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Journey of a priest

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

WHEN Kulwindar Singh made the decision to embark on a journey to Fiji a year ago, he was not too sure whether to make this of thousands of miles journey or not, considering it was going to be his first journey away from his homeland.

Kulwindar grew up the hard way in his hometown of Ludhina City in Punjab, India and it was the encouragement from his mother which had always kept him going despite his father being an alcoholic.

He was only eight years old when his maternal uncle started taking him to India's Golden Temple and this was where his interest in becoming a Sikh priest took root.

And as it so happens, 28 years down the line that Kulwindar is in a foreign country away to spread the Word of God.

He took on the responsibility of his parents when they both died couple of years ago and gave his sisters away in marriage before embarking on his long journey to Fiji a year and a half ago.

The 34-year-old is now a Sikh priest at the Lautoka Sikh temple and he is someone who will greet you with a warm smile upon walking around the streets of Lautoka in his white priest attire and a sword hanging around it which acts as his self-protection.

"It was my mother's dream that her only son becomes a true priest and my father, being an alcoholic in those days once told me that he was going to chase me out of our house," he said.

"I promised my mother I was going to live up to her dreams and I am proud I achieved it today.

"When I was still learning, I used to live with my uncle so when my father went to work, I would sneak home to meet my mother and return home before father returned home."

Kulwindar also acknowledged the great teachings his uncle, Kuldeep Singh, installed in him which inspired him to be a messenger of God.

"Fiji is a very beautiful country so I urge people to love each other, respect each other's religion just like what I have noted ever since setting foot here.

"It is also important for people to know about their history and culture and always share it with others especially with their younger generation.

"I was 20 when I became a baptised Sikh priest and I never thought of going overseas in my life. I knew nothing about Fiji so when the opportunity came up, I started asking around and people said it was just a small island in the Pacific."

Despite his sisters' not agreeing with his idea to come to Fiji, Kulwindar decided to give it a go believing he was going to a place where he would find peace.

When he arrived, Kulwindar was taken away by the way the natives of the land greeted him especially when he walked by the streets of Lautoka (sat shree akal — bula) in the Punjabi language and it touched him. It had never ocurred to him this could happen on a small island in the Pacific.

Kulwindar has never regretted a moment of it and he has found out that his teachings is just what some people in Fiji needed.

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