First Forces' Sikh Prayer Day a Success

February 3, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Defence News

There are currently around 200 Sikhs serving in Britain's armed forces, spread thinly across the three Services. Coming from a religion with a strong sense of community, some Sikh servicemen and women can feel isolated without fellow Sikhs to meet or pray with, so a call went out from some of those serving for a day of prayer and celebration of their faith.

That call was answered by Mandeep Kaur, the Sikh civilian chaplain to the military. Mandeep organised the congregation in celebration of the birthday of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

On Saturday, guests were welcomed to the Ramgarhia Sabha Gurduwara in Earley, near Reading, with tea, samose and jalebian - savoury and sweet Punjabi delicacies. The afternoon was devoted to a series of prayer recitals including traditional Sukhmani Sahib Path and Kirtan hymns.

The formalities came to a close with a concluding prayer and serving of Karah Prasaad, a sacred pudding.

Following the prayers, guests sat down to Langar, a traditional meal prepared and served by the Sikh members of the armed forces. The eating of blessed food after a day of prayer is highly symbolic within the Sikh community, demonstrating that everyone is treated with equality.

The prayer day brought serving Sikhs and their families together from across the country, as well as Germany and Gibraltar.