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Sikhs march from Barking in Nagar Kirtan procession

PUBLISHED: 12:39 07 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:56 07 September 2015

Nagar Kirtan procession from Barking to Seven Kings. Picture: Sandra Rowse

Nagar Kirtan procession from Barking to Seven Kings. Picture: Sandra Rowse

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Thousands of Sikhs lined the streets to celebrate the first compilation of holy scriptures.

Devotees sang hymns and marched from gurdwara Singh Sabha London East, North Street, Barking, to its Seven Kings branch in High Road, Seven Kings, for the gurdwara’s 16th annual Nagar Kirtan procession – Nagar translates as neighbourhood and Kirtan means singing of hymns.

Yesterday’s procession, which went through Ilford Lane, celebrates the Guru Granth Sahib Ji – which Sikhs see as “far more than just holy scriptures”.

“We see the living embodiment of the Sikh gurus within the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which was compiled more than 400 years ago,” said the gurdwara’s treasurer Mankamal Singh.

Speaking of the procession, Mankamal said: “It was exhausting but it was good – there was a great turnout and the was great weather too.”

He said the event, which saw volunteers handing out food and refreshments on the streets, was about bringing the message of the gurus onto the streets and interacting with the neighbourhood.

Mankamal said: “It’s about getting people involved in the community and showing unity.

“The Sikh community doesn’t really get the chance to get together but this brings everyone from all the boroughs together – it’s a great feeling of oneness.”

Among those joining in celebrations was Barking and Dagenham council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell and Redbridge council leader Cllr Jas Athwal.

“The council leaders were great – they really became a part of it,” said Mankamal.

He added: “The police were great too and we had stewards from the community who worked really hard to manage the crowd and make sure the streets were clean.”


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