Prime minister Theresa May has hailed the “exceptional” contribution of British Sikhs in the nation’s economy, charity and armed forces as the community marked the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh.
Describing the occasion of Prakash Parv as a “very special anniversary”, she said the occasion highlighted values of equality, respect and fairness, and helping those less fortunate.
She said in her message on Friday (January 6): “Time and again I have seen these values put into practice, from visiting gurdwaras to attending the Sikh war memorial in Derby. Indeed, when we celebrate Vaisakhi soon, we will be reminded once again how the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji enrich our wider society.
“This anniversary is also a chance to remember that British Sikhs have made and continue to make an exceptional contribution to business, professions, charity and our armed forces.
“So may I take this opportunity to wish all those celebrating a very blessed and happy Gurpurab.”
The new Indian high commissioner to the UK, Y K Sinha, deputy high commissioner Dinesh K Patnaik and other senior officers of the Indian high commission in the UK also joined Sikh devotees in the UK on Thursday (January 5) in prayers at the historic Shepherds Bush Gurdwara Sahib, the oldest gurudwara in Europe.
The high commissioner was presented with a Siropa by the Gurudwara Committee on the occasion.
While paying homage to Guru Gobind Singh ji, Sinha referred to the Sikh Guru’s “noble qualities and his sterling contribution to humanity”.
He also recalled how his parents, from his early childhood, instilled in him great reverence for the teachings of the Guru and how he took great pride in the fact that he hailed from Patna, the city that was the birth place of the 10th Sikh Guru.
Sinha announced at a special musical Gurbani event at India House in London that India will organise a series of events across Britain to celebrate the anniversary.
The commemorative event included participants from the British Punjabi community and other representatives of the Indian diaspora.
“This occasion provides us the perfect opportunity to introspect, and to work towards building a better, happier and more united world,” Sinha said.
Similar commemorative events will take place around the UK in 2017, backed by prominent British Sikh organisations.