Sikh Gurdwara, DC is a place of worship, reflection and community gathering. It is open 7 days a week to people of all faiths, race or ethnicity. In keeping with the Sikh value of Seva – Selfless Service, Sikh Gurdwara, DC hosts The National Library and Museum of Pingalwara. The Pingalwara Charitable Society serves the less fortunate individuals who are sick, disabled, forlorn, suffering and deserted by mankind.
Construction of the Sikh Gurdwara, DC was started in 2002 and was completed in 2005. The Gurdwara was re-established in May of 2013 by Jaswant Sawhney Irrevocable Trust Fund, a non-profit 501(c)/3 organization.
Jaswant Sawhney Irrevocable Trust has a dual mandate. The first mandate of the trust is to collect and send to Pingalwara 100% of all donations collected for the Pingalwara Charitable Society. The trust encourages and solicits tax deductible donations from citizens of Canada and USA for Pingalwara and bares all expenses for the collection and transfer of funds to Pingalwara. The second mandate is to promote college education for students who qualify on the basis of need and merit. The trust also gives two annual awards – The Medical Resident of the year award nominated by The MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and The Nurse of the year award nominated by The Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie, Maryland.
Bhagat Puran Singh Ji (June 4, 1904 – August 5, 1992) was born in Rajewal (Rohno) Ludhiana district, Punjab. Born into a Hindu family, he was given the name Ramjidas as a child. Later, while still a child, he chose to become a Sikh. He was greatly inspired by the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Sikh Gurus. Though he never finished his basic schooling, he became a writer, a (self) publisher, an environmentalist, and a philanthropist. He is perhaps best remembered for the home he founded in Amritsar, India, named Pingalwara, a home which long after his death, is still tending to the castaways of society: the sick, disabled and abandoned forlorn people.
As a young man he decided to dedicate his life to the ‘selfless service of humanity’. He founded Pingalwara in 1947 with only a few patients, the neglected and rejected of the streets of Amritsar. An early advocate of what we today refer to as the ‘Green Revolution’, Bhagat Puran Singh was spreading awareness about environmental pollution, and increasing soil erosion long before such ideas became popular. Pamphlets with his writings on various subjects, such as environmental awareness, were printed on re-used paper and freely distributed.
He was honored in 1979 by the Government of India with the Padma Shri award, given for exceptional and distinguished service in any field.