Chile has over 200 legally recognized spiritual paths. But until January 25, 2016 the Sikh religion was not one of them.
After four years of consistent effort, however, the fledgling Sikh community in Chile achieved legal recognition of Sikh Dharma as a religion.
“Now we will be protected, with more safety in our jobs, in our health system and political system,” Rupinder Kaur Khalsa of Sikh Dharma Chile said of the legalization. “That is very good news for all of us . . . We can have the right to have gatherings in public places, also.”
She continued, “We started the legalization process four years ago – creating legal documents that describe what a turban is, what Sikh Dharma is, who we are, what do we want to legalize for Sikh Dharma Chile, and what our values are as Sikhs. Then, the legal process was about waiting for the government to approve this.”
The Chilean government did so in January of 2016.
The Sikh religion was introduced into Chile in the late 20th century by the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan. Through his inspiration, people in Chile began to adopt the Sikh faith. Now, there is a thriving community of Chilean born Sikh families in Chile, who host many spiritually uplifting events in their country.
After legal recognition in 2016, the Chilean government has allowed Sikh Dharma Chile to participate in interfaith activities including an advisory board to the Chilean president on issues of diversity (Sikh Dharma International, KC Report 2018).
Editor’s note: at the time of this posting, we also ask for prayers for the country of Chile, who have been going through great political unrest and turmoil, with buildings being burned and people being shot. May the people of Chile once again see peace in their country very soon. Blessings of Guru Ram Das, the Lord of Miracles, to All! Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!