New England Sikh Community Encounters Curiosity

September 8, 2002

Source: The Boston Globe

On September 8, 2002 The Boston Globe reported that "for the roughly 150 Sikhs... living at or near the ashram in Millis, [Massachusetts] life has changed since Sept. 11... Never before has a long beard and turban evoked the response it now does. Still, Sikhs in Millis, the largest community of its kind in New England, say that although they remain more vigilant, they have found the vast majority of people to be caring and curious about their religious practices... The turban represents several beliefs in Sikhism, according to Ekongkar Singh Khalsa, director of the Guru Ram Das Ashram and Gurdwara, the Sikhs' place of worship, which opened in Millis in 1981. It's a 'crown of spirituality,' he said, and it symbolizes humility before God. But it is also meant as a way to make Sikhs more visible because part of their tradition is to be available to help others... 'I think the best way to ensure we're safe is to let people get to know us,' said Ekongkar Singh Khalsa, who was born in Brooklyn...    That has been happening all year, and Sikhs say they met people they would not have otherwise, particularly through the first interfaith services ever held in Millis, which took place shortly after Sept. 11 on the lawn of the ashram, which is the Sikh's community residence."