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DMU joins worldwide celebrations for 550th anniversary of Sikh founder's birth


A touring photo exhibition that marks the 550th birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith, is being hosted at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) this week as part of year-long celebrations around the world.

The display, which will be showcased at Trinity Chapel from today (Tuesday 8) to Friday 11 October, celebrates the life and philosophy of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, with contributions from experts on Sikhism that highlight the founder’s core values and the relevance of his messages in the 21st century.

Guru Nanak 550 celebrations (6)

Shri Manmeet Singh Narang, Minister (Coordination) High Commission of India in London, and Ms. Happy Guptan Consul (Community Affairs) of India in Birmingham, officially opened the exhibition yesterday (Monday 7 October) in the presence of local Sikh dignitaries, members of the business community and representatives from other faiths.

There was also a commemorative tree planting on the university campus, led by Interim Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr Simon Oldroyd.

Commemorartive tree planting for 550th anniversary of birth of Sikh founder (1)

Ms. Happy Guptan said: “It is with great pleasure that we are bringing this exhibition to De Montfort University, offering the people of Leicester an opportunity to come together and reflect on the significance of Guru Nanak’s life and philosophy.

“We have delved into both written sources and into oral history to retell some much-recounted episodes from Guru Nanak’s lifetime – from his childhood and incredible journeys across South Asia and into the Middle East, to his final years in the Punjab, where he founded the Sikh faith.”

Resham Singh Sandhu MBE, the former High Sheriff of Leicestershire who now heads up the county’s Sikh Welfare and Cultural Society, has been involved in the organising of the event.

Resham Singh Sandu MBE, Chair of the Leicestershire Sikh Welfare and Cultural Society

He said: “We regularly celebrate our Gurus in Sikh temples but we do not always get the opportunity to talk to people from other religions, so this is a fantastic opportunity to share the message of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji with a wider community.

“His message encourages a universal brotherhood – it encourages honesty, righteousness, equality, sharing with people in need and showing compassion. His message can help us all with the challenges we face in everyday life.”

Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in 1469 AD in the village of Rai Bhoe Talwandi, now the site of Gurudwara Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus. The last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, said that there would be no more Gurus after him and Sikhs would be guided by the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib.

DMU-550th Anniversary-4885

Resham added: “This is a special exhibition that we won’t see in Leicester again and DMU embraces diversity in all of its initiatives, so it is a very fitting venue.”

The exhibition, which has toured selected cities across the UK, has also been chosen for a showcase at the European Parliament headquarters in Brussels.

DMU’s Interim Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr Simon Oldroyd said: “Being based in Leicester, one of the UK’s most multicultural cities, we take great pride in welcoming students from diverse backgrounds and this is highlighted in the recognition we have received for encouraging social inclusion.

Dr Simon Oldroyd, Ms. Happy Guptan and Resham Singh Sandhu MBE

“It is therefore an honour to be hosting this exhibition to mark the 550th birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, which we hope will bring people from all cultures and religions together, and create a better understanding of Sikhism.”

The photo exhibition will be open to the public between 10:30am and 3:30pm at Trinity House Chapel at DMU, from Tuesday 8 to Friday 11 October 2019. For more information click here.

Posted on Tuesday 8th October 2019

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