Local Chemist Writes Book on Sikhism

January 28, 2007

Author: Amanda Pinto

Source: The Stamford Times


STAMFORD - Dr. Jaspal Singh Mayell, a long-time chemist at Purdue Pharma who holds a Ph.D in the science, seems an unlikely author of an explanatory religious text.

But Mayell, a Sikh with no extensive religious training, recently published "Universality of the Sikh Religion: A Guide to Understanding the Sikh Religion."

The 398-page book took him seven years to complete. Mayell, 78, had previously only written for scientific journals, he said.

He said his desire to write the book was fueled by a need to provide a "scientific view," of his religion. This was especially important, he said, because clergy at gurdwaras - which are Sikh temples - speak in Punjabi, a language many young American Sikhs do not know.

"We [educated, scientific people] never express how we want our religion to be expressed to the next generation; that was my ambition with this [book]," he said.

Mayell said there are currently 25 million Sikhs in the world, a majority of which live in India. Just one million Sikhs reside in America, where Mayell has lived for the past 50 years. When he moved to Stamford 46 years ago, he was the only Indian and the only Sikh.