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

Seniors-documentary-Parents

Stricken by her mom’s death, Sikh filmmaker learns ‘to keep moving forward’

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Vancouver filmmaker Baljit Sangra’s mother suddenly died after being struck by a car, Sangra was so devastated that she wanted…
Continue Reading »

Parliament hill

Dosanjh: We must criminalize glorification, encouragement of terrorism

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Canada is no stranger to terrorism. Nonetheless what has happened in the heart of our capital on the heels…
Continue Reading »

Royal Wedding

Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Kendra Salwa Spears expecting their first child

VANCOUVER DESI The Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Princess Salwa (Kendra Salwa Spears) are expecting their first child, the spiritual leader…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Seniors-documentary-Parents

Stricken by her mom’s death, Sikh filmmaker learns ‘to keep moving forward’

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Vancouver filmmaker Baljit Sangra’s mother suddenly died after being struck by a car, Sangra was so devastated that she wanted…
Continue Reading »

CIVIC ELECTIONS

Surrey mayoral candidates share city visions at first meeting

AMY REID VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Surrey mayoral candidates met for the city’s first all-candidates meeting Thursday night at SFU. Six of the seven candidates…
Continue Reading »

OTTAWA

Surrey MP Nina Grewal’s account of the shootout in Ottawa

NINA GREWAL SPECIAL TO IANS  When Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking at about 9.30 a.m. Wednesday in a caucus room of parliament, we…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

student dead

Two dead, including gunman, in school shooting north of Seattle

DOUG ESSER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A student opened fire in a high school cafeteria north of Seattle on Friday, killing at least…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

labour laws violation

U.S. company penalized for mistreatment of Indian employees working 122 hours in a week

MICHAEL LIEDTKE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS SAN FRANCISCO – A Silicon Valley company is paying more than $43,000 in back wages and penalties after labour regulators…
Continue Reading »

DESI-SOCCER

Surrey soccer captain played the U-18 national club championship using only one foot

KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW SOUTH SURREY – Kyle Sohi’s perseverance and performance in the 2014 Sport Chek National Club Championships U-18 Cup Final might go…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Stan Lee-Bollywood

Stan Lee plans Bollywood film on his first Indian superhero

VANCOUVER DESI Stan Lee, the legendary ‘Spiderman’ creator, is reportedly planning his Bollywood entry with a film on his Indian superhero character ‘Chakra: the Invincible’….
Continue Reading »

KANGANA RANAUT

Even my parents think I am weird, says Bollywood ‘Queen’ Kangana Ranaut

HINDUSTAN TIMES Kangana Ranaut has always made unconventional choices, be it her movies or the way she dresses. And the actor says she’s happy the…
Continue Reading »

Happy New Year-Bollywood

Happy New Year: Mandatory ‘formula’ and all those old Bollywood references

HINDUSTAN TIMES Film: Happy New Year Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah, Jackie Shroff Director: Farah Khan…
Continue Reading »