IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE
of Sikh Organisations Coommemorates the 400th Anniversary
of Guru Arjan’s martyrdom
Unique Event in the History of Religious Tolerance in Britain
On Monday 19th June the Bishops of London and Southwark joined Sikhs in London’s Trafalgar Square to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev. The Minister for the new Department for Communities and Local Government Phil Woolas MP, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Tom Butler and the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres helped Sikh volunteers distribute free cooling drinks to passers by in memory of the death and suffering of Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru who was tortured to death in the searing heat of an Indian summer.
Forced to sit on a hot plate while hot sand was poured over his near naked body, Guru Arjan’s only crime was to be one of the first interfaith pioneers, teaching that no one religion had the monopoly on Truth and that all faiths should be respected.
Dr Indarjit Singh, Editor of the Sikh Messenger and Director of The Network of Sikh Organisations who planned the event said: -
“Handing out cool, refreshing drinks to passers-by is an act of kindness that remembers Guru Arjan’s thirst and suffering while looking to the needs of others, irrespective of their race, colour or creed. “His respect for all faiths has particular relevance for today’s times when the murder of innocents in the name of religion has sadly become all too common. We were delighted that the Anglican and Catholic Bishops of Southwark and the Bishop of London and other religious leaders were able to join us on the anniversary of his martyrdom. Together we can focus on the values of respect, tolerance and understanding and remember the courage of all those who have given their lives in the service of humanity.”
Also attending the
event were the Minister for Communites and Local Government Phil
Wooles MP; Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari, Secretary General of the Muslim
Council of Britain; Anil Bhanot, General Secretary, Hindu Council
UK, Rabbi Alan Plancey of the Cabinet of the Chief Rabbi, The
Very Revd William Noblett Chaplain General of the Prison Service and
Brian Pearce Director of the Interfaith Network UK.
teachers from Guru Nanak School Hayes and Guru Gobind Singh College
Chigwell and Sikh scouts helped distribute water, juice and soft
drinks among the many thousands of visitors and tourists many of
whom were clearly moved by the kindness and generosity of the Sikhs.
Some 15,000 leaflets were handed out explaining the circumstances of
the martyrdom and an outline of Sikh belief. Members of a Polish TV
crew who were filming on the Square said that they were so moved by
what they saw that they felt like converting to Sikhism.
Report by Suzanne
Evans at Aquarius PR on 020 8687 0173 or mobile 07973 149104 or