IN PICTURES- ‘Common humanity’ is theme behind Coventry’s poignant Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan parade - The Coventry Observer

IN PICTURES- ‘Common humanity’ is theme behind Coventry’s poignant Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan parade

Coventry Editorial 21st Apr, 2024   0

COVENTRY’S Sikh community gathered for the magnificent annual Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan parade, which this year placed extra significance on the need for us all to focus on our common humanity.

Over 10,000 people lined the streets of Coventry to join the moving celebration, which is held every year to mark Vaisakhi- the founding of the Khalsa or Sikh community.

This years parade also marked the poignant 40th anniversary of the killings of thousands who shared the Sikh religion.

In line with the Sikh philosophy of ‘Vand Ke Shakna’ – or charitable giving – the procession began with a donation ceremony to Coventry and city-based British charities.

The good causes selected to benefit this year included the Army Benevolent Fund, Myton Hospice, the Lily Mae Foundation, the British Heart Foundation and Coventry Haven Women’s Aid, which each received £501.

Cash donated to the charities had been raised by Coventry’s Sikh community.

The procession, or Nagar Kirtan, was led by five Sikhs, the Panj Pyare or beloved ones, dressed in traditional attire, with a ‘Nigara’ and ‘Dhols’, both forms of drums, introducing the parade as it moved through the city.

Swarms of people gathered around the colourful floats as the procession left the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash on Harnall Lane West.

One float contained the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh’s holy scriptures.

Singers and musicians aboard the floats greeted onlookers with beautiful music which could be heard streets away.

More wonderfully decorated floats containing Sikh’s of all ages joined the procession as it turned onto Stoney Stanton Road, as well as vans belonging to  organisations such as the Midland Langar Seva Society.

Free refreshments were handed out throughout the route in line with the Sikh ethos of ‘Seva’ or selfless service.

The procession is due to end back at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash at around 2.30pm, concluding with a Gatka martial arts display by Sikh warriors.

Sikhism was founded in the 1400s by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who emphasised the need to live a simple, honest and hardworking life and said this was the best way to achieve spirituality.

This year’s procession also marked the 40th anniversary of Operation Bluestar.

In June 1984, the Indian Army attacked Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as the Golden Temple, and 41 other Gurdwaras, killing thousands of civilians.

On October 31, 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had ordered Operation Bluestar, was assassinated.

This triggered genocidal killings of Sikh’s around India, especially in the capital city, New Delhi.

A screen paying tribute to some of the victims of Operation Bluestar was put on display on Stoney Stanton Road attached to a vehicle, and the poignant reminder accompanied the congregation for the rest of the procession.

Gurdip Singh, who has long helped to organise the Coventry parade, said the fact similar tragedies are still happening between other communities around the world acts as a reminder to build peace and community spirit by focusing on our common humanity.


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