On Friday 8th November 2019, City Sikhs was very proud to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji with a landmark event at London’s iconic City Hall. It was the very first time that City Hall has marked Guru Nanak’s life in this manner. The event focussed on the famous Udasis (journeys) of the Guru across Asia and the Middle East and the interfaith interactions that he had during those travels.
The interfaith speakers on the evening were Dr Deesha Chadha from the Hindu Forum for Britain and the Faiths Forum for London, Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi from the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society, and Rev Dr John Parry from the Interfaith Centre for London. As the event took place on the eve of Inter Faith Week, the Assistant Director of the Inter Faith Network of the UK, Dr David Hampshire, spoke about the significance of the anniversary Sikhs across the world.
The keynote speaker at the event was the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who spoke about the importance of the 550th anniversary as well as the relevance of the Guru’s philosophy and teachings in the present day. The Chair of City Sikhs, Jasvir SIngh OBE, presented the Mayor with a book entitled ‘Mantra Art’ by Dr Juss Kaur, an artist based in Canada. Published by Kashi House, the book was accompanied by an exhibition of Dr Kaur’s intricate paintings inspired by the Sikh concept of oneness.
Kirtan (Sikh spiritual music) was performed by members of the Raj Academy, a world renowned institution which specialises in reviving the musical traditions from the times of the Gurus. The kirtan involved beautiful recitations of verses from the Sikh scriptures which mesmerised the diverse audience of over 250 people.
The evening was a wonderful celebration to mark five and a half centuries since the birth of the founder of the Sikh faith, bringing together people from various faith communities and those of no faith in the memory of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.