White House celebrates Guru Nanak birth anniversary

    By IANS,

    Washington : Sikh-Americans in their traditional Punjabi dresses, colourful turbans and business suits came to the White House to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru.

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    Senior Obama administration officials led by Melissa Rogers, special assistant to the president and executive director, White House office of faith-based and neighbourhood partnerships, were at hand to greet the invitees to the event Wednesday.

    Among them was Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s charge d’affaires, who conveyed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ‘Gurpurb’ greetings to the audience.

    Congressman Joe Crowley, co-chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans, and Gautam Raghavan, advisor, White House office of public engagement, also addressed the meeting.

    Last week, President Barack Obama had greeted “Sikh friends” around the world on the birth anniversary of Sikhism’s founder saying Sikh values of pluralism were also “central to who we are as Americans.”

    “This sacred time is an occasion to reflect on Guru Nanak’s timeless teachings and the principles that are at the heart of Sikhism, including the equality of all human beings, the pluralism we cherish in diverse societies and the compassion we owe one another,” he said in his message.

    Expressing gratefulness “to the many Sikh Americans who give life to these values and enrich our country every day,” Obama said they reminded “us that these shared principles are not only at the heart of the Sikh faith, they are central to who we are as Americans.”