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“Is the Golden Temple all real gold?” asked Canadian PM

During his recent visit to the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper could not believe that the Golden Temple was all covered with real gold. Harper was so struck by the sight of the resplendent Sikh temple that he asked someone in his entourage whether it was all real gold.

“When the prime minister had his first glimpse of the Golden Temple on that beautiful sunny day, he asked someone next to him: Is it real gold? ‘Yes, it is real gold, sir,’ the person told the prime minister,” says Amritsar-born Dr Birinder Singh Ahluwalia who was one of the eight top Indo-Canadians picked up by the prime minister for his India visit.

Toronto-based Ahluwalia, who runs one of the biggest diagnostic centres in Canada, says, “The Canadian prime minister was thrilled by the golden beauty of the temple and kept looking at it. He paid his obeisance, made an offering of Rs 1,000 and received a siropa.”

Alhuwalia, who moved to Canada more than 25 years ago, said, “There were thousands and thousands of people to see the Canadian prime minister. Seeing this welcome in my hometown, I told his executive assistant (Jeremy Hunt) that the PM is more popular here than the fifth Beatle. There was so much response and energy.”

And this overwhelming welcome for the Canadian prime minister in Amritsar was reported back as “chaos’ by the Canadian journalists accompanying Harper.

“From the viewpoint of the Canadian media, it was chaos, but it was excitement and energy generated by the prime minister’s visit,” added another entourage member and biggest Indo-Canadian landlord Bob Dhillon.

“When the PM came to the Golden Temple, he was treated like a rock star. There were 100,000 people and the energy was overwhelming. The amount of respect the prime minister got there surpassed anything I have seen in my whole life,” the self-made multi-millionaire said.

“Personally, I went to the Golden Temple for the first time in my life, and the irony is that it was the prime minister of Canada who took me there. It was an uplifting spiritual experience for me,” said Calgary-based Dhillon whose Mainstreet Equity company has more than 6,000 rental properties across Canada.

“The sight of tall Nihang Sikhs throwing a security cordon around the Canadian prime minister was just unbelievable,” added the second biggest landlord in Canada.

Dhillon said, “During the state dinner at Hyderabad House, when I told prime minister Manmohan Singh that I am the biggest Indian landlord in Canada, he put his hand on my shoulder said: ‘I am very proud of you.’ I will never forget that.”

(Author Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

November 30, 2009 - Posted by | Government, Politics |

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