JALALABAD (PAN): The long-oppressed Sikhs on Wednesday began celebrating Vaisakhi, the holiest day on their religious calendar, in eastern Nangarhar province, where thousands of minority families have been forced into migration over the past three decades.
Of the 37,464 Sikh families living in the eastern region before the civil war began, only 400 are left in five provinces, with 84 households internally displaced.
The community began the three-day festival in the Sultanpur area of Surkhrod district. Dozens of devotees are expected to throng the two temples in Jalalabad on Thursday to listen to recitation from the Guru Granth Sahib.
A Sikh elder, Royal Singh, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Vaisakhi — a day steeped in tradition –marked the birth of the Khalsa (Pure Ones), the brotherhood of Sikhs committed uprooting evil, fighting tyranny and defending the weak.
The day was first celebrated in 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, baptised his followers with Holy Amrit, nectar of life. Singh recalled Guru Gobind Singh parted ways with Hinduism and founded a new religion, Sikhism, 313 years ago to start worshiping one god, instead of many idols.