In a sign of growing partnerships between the Cambridge university and Britain’s Sikh community,a prominent gurdwara in London had invited a professor from the varsity to speak to a congregation during Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations.
Professor Martin Daunton,Master of Trinity Hall and a Professor of History,was invited to speak at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Hounslow suburb.
During his speech,Professor Daunton referred to the development of the Cambridge-India partnership and inparticular the importance of the relationship with the Sikh community.
He also recalled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,who was a student at St John’s College,and is now an Honorary Fellow of the College and of the University. There are now scholarships available to Indian students at both undergraduate and graduate level in his name.
Daunton cited the contribution of Inderjit Singh Seehra,Director of Human Resources in Cambridge,in bringing the Shiromani Gurdwara Prandbahak Committee (SGPC) and the University together in a collaboration to fund scholarships for Sikh students.
On 21 July this year a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the SGPC and the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust for funding the higher education of five Sikh postgraduate students a year at the University of Cambridge.
Mohan Singh Nayyer,General Secretary of the Hounslow Gurdwara said the community had been honoured to have been asked to bring the Sikh Holy Book (Guru Granth Sahib) to the university for the traditional prayers (Sahej Path,Shabad Kirtan and Bhog) on the day of the MoU signing.
It is believed that this was the first time in the Cambridge’s 800 years that the Book has visited the University.
The SGPC President Avter Singh Makkar,who was also visiting the UK this weekend and addressed the community in Park Avenue,Southhall and Slough Gurdwara.
He asked for closer ties between the University of Cambridge and the SGPC,and hoped the collaboration could be extended to support other initiatives.