“SIKH IS the thought and Guru is the knowledge, which it has to imbibe,” believes Gurpreet Singh, president, Global Sikh Council (GSC), an organisation that is ‘The Voice of Sikhs Around The World’. A global Sikh body formed to address various issues of Sikhs around the world, promote art, culture, language and initiate dialogues and discussions on various concerns of the Sikhs, this year GSC’s forthcoming convention and annual general meeting from July 4 to 7 in Langenthal\Geneva is dedicated to Guru Nanak’s philosophy of peace and concept of universal brotherhood.
To commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak (1469), the first guru of the Sikhs, World Council of Churches, Geneva, in collaboration with the GSC will organise a Christian-Sikh dialogue in Geneva on July 5, with the dialogue focusing on the theme ‘Pursuing Peace in a Pluralistic World’.
The theme of peace, explains Chandigarh-based Singh, is intrinsic to the Christian and Sikh faith traditions and the conference will adopt a holistic understanding of peace which is intrinsic to the Christian and Sikh faith traditions, bearing in mind that peace without justice is incomplete. The relevance of focusing on the theme of peace in a time such as this cannot be understated in a turbulent time such as this.
The growth of xenophobia fuelled by religious fundamentalism, the mixing of politics and religious bigotry and the increasing atrocities on religious minorities continue to remind people of faith of the need to redouble our efforts towards peace making. This encounter, hopes Singh, will be a modest effort to foster a new partnership that can effectively decipher the signs of the times and offer responses which are courageous and committed.
This will be the first time that the World Council of Churches will be engaging in a formal bilateral dialogue with the Sikhs and the hope is that this will be the first step in a long process of walking and working together towards justice and peace.
The programme will include speakers sharing their views on peaceful co-existence in post-modern contexts, challenges for peaceful co-existence, peace building through service beyond borders, using arts and social media for promoting peace and challenges for Christians and Sikhs to pursue peace in a pluralistic world.
“The city council will also organise an inter-faith meeting in Zurich, with each faith projecting their philosophy and as part of it, we will tie turbans on five young Sikhs. All faiths have the same message to give.”
The Annual General Meeting of GSC (July 4 to 7) will begin at Gurdwara Sahib Langenthal, Bern, with speakers from various faiths coming together on a common platform to talk of Guru Nanak’s various philosophies. This will be followed by invitees speaking on the role of Sikh women and their contributions in the world, legacy of Guru Nanak, ecological concerns, issues of importance to the Global Sikh Community and GSC. “We will be approaching the UN to name this year as year of Universal Brotherhood and this effort should initiate many conversations.”