The British Sikh Association celebrates Vaisakhi in
style. Over 300 guests attended this glittering event
which started with traditional Bhangra dance by the
group “Baharain Punjab Dian”. Amongst those who attended
included Lord Sheikh, Mr. Virendra Sharma MP, Dr.
Ashraf Chohan, MPA Punjab Assembly, Pakistan, and
Veteran Marathon Runner Mr. Fauja Singh, now 97 years
Secretary General, Dr. Sukhbir Singh Kapoor welcomed
the guests and said in his introduction that
Interfaith interactivity is integral to the teachings
of the Sikh Religion. Its founder, Guru Nanak Dev
Ji preached the Unity of God and Fellowship of Humankind.
All Sikh Gurus instructed Sikhs to join in the spirit
of understanding, friendship and love for all other
Dr. Rami Ranger MBE, Chairman, said that religion
now has a new meaning in this ever shrinking world
where we are increasingly becoming interdependent
on people from different faiths in order to lead our
lives. Hardly a day goes by when we do not deal with
people who are not from our faith. We all love our
religion like we love our parents whether they are
poor or rich, perfect or not so perfect. In the times
of our need we turn to religion as we turn to our
parents. As time goes by, we develop a unique bond
and relationship with our faith as we do with our
parents. Once we start respecting other faiths, we
automatically attract respect for our faith. We
have no choice in which religion we are born to, but
we do have a choice how we treat each other.
President Mr. TS Sahni said that the creation of Khalsa
(Saint Soldiers) by the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh ji
in 1699 was a direct result of the continued injustice,
intolerance, suppression, exploitation, plunder, bloodshed
and pointless destruction by foreign invaders and
unending conflicts between various kingdoms and clans
within India and the indignities of caste divisions
of the 15th Century.
The Guest of Honour the Rt. Hon. Tony McNulty MP,
Minister at the Home Office, in charge of Security
and Counter Terrorism said that we must look forward
and not back in order to enjoy the benefits of modern
life. We can either perish in hate or prosper in love,"
he said and acknowledged the massive contribution
made by NRIs, particularly Sikhs, to the UK. In
Britain we live under a rule of law where we are all
equal regardless of our faith. Any country using religion
systematically in order to discriminate against a
section of her population cannot progress normally.
Dr. Ashraf Chohan MPA, Member of Punjab Assembly,
said he is in favour of easy access granted to Hindu
and Sikh pilgrims wishing to visit their places of
worship in Pakistan. As a Muslim, he could understand
the wishes of his fellow Muslims to have easy access
to Holy Mecca for their peace of mind. Similarly,
Hindus and Sikhs should be able to visit their place
of worship in Pakistan at will. He informed the audience
that a motorway is being planned linking Wagha to
Nankana Sahib, the birth place of the founder of the
Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Lord Sheikh who has roots in the Holy city of Amritsar
praised the way Sikhs invite all faiths to their Gurdwaras
and treat them equally. Mr. Virendra Sharma MP who
has more Sikhs in his constituency of Southall than
any other Member of Parliament also praised the outstanding
contribution of Sikhs in Britain.
Special Awards were presented to Ms. Teji Singh for
promoting Asian culture in the mainstream Media and
also to Mr. Ravi Chand, Head of Diversity at the Home
office for his services to the community.
Mr. Bobby Grewal, Chairman India Association was presented
a cheque of £1000 by the Finance Secretary Mr. H.S.
Sethi to support his walk from the Scottish Parliament
to the British Parliament on 4th June 08
to raise money for the research in to the cure of
Bowel Cancer in Britain.
The vote of thank was given by Dr. Daljit Kaur Maudgil.
The evening ended with dinner and dance.
Chairman Dr. Rami Ranger MBE & President Mr. T.S.