sikh leader california

Sikh Community leader Didar Bains, popularly known as the “peach king of California” was honored at the Sikh temple of Sacramento.

Didar Bains arrived in California in 1958. He had just come from Punjab, a mere 18-year-old boy seeking a better life. He was young, hardy and ready to work. He began as a farm laborer until 1964, when he bought his first piece of property at Lincoln Road and George Washington Boulevard. From there, his holdings would grow to 40,000 acres in 6 counties, held between him and a dozen family members. He would become known as the Peach King, the largest peach grower in the nation.

Gov. Jerry Brown Honors “Peach King”

Sunday, the California governor, Jerry Brown, visited the Sikh Temple of Sacramento to honor Didar Bains, a long-time supporter and the “godfather” to California’s 50,000 or more Sikhs. The visit marks the Sikh’s engagement in politics, as Narinderpal Singh Hundal, a Sikh newspaper publisher and businessman, ran for mayor in the West. During his visit, he embraced Bains, praising him and thousands of other immigrants from India. His heartfelt speech brimmed with pride as he said that the Sikh “have enriched the nation with their culture and work ethic.

“The Sikh community is at a turning point that many immigrants go through; we’re no longer looking inward. We’re politically active, and the governor recognizes this,” says Amar Shergill, a Sikh activist and attorney.

Jerry Brown signed two bills into law in 2012. The Assembly Bill 1964, which protected workers who wore sacred turbans, hijabs and yarmulkes, and the Senate Bill 1540, which made curriculum changes to include the history, tradition and theology of California Sikhs. “Now, tens of thousands of California students will hear our 100-year history, contributions and faith in California. And Sikhs will never have to choose between their faith and their jobs,” says community spokesperson, Darshan Singh Mundy.

Didar Bains Contributions to the World

The praise from Jerry Brown proved to mean very much to Didar Bains. The Monday following the event, he said “I appreciated all of this. I am happy. The people love me, and I love the people.”

Bains’ contributions demonstrate his love for the people and the world. He was previously the president of the World Sikh Organization, and has donated millions worldwide for schools, gurdwaras and businesses alike. In Tierra Bueno, he founded the Sikh Temple. In Stockton’s gurdwara, he was the youngest president.

If he has left his mark on anyone, it’s his son, Karm Bains. “I can’t imagine how much he has donated, but he really feels and believes this was his calling. He believes he was put on this world to spread God’s name and word.”

“In my mind, if there was a picture of somebody next to a photo of the American dream, it would be next to him,” Karm Bains said. “It’s a rags-to-riches story.”

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter