Entrepreneur-philanthropist donates Chaur Sahib to Takanini Gurdwara

Venkat Raman
Auckland, April 13, 2023

One of the most successful business families in New Zealand has announced the donation of a pair of ‘Golden Chaur Sahib’ for use at Sri Kalgidhar Sahib Gurdwara located in the South Auckland suburb of Takanini this week.

Indra and Manasa Sirigiri, respectively Executive Chairman and Director of Link2 Group of Companies said that their family has been involved in the service of various communities since their early days in Hyderabad, India and since their arrival in New Zealand 26 years ago.

“We are in people’s business with our staff accounting for varied ethnicities. We have been privileged to be associated with the Sikh community and we are privileged to have the opportunity of serving them by donating a pair of Golden Chaur Sahibs which will accompany the Guru Granth Sahib, the Wahe Guru and the most important tradition of Sikhism,” Mr Sirigiri said.

He said that the thought of donating a pair of Golden Chaur Sahibs (gold handles) has been with the family for a long time but it was only in recent months that the dream became a reality.

“We visit Gurdwaras regularly and we draw inspiration from the Priests, officials managing the Sikh Temples and most importantly the volunteers who give their time in the service of the community and people from other ethnicities. With the Golden Chaur Sahib, we feel closer to the sanctity of Sikhism. I am happy that our son Rahul Sirigiri and daughter Somya and their families also consider promoting community welfare and social service through acts of philanthropy is a form of worship of God,” he said.

About the Chaur Sahib

Chaur Sahib is an implement normally found next to the Manji Sahib where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is placed during the day within a Gurdwara’s Darbar Sahib (Main Hall).

The Chaur is used to fan the Granth as a sign of reverence and respect for the scriptures.

The Chaur is usually constructed from yak hair mounted in a wooden, silver or gold handle. The Sevadar (volunteer) respectfully waves the Chaur Sahib above the Guru Granth Sahib as a sign of respect and dedication.

It is regarded as seva (service) of very high calibre for the Guru and most Sikhs at some point undertake this seva at their local Gurdwara. This seva shows reverence for the message carried by the Guru (Gurbani) and humility (Nimrata) for the word of the Guru. When the Sevadar waves the Chaur Sahib, he or she would silently recite the Gurmantar, Waheguru. So he or she not only performs seva but also undertakes Simran (Remembrance) at the same time. Both Simran and Seva form the foundation of Sikhism.

During the time of the first Ten Gurus of Sikhism, this tradition was born for various reasons. It was common practice in Punjab for the younger members of the family to perform seva to their elders by waving fans during summer to create a breeze to cool the person and also to keep flies away. During this earlier period, the Chaur was made of peacock feathers or wood and canvas and created a good airflow when waved.

In the modern world, with the advent of air conditioning and other cooling systems, the movement of air is not as important as the seva element, which has an overriding role. The Sikhs treat the Sri Guru Granth Sahib as a “Living Guru” and so all the traditions that would be accorded to a Human Guru are accorded to the Sacred Scriptures.

About Guru Granth Sahib

The Guru Granth Sahib is the central Holy Religious Scripture of Sikhism, regarded by Sikhs as the final, sovereign and eternal Guru, following the lineage of the Ten Gurus.

The Guru Granth Sahib is an anthology of prayers and hymns. The subject of Guru Granth Sahib is truth – How to become a person of truth or an ideal person.  As the Holy Book states in the ‘Mool Mantra,’ God is the Ultimate Truth and one has to cultivate those qualities, which are associated with Him, to be like Him.

During the time of the first Ten Gurus, the Sangat (congregation) and Sevadar who came from afar to see the Gurus wanted to be close to the Gurus and listen to their advice and guidance (Shabad). They would sit near the Guru, listen to his words of wisdom and perform Chaur Seva.

About Takanini Gurdwara

The Takanini Gurdwara which house Sir Kalgidhar Sahib, is a sprawling complex covering almost 12 acres of land, stated to be one of the largest in the world.

Then Prime Minister Helen Clark inaugurated the Gurudwara on March 13, 2005 and Indian Newslink marked the occasion with a 12-page Special Feature.

Sixteen years later, on March 21, 2021, then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern inaugurated the

impressive, 5.6-acre Sports Complex within the Sri Kalgidhar Sahib Gurdwara marking another resplendent chapter in the history of Sikhs in New Zealand.

The multi-million dollar facility, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the presence of her Cabinet colleagues, Members of Parliament, community leaders and ordinary New Zealanders, made a bold Statement: It was not only the fulfilment of an ambition that spanned some 15 years but also established a unique landmark in the Southern Hemisphere, rivalling the best in the world.

About 25,000 men, women and children are reported to have attended the Opening Day festivities throughout the day.

The Supreme Sikh Society, which owns and manages Sir Kalgidhar Sahib Gurdwara, had completed the Sports Complex Project about a year ago but held back the inauguration because of Covid-19 and its resultant lockdown.

Daljit Singh (INL Photo)

World-Class Facilities

The Society’s Spokesperson Daljit Singh said that the Sports Complex has a large Soccer field which has been approved as of international standard by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which means that major events can be held here.

“Our Sports Complex can host many other games, including Hockey. Our facilities include Basketball, Netball and Volleyball Courts, four Running Tracks, Two Cricket Pitches, Kabaddi grounds and much more. The entire field has floodlights and an in-built sound system. As well as parking space for 200 cars (in addition to 250 car park facility on the other side), the Complex has a ten-metre high mesh fence and two water bores with treatment plants,” he said.

The current seating capacity is limited but the Society is shortly commencing work to build a grandstand that can seat up to 2000 people.

The sprawling Sports Complex is the result of the sweat and toil of a small group of people with large hearts, reaching out to a large number of people with equally large hearts; and the union of minds and deeds giving birth to an impressive and function-built facility.

We were there, as always, lending a hand of support to the people of the Sikh community, for, together, we have strived to foster its goal of communal harmony and peaceful co-existence through goodwill and understanding.

About Indra Sirigiri

Indra Indra Shekar Sirigiri, Executive Chairman of the Link2 Group of Companies, is an Award-Winning corporate head and a successful entrepreneur.

Born in Hyderabad into a family dedicated to the teaching profession, discipline, self-respect and the penchant to share knowledge and information were his natural traits. Completing his education in Civil Engineering with a speciality in Architecture and Architectural Designs, Mr Sirigiri gained experience in Town Planning and established his own professional practice.

Migrating to New Zealand in 1997 with his wife and a young family, he worked in the print industry as Office Coordinator. A year later, he established his own enterprise to provide a series of service solutions.

Link2 Services was incorporated as a company in 2000 with one full-time and one part-time staff. With dedication, hard work, honesty and integrity as attributes, the company has been growing from strength to strength. Today, Link2 Group comprises three companies (Link 2 Services, Link2 Solutions and Link2 Recruitment), of which he is the Chairman and Managing Director. With a combined staff complement of more than 300, the Group provides employment solutions to major national companies in the logistics, manufacturing, wholesale, retail and food industries.

Promoting healthy employee relations, business ethics and community service, Mr Sirigiri received the Supreme Business Award at the Indian Newslink Business Awards in 2016, in addition to many other category awards, The Best Employer of Choice Award in 2019 and a Special Commemoration Award (along with Mrs Sirigiri) in 2022.

The Link 2 Group also won the Best of Best Westpac Award.

Indra and his family comprising his wife, children and grandchildren live in Auckland.

About Manasa Sirigiri

Women of Indian origin have achieved remarkable success in the corporate world and as owners and operators of small, medium and large enterprises. They have successfully established and run enterprises that are today leaders in their chosen field of activity and become a source of inspiration for others.

Among them is Manasa Sirigiri of Auckland.

A citation at our Business Awards 2019 described Manasa Sirigiri as a ‘visionary,’ and her success has been driven not by academic qualifications but also by the pursuit of excellence.

As the Founder of Link2 Services, Mrs Sirigiri invested hard work while her husband brought his experience in business both as an employer and an employee to determine the sort of company they wanted Link2 to be: one that works hard for its customers and that treats employees with respect.

Over the past 23 years, the Link2 Group has been acknowledged for good governance and management principles in New Zealand.

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