On the 30th September, the British Sikh Association enjoyed a special dinner onboard HMS VICTORY, which was jointly hosted by the Admiral Sir George Zambellas, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff and Dr Rami Ranger MBE, Chairman of the British Sikh Association.
The event celebrated the proud historical links the British Armed Forces have with the Sikh community going back 160 years. Starting with drinks and canapés on the Poop Deck, the guests also enjoyed the music of the Royal Marines Band.
On the evening, Admiral Sir George Zambellas said:
“It is a pleasure to host the British Sikh Association on board HMS VICTORY. We have gathered aboard a great maritime platform to celebrate the military history shared between the UK and India, founded in the ethos of courage and dedicated public service, with the values and standards and character of our war fighting spirit.
In doing so, we reflect on the extraordinary contribution that the Indian community has made. A contribution to the values and the nature of our modern society, through hard work, diligence, honour and commitment to the Crown but also an extraordinary contribution to our shared history”.
The British Sikh Association (BSA) advocates the recognition of the human race as one and encourages inter-faith dialogue to improve social cohesion in Britain through organising functions, seminars, talks and debates with people of other faiths. It believes all those who live in Britain must move in the same direction to create a harmonious society.
The BSA also raises funds for worthy causes including Combat Stress an Armed Forces Charity which helps mentally traumatised soldiers.
At the event, Dr Ranger said:
“It is an honour and privilege for the Sikh community to be present in the very vessel which housed Lord Nelson and from where the Battle of Trafalgar was won. It was Lord Nelson who coined the immortal words “England expects every man will do his duty” and it is a strong sense of duty which runs deep in the Sikh ethos and more so to never turn the other cheek when one sees injustice being meted out. The British armed services have a proud reputation, the world over, for being a dutiful and just force and it is one that has earned Britain a place at the top table in the world.”
The Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Mr Ranjan Mathai spoke of his happiness with strengthening Indo-British relations and was pleased to have had an Indian warship berth in London for the first time. The High Commissioner added that it was the best event he had attended as it had given the opportunity to circulate with both civilians and members of the Armed Forces.