Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Meeting at the Tigers, early evening, to discuss the Sikh text in the series currently under development, "Engaging with Leicester's Faith Communities". Representatives of all Leicester's gurdwaras have been invited, Head Teachers (or Deputy Heads) of the six primary schools and four secondary schools with the biggest numbers of Sikh pupils in the city and a small number of others identified as stakeholders.

More specifically, the major topic for discussion is the wearing of the kirpan (one type of which is illustrated in the photo above) in Leicester schools and colleges. The steering group (of which I am a member) have gathered advice and information from other local authorities (e.g. Bedford, Birmingham, Redbridge) who have gone through a similar process. We want our text to contain intelligent and definitive guidelines that can be followed in the city. There's an hour-and-a-half of mature, trusting and friendly consultation among around 25 of us and I believe everyone went away happy. One good result was that more people wanted to have a read of the whole text before it is approved for publication. More work for those of us involved in writing and editing it, but it definitely brings a better sense of engagement all round - and that, in itself, is one of the intended results of creating this series of texts.

I'm not going to try and present the content of our discussion here. That would not do justice to the topic or to the quality of contributions that were made round the table. I count myself privileged to be involved in this kind of work with such people.


  1. These sort of discussions can be enlightening -they help us to understand where we have reached on our spiritual travels. They remind us of our beginnings and of how we wish to shape our children's future. May Wahaguru help us to do what is good for all.

  2. To have these kind of discussions is enlightening for the future of the whole community. By understanding the details of other religions gives a greater understanding and tolerance to all. May these continue and grow throughout all faiths, so that we become a cohesive city of enlightened individuals working towards a safe and happy place for our children to grow up in.
    Blessings of your choosing to all.

  3. Your articles are always lively and engaging, and so interesting that I have even saved some on my computer. In one of them you mentioned Arthur and Barbara Winner, Bahai members who spoke at an interfaith event. I knew Arthur years ago, a photographer in Grenada and a Bahai member, an extremely nice person. I live abroad and am trying to contact Arthur as I want to publish one of his photographs but don't want to do so without his copywright permission. If you have his email address I would be very grateful if you could either let me have it or send him mine: ? If you can't, then could you send me the snail mail address of Leicester's Bahai church? Maybe I could contact him through it. Blessings and thank you so much for your help.