Vaisakhi celebrated in UK Parliament at cross-party gathering

Vaisakhi celebrated in UK Parliament at cross-party gathering

British Indian think tank 1928 Institute and Punjabi diaspora groups City Sikhs and the British Punjabi Welfare Association (BPWA) came together for a new kind of cross-party Vaisakhi celebration in the British Parliament this week.

“City Sikhs and the 1928 Institute are cross party. We work with all political parties within Westminster and across the country,” said City Sikhs Chair Jasvir Singh, who officiated at the sombre ceremony held at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Room.

Kiran Kaur Manku, Co-Chair of the 1928 Institute, said: “It's a real honour to celebrate Baisakhi, the birth of the Khalsa by Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699. Baisakhi celebrates the beginning of the Khalsa and the teachings that accompany this, focussing on equality by proactively removing forms of hierarchy, ego and fear.

“Today is also the Prakash, which roughly translates to the embodiment or birth of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, the ninth who fearlessly fought for the rights of everyone. He was known as the ‘Shield of India’ and actually sacrificed his life for the rights of others. The insightful values and teachings of the Guru and Khalsa are the foundation of the Sikh identity and how we operate. It is these values that we cherish, honour and celebrate today.”

Parliamentarians attending the event included British Sikh Labour MP Tan Dhesi and Labour’s shadow minister for Asia and the Pacific Catherine West, with Baroness Sandy Verma and South Asia Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad among those backing up the event expected to become an annual festive gathering in Parliament.


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Param Singh MBE, Co-Chair of City Sikhs, said: “Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s gift to Sikhism and to humanity was to establish a community where equality was at its core, where women and men were treated the same, and which is willing to step up to protect everyone in society, no matter what their background or beliefs may be. It is these values of the Khalsa that continue to influence Sikhs around the world to date.”

The event concluded with some traditional religious renditions by the Anahad Kirtan Society. Vaisakhi, also referred to as Baisakhi, falls on April 13 and is celebrated around the world over the course of the month marking the start of spring.

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