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SikhRI UK Events Look to Past, Present and Future of Sikh Communities (Sikh RI)

Discussion in 'Sikh Organisations' started by spnadmin, Jul 10, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

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    The Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI) packed a full program of lectures, workshops, seminars, and television and radio shows into a ten-day schedule in the UK from 10-20 June 2010.

    The events began in Glasgow, where Harinder Singh, SikhRI’s chief programming officer, facilitated a seminar at the Gurduara at Otega Street entitled “Rekindling the Sikh Spirit: Ideas for Today and Tomorrow”. The session entreated attendees to observe their thought processes and align their behavior with the fundamental values of equality, justice & compassion taught by the Ten Nanaks.


    In observance of the June invasion of the Darbar Sahib complex by the Indian Army in 1984, Harinder Singh spoke to two packed darbar halls at Central Gurduara and Guru Granth Sahib Gurduara on the topic of “1984: Ghallugara & I”.


    The final program in Glasgow brought together a variety of people involved in gurduara administration, to share in a seminar “Gurduara: Then & Now”, where Harinder Singh provided the historical, organizational, educational and socio-political context of the Gurus’ vision for the gurduara as institutions of learning. He then contrasted this model with the contemporary centers of ritualistic worship that they have commonly become.


    Surender Singh expressed his thoughts, having attended all of the Glasgow programs. “All events were full of new ideas based on gurmat and our Sikh values. We do not realize how important gurduara sahib is for us, and [Harinder Singh] also created a great awareness within the sangat that our gurduaras are not performing the way they should. He also refreshed the 1984 saka which we have all almost forgotten … It was a great experience.”


    Heading then to London, Harinder Singh spoke on Panjab Radio in Hayes, one of the foremost Panjabi-language radio stations in Europe. On air, he addressed the Shahadat of Guru Arjan Sahib with Jasvir Singh on the Chardhi Kala Show, and later spoke on the Bhakdey Masley show with Dr Gurdip Singh Jagbir, providing analysis on current events in Punjab.

    To commemorate the Tercentenary of Khalsa Raj established by Gurbaksh Singh—known more commonly as Banda Singh Bahadur— Harinder Singh spoke at two separate venues. The first event, at Kings College London, was titled “Banda Singh Bahadur: Ruler or Rebel?” and addressed a lecture theatre composed of city-based professionals and university students. The talk provided a conceptual framework for sovereignty in Sikhi, and explored the stormy seven-year rule of the Khalsa beginning in 1708. The session also gave an overview of the leadership provided by Banda Singh Bahadur, ending with his execution in Delhi in 1716. A similarly successful presentation on the topic of “Victory of Khalsa Raj” was held at Ramgharia Gurduara in Slough.


    Reflecting on the seminar at Kings College, Navinder Kaur commented, “For me, the presentation was a fantastic journey of the history of the Sikhs and the Mughal rule. It also highlighted for me how one individual can contribute to a community, not only in terms of humanity, but the beliefs and values that were also incorporated in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude that we can all aspire towards - chardi kala.”


    Similar sentiments were shared by Jaswant Singh on the presentation in Slough, “Tonight proved to be thoroughly insightful; the complex subject matter was made accessible for both the novice and slightly more learned Sikh historian–no mean feat. Another excellent presentation by a very experienced and knowledgeable speaker.”


    In between the London events, Harinder Singh spent a day in Derby, hosting an all-day Saneha workshop, “Sevadar: Becoming an Inspiring Activist”. Over 40 participants, in more than 6 hours of interactive sessions, surveyed the ways in which each of the Ten Nanaks were highly impactful activists in their own right, while also investigating how participants must become more active within their families, gurduaras and local communities in the same spirit in these times. Saneha participant Harvir Kaur commented, “[A] Very enlightening experience that made me think! It made me evaluate myself and think about how I can become more of an activist, but at the same time how to be more in tune with Guru Ji.”


    The final engagement of the UK tour took place at Sikh Missionary Society in Southall where a packed lecture heard Harinder Singh again speak on the topic of “Rekindling the Sikh Spirit”. Mohinder Singh Grewal summed up the sentiments of the attendees, “I found the talk very inspiring … Harinder Singh’s message is genuinely based on Guru Granth Sahib’s teachings”


    Summarizing the outcomes of this series of engagements, Jagdeep Singh, SikhRI UK coordinator, noted, “Over the past 10 days, we have engaged with a wide spectrum of the community on a variety of topics that have strongly resonated with all those who attended. We hope that each of these events serves as a catalyst for the attendees to become more engaged in their local communities. We take great encouragement from the unanimously positive feedback received during all these programs, and aim to build upon this with a series of similar events later this year.”
     
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