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The most common narrative that is shared about Vaisakhi Day is a 300 year-old first-hand account from a person who was known as a spy. He wrote a letter to the Emperor in 1699, giving his personal account of what happened that day, in dramatic and somewhat gruesome detail.

Given that many of the manuscripts and scribed accounts from the Sikh perspective were destroyed at the time, we live with the danger of a single story. I am not a scholar, and so Sikh research organizations help us to put historical evidence into perspective and they give us space for personal reflection.

When we consider Vaisakhi we often only associate it to the northern region of Panjab. The five seeds (Panj Pyaray) in The Garden of Peace traveled to Anandpur from all compass points, perhaps reminding us that our heritage is rooted in the earth and our mindsets need to be open to different perspectives. We are responsible for not only working towards building up our own communities but also being committed to building a world that is sustainable for all – Sarbat da Bhalla. That’s the root of our story.

The Garden of Peace was inspired by the big ideas shared on that Vaisakhi day in 1699. Instead of reaching for non-fiction books about the Sikh religion, The Garden of Peace offers an accessible resource to share with all communities, whether they identify as diverse or not, about what is at the root of our truth.

As Ebony Elizabeth Thomas states,”It’s not just kids of color, kids from the margins who need diverse literature and media. It’s all kids who need all stories about all kinds of people.”

The Garden of Peace shares the parallel struggle between nature and human beings, a story that we can all still relate to today. It is a story for culturally relevant classrooms and educators interested in social justice.

In the back matter, you will find an Author’s Note, which gives context to the state of human rights at the time, and why the rise of a Khalsa Nation was necessary. It also provides insight about the colours indigo and saffron, and answers why the Dastaar (Sikh turban) became an identifying article of the Khalsa Nation.

Why do all Sikhs have a common last name? Read The Garden of Peace to get to the root of our story.

Happy Vaisakhi!

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