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June - July 2009
BRITISH SIKH ASSOCIATION VAISAKHI CELEBRATIONS AT THE SAS RADISSON HOTEL LONDON“The soul of India is her secular constitution”, said His Excellency The High Commissioner of India, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee when he attended the glittering Vaisakhi dinner at the SAS Radisson Hotel in London, hosted by the BSA ( British Sikh Association).
He was speaking to the gathering of over 400 dignitaries and guests which included the Shadow Justice Secretary the Rt. Hon Dominic Grieve MP, Baroness Emma Nicholson, Mr Stephen Pound MP, Baroness Sandy Verma, Lord Bikhu Parekh, Lord Mohamad Sheikh, Chairman and Managing Director of the Punjab National Bank Mr. K C Chakarbarty, Prof Colin Green Director of Northwick Park Institute of Medical research, Mr. Asif Ibrahim ( Minister Co ordination ) , Mr Tilak Devasher ( Minister Consular) and Mrs. Monica Mohta ( Director Nehru Centre) to name a few.
His Excellency went on to praise the Sikh Community for their hard work and self reliance and said that wherever they have settled, they have brought glory to their motherland, India.
Mr. T S Sahni President of the BSA welcomed the guests and reminded everybody about the supreme sacrifices paid by the Sikh Gurus to uphold basic human rights.
The Secretary General, Dr. S S Kapoor highlighted the work done by the World Sikh University and Khalsa College which are affiliate with the BSA.
The Chairman, Dr. Rami Ranger MBE said our Gurus neither wanted to divide India nor did they want a Kingdom for themselves. Instead they were against human oppression by religion or the state. Their battles were to uphold human dignity.
The Shadow Justice Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve who has a large number of Sikhs in his constituency praised the contribution made by the Sikhs to the UK in almost every field.
Baroness Emma Nicholson who’s father served in the British Army during the Second World War said that she had learnt one thing from her father – “that it was always good to have the Sikhs on your side. “
Lord Sheikh who has his roots in the holy city of Amritsar said that there was a great deal in common between the teaching of the Sikh religion and Islam.
Baroness Verma praised the concept of “langar “in the Sikh gurdwaras where everyone sat and ate on the floor, symbolizing that everyone was equal in the eyes of God. She also highlighted equality of women in the Sikh religion.
The Rt. Hon. Stephen Pound MP narrated his experiences when he visited Jallian Wala Bagh where innocent men, women and children were massacred and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. He said the first reminded him of the brutality of man and the second the splendor of God.
Lord Bikhu Parekh praised the 10th Guru for his concept of being a Guru as well as a disciple, thereby symbolizing the democratic nature of the Sikh religion.
Mr. K C Chakarbarty said he always looked forward to Vaisakhi for two reasons – to celebrate the birth of the Khalsa and to celebrate the birth of his Bank which was also founded on a Vaisiakhi day itself.
Prof. Colin Green praised Bobby Gerewal, a Sikh for raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for the research into the cure for Cancer and Aids for the Institutes where he is the head.
An award for public service was presented to Mr. Kulveer Singh Ranger, Director of Transport Policy for the Mayor of London.
A cheque of £2001.00 was presented by the Finance Secretary. Mr. HS Sethi to the Sikh Primary School, Southall which was received by Mr. Gurmail Singh Malhi a member of the project.
The guests were entertained with Bhangra by the Suraj group.
The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Hardyal Luther, Vice Chairman of the BSA.