Three Friends and the Rise of Sikh Political Power

WNYC | August 15, 2018 | Immigration
From a tent pitched on a patch of dirt in Bergen County to a beautiful temple in Glen Rock, Sikhs are coming into their own

Credit: Arun Venugopal/WNYC
L to R: Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, and Sikh Coalition co-founder Amardeep Singh
In the 1980s, when Sikh immigrants from India began arriving in Bergen County and the surrounding area in significant numbers, they lacked a proper house of worship, so they set up a tent on a patch of dirt and began to pray.

Much has changed since then. The tent in Glen Rock has been replaced by a stately gurudwara, or temple, with a red brick facade and white domes. The congregation that once comprised 10 families now has hundreds of families drawn from across New Jersey and New York, two states that have among the largest populations of Sikhs in the country.

Today, after a long history of dealing with bigotry, Sikhs have begun to acquire power.

The worshipers in Glen Rock include Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey’s attorney general, and Ravi Bhalla, the mayor of Hoboken, along with Bhalla’s older brother Amardeep Singh, a founder of the Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights organization.

Read the full story on WNYC News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.