The second ever Sikh 'Chardi Kala' weekend held for British Armed Forces
MoD has created a provision to cater needs of all faiths by having minority faith advisors. Mandeep Kaur, who is the first Sikh Chaplain in the history of 200 years of Christian Chaplaincy, has responsibility of providing moral, pastoral and spiritual support to Sikhs serving in the armed forces and their families.
Despite having so many uncertainties and difficulties, she recently managed to attend the second annual conference for all Sikhs serving in the Royal Navy, British army and Royal Air Force and their families.
The “Chardi Kala” Sikh Conference took place on 9-11 May at Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre in Andover. There were various subject matter experts who spoke to the gathering. Various discussions evolved on topics such as “how to practice faith while being on duty”.
Brig R H T Aitken - Office for standards of casework ( army ) - when speaking on “Values, Actions & Rituals” showed how a good Sikh who has Saint-Soldier qualities is an excellent Soldier as well because the core values of the army go in parallel with the values of Sikhism. Also matters like Respirator, Helmet and uniform for full kesh Sikhs in the household cavalry were discussed.
This was the great opportunity for Sikhs who are serving to pray together and uplift their spiritual life through various discussions and prayers. It was amazing to see how people volunteered to perform diverse services.
Lt Col Tochi Singh Marwaha Commented, “an excellent weekend, enhancing the fellowship of the Khalsa”. FS B Singh Flora said, “Interesting and calming weekend with a better and improved feeling of the Military Sikh family. Lcpl AP Singh said, “I feel like I have met another family of my own and have some new friends."
The last session of the conference was followed by wet eyes and words of appreciation from the service personnel and their families who said, “thank you for doing that for us – you do not know what we have felt during last three days.”
It is so encouraging to see that the youth of today is so enthusiastic to learn about their faith and incorporating the principles in to their lives, respect others more and make their own lives happier and more meaningful.
Mandeep Kaur said, “It gives me huge satisfaction to look at people present here integrating with each other, discussing various matters, praying and enjoying together. It feels like I have a big family to look after through Chaplaincy and also while talking to people you can feel that how much there is the need for events like these to happen.
The conference was concluded with Ardaas, and the great thing was that by the end of the three days, people appreciated the value and need of Ardaas and Simran in their life.
Said Mandeep Kaur in summation, "I hope and wish this bond will keep growing stronger. I seek the blessings of the Sangat so that this Sewa could be performed in Chardi Kala."
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