Texan Sikhs are Part of Your Community: Discover Their History in Texas

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Tony Maples Photography


Texas is a wonderfully diverse land which is reflected in the range of people who call themselves Texans. One example of Lone Star lovers are Sikhs. Sikhism is a religion originating from South Asia in the 15th century, and introduced into the United States during the 19th century. Military service within this group dates back when Bhagat Singh Thind joined the United States Army and served in World War I.

Today, there are about 700,000 Sikhs in the U.S., more than 50,000 Sikhs living in Texas including a large community in Austin, and about 25 million world wide, making it the fifth largest independent religion in the world. Observant Sikhs are often notable by their kesh (uncut hair), covered by a turban, kara (a steel bracelet), kirpan (a religious sword), and kanga (a comb). These are articles of faith representing a Sikh’s commitment to equality, service, and justice.

Texan Sikhs are Part of Your Community: Discover Their History in Texas

Facebook/Hindustan Times Punjab

The earliest known Sikh in Texas was Bishen Singh, an importer of herbs, who was living in Dallas by 1909. Most early arrivals settled around El Paso, working in agriculture and business. In 2015, Sandeep Dhaliwal, a ten-year veteran of the force, became the first Deputy Sherriff in Texas to wear a turban on duty. Tragically, he was shot and killed in 2019 while conducting a routine traffic stop.

Texan Sikhs are Part of Your Community: Discover Their History in Texas

Facebook/Sikh Turban Day

By 2001, the San Antonio community had grown, allowing resources to build a gurdwara (a place of assembly and worship). The San Antonio Sikh Center stands proudly today, along with the Sikh Dharamsal of San Antonio. Read more here about one Sikh family living in San Antonio since 1979. Sikhism is monotheistic, and many similarities exist between Sikhism and mainstream beliefs, such as tolerance, and equality, and with core values like “hard work, spiritual living, humility, community service, standing up for justice and human rights, and defending the defenseless.” Learn more about your neighbors today!