Surrey Khalsa Day parade organizer is fuelled by faith

Published: April 16, 2014

VANCOUVER DESI

Gian Singh Gill

Behind the thousands of volunteers preparing the largest Vaisakhi event outside of India is the gentle guiding hand of Gian Singh Gill.

Gian Singh Gill is a man fuelled by his faith.

Known for his gentle demeanour, the towering Gill is the President of Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Temple in Surrey and the man behind the city’s mammoth Khalsa Day parade which attracts over 200,000 people annually.

For days prior to Vaisakhi, thousands of volunteers work feverishly to prepare the thousands of pounds of food which will be given away for free during the event. At a single stall alone, up to five hundred kilograms of cooked chickpeas or curried vegetables may be given out. Multiply that by over 100 stalls and it’s easy to understand how sold quanititie of flour, milk, and sugar spike during the month of April by multiples of tonnes in the Surrey area.

Yet walking through the throngs of people at Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, Gill is an image of serenity, completely unfazed by all the moving parts.

Related Stories:

He inspects the shimmering golden float that will carry the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikh Holy Book. Strewn around the giant float on the ground are dozens of floral arrangements that will adorn the most important vehicle in the parade.

“Volunteers will soon have this float prepared for the Guru,” he said as the feverish preparations were underway. “The local Sikh community donates everything. They provide money, clothing, food and their time to make the whole event a success.”

As President, Gill is constantly moving from one meeting to the next. And when not providing guidance to a colleague in person, he is on the phone consulting with the many stakeholders in the event.

“We plan the parade with the help of City of Surrey, RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces, Fraser Health Authority and thousands of volunteers,” he says. “Everyone’s input is valued.”

This is evident in the temple dining room where a representative of Fraser Health has established a booth where food vendors can apply for permits to offer free food and beverages at the parade.

Gill was born in the village of Moga in the province of Punjab. His parents had six sons and three daughters, and when their son showed a special interest in religion he travelled to the ancient Indian city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges where he studied Sanskrit for 12 years.

Fast forward 35 years and that religious education has become the basis of Gill’s presidency of Dasmesh Darbar. In addition to the chief executive role he has held for four years, the 57 year-old husband and father of two has worked as a mill worker at the Richmond Plywood Corporation since 1991.

He and his wife also own the Kwantlen Square Laundrymat – although Mrs. Gill generously allows her husband special dispensation to attend to his other two jobs.

“I’m very happy as a volunteer,” he said, “I get to deal with different people every day – especially the next generation of Sikhs.”

This content is produced as part of a joint venture between Vancouverdesi.com and the South Asian Post.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

Larissa Cahute

Video: Vancouver Desi reporter gets a ‘desi’ makeover

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi reporter Larissa Cahute gets a taste of the hectic life backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week as she gets done up in…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-politics

Barinder Rasode primed to run for Surrey mayor’s chair

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode will officially announce her bid for mayor at a “special celebration” organized at SFU Surrey on…
Continue Reading »

Jim Iker

B.C. kids going back to school as teachers vote in favour of new six-year contract

TAMSYN BURGMANN AND DENE MOORE THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Half a million British Columbia students will start their school year next week after the…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Larissa Cahute

Video: Vancouver Desi reporter gets a ‘desi’ makeover

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi reporter Larissa Cahute gets a taste of the hectic life backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week as she gets done up in…
Continue Reading »

Baird addresses UN Security Council on Iraq after American invite

By Mike Blanchfield THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird likened the fight against militants in Iraq and Syria to the historic…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-politics

Barinder Rasode primed to run for Surrey mayor’s chair

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode will officially announce her bid for mayor at a “special celebration” organized at SFU Surrey on…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

DEPORTED-PAKISTAN

Rally held in Saskatoon in support of 65-year-old woman deported to Pakistan

THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON — Supporters of a 65-year-old woman who was deported to her native Pakistan earlier this week have held a rally at…
Continue Reading »

Designers-entertainment

Fashion over the years in Bollywood

IMROZ MAUR VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood and Fashion go hand in hand; there is no Bollywood without fashion and there is no fashion without Bollywood. They…
Continue Reading »

fried rat in food

Customer finds fried rat mixed in pakoras at Indian railway snack kiosk

VANCOUVER DESI A snack kiosk at a railway station in Western India has been closed down after a customer found a fried rat mixed in…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-soccer

‘This isn’t lingerie football’: Vancouver Whitecaps video taken down (w/video)

DAN FUMANO VANCOUVER DESI After some fans and Internet commenters cried foul on a new online video promoting the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team, club management…
Continue Reading »

Change

Iran sentences ‘Happy’ dancing youths to six months jail, 91 lashes

IANS Tehran – A group of Iranian youths, who released a video on YouTube dancing to the popular song “Happy” by American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams,…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone: Respect us as women off-screen

IANS Mumbai – Deepika Padukone says she has an issue when people “propagate objectification of a real person and not a character being played” and…
Continue Reading »

Parineeti Chopra-Aditya Roy Kapur

Daawat-e-Ishq: Habib Faisal missed the plot

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Daawat-e-Ishq”; Cast: Aditya Roy Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra and Anupam Kher; Director: Habib Faisal: Rating: ** There are two different films…
Continue Reading »

Vinay Virmani

A fun ride with Dr. Cabbie

Q&A: Canadian actor Vinay Virmani’s new movie continues his examination of South Asian immigrant experience ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI Toronto-born actor and writer Vinay Virmani…
Continue Reading »