Dr Indarjit Singh made a Life Peer in the House of LordsDate: Monday, 05 September, 2011
Network of Sikh Organisations Press Release
Man who brought Guru Nanak to the breakfast tables of Britain is made a Life Peer
The NSO is pleased to announce that its Director Dr Indarjit Singh OBE CBE has been honoured with a Life Peerage and will sit as an independent Lord in the House of Lords
London, 5th of Sep 2011; Many will know that Dr Indarjit Singh played a central role in the Mandla case, in the early 80s, which established an important degree of protection for Sikhs to wear the symbols of their faith. Earlier, he played a significant role in articulating the outrage felt by Sikhs by the tragic events of 1984 in radio and television broadcasts and articles and correspondence in UK and newspapers and journals, including paid adverts in the Times and Guardian, as well as articles in French and Arabic papers. His achievements are many but one that that is a particular source of pride to him, is being introduced at a recent conference in Estonia as ‘the man who brought Guru Nanak to the breakfast tables of Britain'.
Dr Indarjit Singh is the Vice Chair and founding member of the Inter Faith Network UK, a national body promoting inter faith understanding, and is Head of the Sikh Chaplaincy Service, which works for the pastoral care of Sikhs in prisons. He is also the co-ordinator of pastoral care for Sikhs in hospitals and in the Armed Forces, and a trustee of the World Congress of Faiths.
Dr Singh has represented the UK Sikh community on national occasions, including the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph and the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey. In 2008 he became the first Sikh to address a major conference of at the Vatican, when he gave a keynote address on the need for respect and tolerance between world faiths.
He has served on the British Medical Association's Medical Ethics Committee; and was a member of a working group which advised the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for International Development on issues of third world debt and poverty relief.
Since 1984, Dr Singh has been a regular contributor to ‘Thought for the Day' on Radio 4's Today Programme, and has made frequent World Service broadcasts.
He has a First Class Certificate in Mine Management and has worked on mining and engineering projects in the UK, India and Dubai.
He received the UK Templeton Award for promoting religious understanding in 1889 and, in 1991, the prestigious Interfaith Medallion awarded jointly by the BBC and the Council of Christians and Jews for services to religious broadcasting. He is the recipient of several honorary doctorates and was awarded the OBE in 1996 and the CBE in 2009.
When asked about his feelings on the award of a life peerage, Indarjit commented: "I'm delighted to be the first turbaned Sikh in Parliament. It gives me a new opportunity, to do what I have always tried to do; to work with people of all beliefs to increase tolerance and understanding and work for greater social and political justice in society."
He added: "As Sikhs we have a glorious history of commitment and sacrifice for uplifting ideals. It is important that we see this as inspiration to work for a better present and future, not simply for ourselves, but for all people in line with our Gurus' teachings. The mantra of today's times to look after ourselves, because we are important, is creating a selfish and fragmented society. We saw the worst features of this in the recent riots. As Sikhs we see a wider society where the focus is away from an unhealthy obsession with self to the needs of wider society I would like, in my small way to work with like-minded people to reverse this trend. Sikh teachings are a unique blueprint of how to move in this direction."