Keeping America Secure
Gurutej Singh Khalsa
Founder Akal Security, Inc
Gurutej Singh Khalsa Founder Akal Security, Inc
Meeting with Daya Singh
The next morning dawned with mixed feelings. While it signaled the end of an exciting, almost three-month tour that involved meeting some extraordinary people, it also meant that I would soon be headed back to India, to be with my family.
The receptionist informed me over the intercom that Gurutej Singh was waiting for me. ‘I’ll be down in a minute,’ I said.
‘What time is your flight?’ Gurutej asked as we put my bags in the car downstairs.
‘Seven-thirty in the evening,’ I replied.
‘Good. I have fixed a meeting with Daya in the afternoon and you can chat with him,’ Gurutej informed me as we headed towards Espanola. ‘During the day you can be with me, though I’ll be in and out of meetings. Sorry about this.’
‘Coffee or tea?’ asked Daya as I entered his office room, located in a different mobile home.
‘Coffee,’ I replied, adding, ‘Sat Sri Akal. I’m Khushwant Singh.’ ‘Satnam, I’m Daya,’ he said, getting up from the chair and offering me his hand. Daya, unlike Gurutej who was dressed in a polo shirt and jeans and different colored turbans, wore a spotless white tunic and a white turban, typical of the disciples of Harbhajan Yogi.
Daya’s office has more grandeur than Gurutej’s and there are numerous ‘grip and grin’ photos of him with various politicians, including President Bush, former president, Bill Clinton and former vice president, Al Gore.
I could tell that Daya was keen to get down to the topic of discussion as fast as possible, so without exchanging any further pleasantry, I announced the purpose of my visit to Espanola. ‘Akal,’ he said, ‘really started on a very small basis, perhaps based on a dream that Gurutej Singh had, that is to be part of security enforcement. Our being Sikhs was the other motivating factor as we always felt it part of our duty to protect other people and their assets. I had just returned from a trip, which I had taken after quitting my job in the food processing industry. Gurutej had drawn up this plan and the rest is history, as you can see.’ The Sikh appearance, according to Daya, has never been a disadvantage but on the contrary comes in handy in soliciting business. ‘If we are in a room with fifty other contractors, you won’t remember the others, but you will remember us,’ says Daya.
The meeting with Daya lasted about forty minutes, after which I returned to Gurutej’s trailer. He had organised a car to drop me to the airport. ‘Before you go to the airport for your flight to Los Angeles, I have organised a visit at the New Mexico fair where Akal is providing security.’
Some mission Khalsa, was my last thought, as I shook hands with him before we parted.
Gurutej Singh Khalsa has since retired, however, Akal Security continues to grow and provide security to its clients.
The above piece has been extracted from the interviewer’s book Sikhs Unlimitedpublished in 2007.