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In honour of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith, a street in west London is renamedGuru Nanak Road. Ahead of the 551st anniversary of Guru Nanak's birth in 2020, the local Ealing Council authority revealed the choice to rename a portion of Havelock Road in Southall, a neighbourhood of London renowned as the United Kingdom's celebrated "Little Punjab."

Southall’s Sikh population 

The majority of the Punjabi community in Southall is Sikh. The website for the temple states that the Sri Guru Singh Sabha on Havelock Road, the largest Gurdwara organisation outside of India, is situated there.

Havelock Road is believed to be named after Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, a British military official,who was instrumental in putting an end to the Indian Mutiny in 1857.Thousands of people and Indian soldiers rebelled against British leaders during the anti-colonial uprising to end colonial authority.

In 2002,Sikh activists in west London demanded that Havelock Road be renamed arguing that it shouldn't have been given the name of a military official whose men were responsible for the uprising's mass murder of thousands of soldiers. Some Twitter users applauded the decision.

Edward Anderson, a history lecturer tweeted, “This is a big deal. Havelock Rd was named after the colonial British general who fought in the Sikh wars & later suppressed the 1857 Uprising. It is home to London’s largest gurudwara.”

Following the death of George Floyd in the United States and the massive Black Lives Matter protests that followed, monuments and street names associated with racism and colonialism have drawn scrutiny throughout the UK.

The action by Ealing Council follows the announcement in June 2020 by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan of a Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm to examine and increase diversity across London's public realm to ensure the capital's landmarks adequately reflect London's achievements and diversity. 

About Guru Nanak 

Guru Nanak, also known as Baba Nanak 'father Nanak', was the first of the ten Sikh Gurus and the founder of Sikhism. He lived from 15 April 1469 to 22 September 1539. During the Katak Pooranmashi, or "full moon of Kattak," which occurs between October and November his birth is celebrated worldwide as Guru Nanak Gurpurab It is stated that Nanak travelled extensively throughout Asia spreading the message of ik onkar -one God who resides in each and every one of his creations and is the eternal truth.

 

*Based on an article published in Aljazeera on 30th November 2020 

 

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