Birmingham celebrates 550th birth anniversary of founder of Sikh faith

Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith.

The University of Birmingham is hosting five days of celebration to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith.

Sikhs and non-Sikhs around the globe will celebrate the landmark date and Birmingham, one of the most diverse cities in the UK, is marking the anniversary from 7 to 11 August with celebrations that are open to all communities and people of all faiths and none.

Located around the iconic clock tower on the University’s Edgbaston campus, the five days include: continuous prayer recital, educational symposia, exhibitions, inter-faith dialogue and activities for children and young people. Blessed vegetarian meals (Langar) will be provided free to visitors throughout the event.

The international celebrations are being organised by Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) working with the University of Birmingham.

Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham, said: “The University of Birmingham has an excellent track record of successful engagement with its local and regional communities.

“We are delighted to be working with GNNSJ and other Sikh and community organisations to host the auspicious 550th anniversary celebrations at the heart of our campus in honour of the founder of the Sikh faith.

“The five-day event is an excellent opportunity for all communities to come together to learn about the life and legacy of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.”

Gur Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in November 1469 in Talwandi, Punjab, India (now known as Nankana Sahib, Punjab, Pakistan).

The celebratory event is supported by Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Combined Authority and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands.

Eminent academics; faith practitioners; faith leaders; musicians; singers and senior executives from private, public and voluntary sector organisations from around the globe will be contributing to the symposium, seminars, workshops and performances.

The chairman of GNNSJ, Bhai Sahib Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia commented: “The 550th anniversary celebrations will illuminate many dimensions of Guru Nanak’s teachings, life and legacy. The event will be an historic opportunity to rediscover and apply Guru Nanak’s teachings, to generate new possibilities for transforming our personal and collective lives and the lives of the future generations."

For more information visit the website.

For interview enquiries and photos, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)121 414 8254. For out of hours media enquiries, please call: +44 (0) 7789 921 165

Notes to editors:

  • Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) is centred at the Gurudwara, which is based on Soho Road in Handsworth. The work of GNNSJ has resulted in the development of the Nishkam Group of Organisations. This group includes a civic centre, educational institutions (such as Nishkam Nursery, Primary and Secondary Schools, as part of the wider Nishkam Schools Trust), and the Nishkam Healthcare Centre. The aim of the Nishkam Group is to embed virtues and values within all areas of society.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The University established its India Institute in January 2018. The Institute brings Birmingham and India closer together to deliver impactful research, create innovative education initiatives and extend the University’s influence across the globe.
  • The University’s relationship with India began in 1909 with the first cohort of Indian students attending the University to study for degrees in Mining and Commerce. Since then, the University has provided education to many outstanding Indian alumni.