US based millionaire hotelier Baldev Singh rejects idea of Khalistan

Updated on Jul 26, 2015 12:31 PM IST
Former deputy speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Baldev Singh (78) wants Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to focus on Punjab and make their foreign visits productive by replicating development ideas from US in the state.
Baldev Singh in his plush home in Clarksville, Washington. HT Photo
Baldev Singh in his plush home in Clarksville, Washington. HT Photo
Hindustan Times | By, Maryland (washington)

Former deputy speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Baldev Singh (78) wants Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to focus on Punjab and make their foreign visits productive by replicating development ideas from US in the state.

Baldev Singh, a native of village Majat near Landran in SAS district, is also critical the way demand for Khalistan is raised by a section of people.

"Where do they want to build Khalistan? Can they build a separate country like Japan or any other European country," he questioned adding that there are no such resources in Punjab.

Baldev Singh owns two Hilton hotels in Chicago and Pennsylvania, a Marriot and a Double tree hotel in Washington.

Elected to the Punjab vidhan sabha in 1967 on SAD ticket from Kharar, Baldev also met Gurcharan Singh Tohra during jail in a morcha of Akali Dal demanding Punjabi speaking areas.

"I never supported Khalistan. During the days when we were managing Richmond Hill Gurdwara, we never let anyone raise the issue but now things have changed drastically," he said.

After getting elected as MLA, Baldev remained the deputy speaker of Punjab Assembly for over two years till 1969. During this time, he established links with the US embassy, got a Working Visa and landed in New York in October 1970.

Being a law graduate, he first worked in an insurance company as a manager and later started his own businesses of petrol pumps, truck stations and finally entered into the hotel business. He is also a silent partner in a hospitality company.

"Akali Dal needs to go beyond its 'panthic' agenda and focus on development in Punjab," he suggested.

Referring to the theory of sociologist Maslow, Baldev Singh said: "When Sikhs and Punjabis land in the US, they struggle for basic needs of shelter and food. Once it's met, they thrive for image building and recognition and once they achieve it, they subsequently seek command and hence lands into politics.

"As they cannot mingle with the other communities due to their limited knowledge and education, they find gurdwara and Sikh politics a fertile ground to fulfill their need," he added.

He is also critical of the way Sikhs fight with each other.

"People in other religion do have differences, but the way we violently fight with each other earns bad name for our entire community," Baldev Singh told HT, adding that Akalis are gradually turning fundamentalists which they never were in the past.

About Richmond Hill Gurdwara

One of the oldest gurdwaras of US, The Richmong Hill Gurdwara was was actually a Baptist church building which was purchased by the Sikh community in 1973 by paying 65,000 US dollars to the Christian community.

"They (Christians) were demanding 3.5 lakh dollars for the building but as the gurdwara could only arrange 65,000 US dollars, they sold the place at our offer," said Baldev Singh who remained vice president and general secretary of the gurdwara for many years.

"A major fire incident in 1992 destroyed the old building and the gurdwara was rebuilt by purchasing houses in the surrounding," revealed Baldev Singh.

Richmond Hill Gurdwara is the second oldest gurdwara in the US after the Sacramento gurdwara in California.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gurpreet Singh Nibber is an Assistant Editor with the Punjab bureau. He covers politics, agriculture, power sector, environment, Sikh religious affairs and the Punjabi diaspora.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • The excise department on August 3 communicated the terms and conditions for opening liquor vends to the four agencies. (ANI Photo)

    Delhi: Govt agencies start turning in applications to sell liquor across Capital

    The four Delhi government agencies running the liquor stores are Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store, and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd.

  • The LG office stated that the period of the wholesale and retail licences was extended twice — from 01.04.2022 to 31.05.2022 and from 01.06.2022 to 31.07.2022 — without taking the approval of the council of ministers and without taking the opinion of the LG. (HT Photo)

    Delhi: LG, state govt spar as row over excise losses rumbles on

    According to the LG office, the government in 2015 rejected an excise department proposal to reduce the number of dry days from 23 to three days in a year in line with nearby states which observed only three dry days in a year.

  • The recuperation of the 32-km-long stretch of the Rakshi river has brought a smile to the face of thousands of farmers of 50 villages of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Karnal districts in Haryana as the flow of water will help recharge the groundwater in these villages. (HT Photo)

    After 25 years, Haryana government rejuvenates Rakshi river

    Haryana government's efforts to rejuvenate dried-up rivers bore fruit with the rejuvenation of the Rakshi river after almost 25 years. The recuperation of the 32-km-long stretch of the river has brought a smile to thousands of farmers of 50 villages of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Karnal districts as the flow of water will help recharge the groundwater in these villages.

  • Vehicles wade through a heavily water logged street after sudden rains at Rohtak Road in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, August 7, 2022. (Photo by Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times)

    Rain pushes Delhi's mercury below 30°C; showers may ease today, says Met

    While Safdarjung recorded only 2.7mm of rain through the day, moderate rainfall was recorded in south-west Delhi, with Palam receiving 33.3mm of rainfall till 5.30 pm, followed by 22.0mm at Ayanagar.

  • Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar participating in the 7th Governing Council meeting of NITI Aayog, in New Delhi on Sunday. (ANI)

    NITI Aayog meet: Haryana encouraging farmers to switch to natural farming, says Khattar

    Urging the Union government to promote natural farming in the country, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday informed the NITI Aayog that the Haryana government has been taking steps to encourage farmers to switch from chemical farming to natural farming. The chief minister said that the state government is completely focused on promoting natural farming in the state and that farmers should also be encouraged for the same.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 08, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now