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Redbridge’s Sikhs at the heart of the Mayor of London’s Vaisakhi celebrations

PUBLISHED: 15:03 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:41 30 April 2018

Atam Academy perform at the Mayor of London's Vaisakhi celebrations. Photo: Raj Ghedu

Atam Academy perform at the Mayor of London's Vaisakhi celebrations. Photo: Raj Ghedu

Archant

From school performances to artist exhibitions, the borough’s Sikh community was at the heart of Mayor of London’s Vaisakhi celebrations this weekend.

More than 18,000 people from across the capital reportedly braved rainy weather to commemorate Vaisakhi in Trafalgar Square on Saturday (April 28).

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi or Vaishakhi, commemorates the transformation of the Sikhs into a family of warrior saints, known as the Khalsa Panth, under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

Twenty five pupils from the Atam Academy, in Barley lane, Little Heath, opened the show with singing and miming and English and Punjabi.

“Every where we go, people want to know who we are,” sang the children, aged between four and seven.

And, as the song reached its crescendo, the chanted: “We are the children of Guru Gobindh Singh Ji!”

Their performance also included a recitation from the writings of Guru Gobind Singh Ji called Deh Shiva Bare Mohe.

“There was a great turnout of parents at the event, considering the weather was slightly damp,” said the school’s co-founder Mankamal Singh.

He also thanked Redbridge council for their help to ensure the children could perform.

Lovepreet Singh Samra, who lives in Mayfields ward, was a member of the committee coordinating the event.

“I am a Redbridge resident and it was important for me to showcase everything the borough has to offer,” said the 35-year-old, adding: “We wanted to take it back to a grassroots, community-led initiative.”

Among the organisations involved was Chardikhala Turban Academy, which hold regular turban tying classes in Ilford.

“They teach people from all walks off life how to put themselves into the shoes of Sikh and what it feels like to wear a turban, which consider a crown,” said Lovepreet.

Lovepreet Singh Samra and his son Akaal Singh Samra, who performed with Atam Academy. Photo: Raj GheduLovepreet Singh Samra and his son Akaal Singh Samra, who performed with Atam Academy. Photo: Raj Ghedu

Ilford’s Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association (SEVA) led the Langar - a free community kitchen.

They stayed up throughout the night preparing food for 10,000 people at Gurdwara Dasmesh Darbar in Manor Park.

Some of the borough’s Sikh residents were involved in performing a Gatka, a traditional marshal sword fighting display, while three Sikh artists also exhibited their work, including Vik Kainth, Inkquisitive and Japh Samra.


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