British Sikh Association Dinner
The Deputy Commander of the Field Army and the Defence Sikh Champion, Major General Cecelia Harvey, said how honoured she was to attend and celebrate with the BSA. She highlighted the fact that the Sikh community was known throughout the world as a great warrior race, but that was not all. The Sikhs were also known for their contribution of intellectual and technical skills, which enriched the British Defence Forces. Maj Gen Harvey paid tribute to the humbleness and benevolence of the Sikhs in the Forces and how their actions of Seva over the recent Covid-19 emergency was an example for the rest of the Defence. She highlighted the unifying nature of the Sikhs in Defence. In the coming months, she and nine Sikh soldiers would be visiting Pakistan to build better ties and would visit Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the Guru. In closing, she thanked Lord Ranger, the BSA and the Sikh community for their contribution to Britain. She pointed out the living bridge between UK and India and looked forward to celebrating Vaisakhi together in person in 2022.
Defence Secretary The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, started by thanking his host for his tireless and constant efforts to promote and highlight the Sikh faith and community. The Defence Secretary said he was honoured to be present and thanked the Sikh community for their efforts and gallantry both over the great wars right up to the present times. He spoke about how close India was to him personally as his grandmother and great uncles were born in Ooty. He also paid tribute to the Sikh commitment of service - ‘Seva’ and praised them for helping the masses during the Covid pandemic by serving food and shelter. He said that the Sikh community’s contribution was historical and can be seen even today in the bravery of the Sikh soldiers in the Afghan wars and highlighted how we still faced threats to our security and values, and that is why we needed more Sikhs in the Armed forces, as the UK Armed Forces represent the best of Britain. In closing, he thanked the British Sikh Association, Lord and Lady Ranger for hosting the event and said that the Sikhs who fought in the Great Wars was not just for the benefit of the British Empire but for the future of the free world.
Special Guest Mr Gopichand Hinduja said he was delighted to be present today and praised his longstanding friend Lord Ranger for his continuous work and efforts to highlight the Sikh faith and community. Mr Hinduja said the community work and contribution of Lord Ranger was an inspiration and example for others.