The Sikh religion gets legal recognition in Chile, granting protection and security to the Sikh community.
Chile has approximately 200 spiritual paths legally recognized by its government. The Sikh religion, however, was not included. For Sikhs, the pain is no more. The Chilean Government has recognized Sikhism as religion on January 25, 2016. This was not achieved easily; it took about four years of continuous effort. The minuscule but growing Chilean Sikh community has seen Sikh religion get legal recognition.
The news was welcomed by the Sikhs living in the country. Sikh Dharma Chile's Rupinder Kaur Khalsa said that from now on, Sikhs will have protection, with increased job security. This move will benefit both the political system and the health system. She also mentioned that now Sikhs have the right to attend public gatherings.
Rupinder continued and said that the legalization process began about seven years before. Legal documents were created that described the Sikh turban, the philosophy of Sikh Dharma and about the organization's aim to as to why they want to legalize the Sikh Dharma. The values of the Sikhs were also expounded. The legal process concerned waiting for the approval by the government. The deed was completed in January.
Chile's fist inflow of Sikhs happened in the latter part of the 20th century. At that time, Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa came as a missionary to the country. He was also known as Yogi Bhajan. Inspired by him, many Chileans started to adopt Sikh faith. They now host a number of spiritually uplifting events within Chile.
The Chilean Sikh community has grown significantly during the last 25 years. The Sangat has proven its devotion to Shabd Guru and to Kundalini Yoga. The yoga has become extremely popular in all Chile and these teachings are found in every part of this South American nation. Needless to say, Chilean Sikhs can do an excellent bhangra.
Sikh leaders visiting Chile describe Chilean Sikhs as consistent, stable and constant. They maintain the Sikh qualities of being graceful, having discipline and full of wisdom. The young Sikh women ask their spiritual gurus about what makes a Khalsa woman. Meetings generally include questions involving the community and also the wider public. Conversations are straight forward and frank. There is no topic that cannot be discussed. Many Chilean companies have also contacted the Sikh organizations concerning the promotion of Kundalini yoga to their employees and also to their communities.