Sikhs celebrate at UK Parliament

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Parliament Building, venue for the event

On Thursday, 20th November 2008 from 4pm to 6pm, a celebration was held at the Members Dining Room at the House of Commons to mark the Tercentenary of The Guru Granth Sahib. Many people of all different faiths and none joined in to celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of the Guruship of the Sikh Holy Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib at the House of Commons. The event was at the invitation of David Amess who is the current Conservative Member of Parliament for Southend West, is a British politician.

Dr Indarjit Singh, Sikh speaker at the event

The evening began with a Indian classical musical recitation and the singing of a Shabad (hymn) from the Guru Granth. This was followed by short speeches by some prominent guests from all the different faiths. There were messages from Bishop of London – Right Reverend Dr Richard Chartres, Bishop of Birmingham – The Right Reverend John Urquart, Tony Blair, and Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer – representing the Chief Rabbi and The Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Those representing other communities included Lord Sheikh for the Muslims, Nitin Palan for the Hindus, Seelawimala Nayaka Thera representing the Buddhist community as The Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain, Marilyn Mason for the Humanists, Dr Noshir Avari for the Zoroastrian community, and many others.

It was a well attended meeting and included about 120 people of non-Sikh background comprising of academics, politicians, educationalists, religious leaders from different faith communities and captains of industry. Dr Indarjit Singh and Mota Singh QC gave speeches outlining the importance of the day to Sikhs and the world. All the speeches conveyed the unique nature of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and its universal message related to ethical framework for a community of diverse beliefs. Messages were also received from large number of other people, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, and Most Rev Dr Idris Jones.

David Amess, MP, the host of this event

The purpose of this event was to bring awareness of this important landmark in the Sikh calendar and bring knowledge of the multi-faith message of Sikhism to all. Also, the event managed to influence strategists, policy makers, and to create an environment that empowers the young with Sikh ideals. Sikh youth were well represented, making up about 40% of the Sikh contingent of about 70 people.

The celebrations were covered briefly on television, in some of the national daily newspapers, and some of those that were at the event have relayed their experiences on minority radio channels. In addition, there is a documentary in the making related to this and previous programs related to such celebrations. Finally, some of this material will end up on various interactive resources related to faith education.

  • Those that want more details, pictures, or a transcript of the speeches may contact Tirath Singh on [email protected].
  • Photos by sundeep sitara email: [email protected] website:

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