is indeed a great honour for me to be invited to speak to you today. I
thank your President, the Executive Committee and all of you for inviting
my wife and me to share in the celebration of one of the most important
events in the Sikh calendar.
years ago as crowds gathered to celebrate the spring festival of Vaisakhi,
Guru Gobindh Singh emerged from his tent, sword in hand, and asked for any
Sikh willing to give his life for his faith, to join him in his tent.
hesitation five Sikhs responded to the challenge! In a simple initiation
ceremony “amrit” was sprinkled on the “five beloved” first members of a new
community of equals – KHALSA.
Guru Gobindh Singh gave the five Khalsas the
symbols by which the Sikhs are recognised today! The Guru urged the
men to change their name to Singh – meaning Lion, and the women to Kaur
meaning a Princess.
was the significance of this initiation? What was the dream of Guru
Gobindh Singh? What were his aims and objectives? What was his strategy?
Guru’s father, Teg Bahadur, was beheaded
for defending the right to freedom of religious beliefs of the Hindus.
Voltaire was inspired to write: “I may not believe
in what you say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it” Therefore, Guru Gobindh Singh understood well the
virtue of steely resolve, saintly temperament, non intimidation and the
right of freedom of belief. He was determined to highlight the importance
of the need to stand up and be counted, whenever required, in support of
need to stand up and be counted
is as important today as it was 300 years ago! In British politics today
it is important for members of ethnic communities to stand up and be
counted! This means that men and women of all ages and backgrounds must
play a full part in the socio-political life of this country.
young or old, can reach any height in British politics today! Join
political associations in your areas whatever your political persuasion
may be; participate fully in the activities of these Associations; stand
for elections for positions in their Executive Committees; stand as
candidates for the Local Government elections, for Parliament at
Westminster and in Brussels.
must not wait to be invited – as no invitations will come. You must take
the initiative, be motivated and determined to succeed.
are not just Sikh – you are British as well as Sikh. You should be
confident and proud to play your part in the economic and political life
of your country. As we celebrate Vaisakhi today, let us remember what Guru
Gobindh Singh said 300 years ago: Be ready to stand up and be counted!