Services are held in members’ homes.

2003    After several years of meeting in members’ homes and rented properties in Somerville, the Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar purchases a building in the heart of Medford for use as a gurdwara; the space opens for worship in early 2004.

2005    The Sikh SangatSangat is a Punjabi term for “community” and refers particularly to the religious community. Society Boston is formed as an offshoot of the Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar. Services are held in rented space in Somerville.

2008    The New England Sikh Study Circle (Milford Gurdwara Sahib) purchases sixteen acres of land in Berlin, MA, where a new gurdwara will eventually be built to accommodate increasing numbers of worshippers.