The Council of Gurdwaras South East was initiated in October 1996.
Committees of numerous Gurdwaras came to realise the need of a central body which can work to unify all Gurdwaras, and have uniformity in the running of all Gurdwaras. The Gurdwara are to follow the code of conduct laid by the Akaal Takhat Sahib
It was also essential to have a body to deal with social cohesion between other external communities, so that the Sikhs could learn about other surrounding communities and also give an insight into the Sikh Faith to other Communities. Thus the council was formed by electing two representatives from each member Gurdwara.
From the representatives, the council’s working committee was elected.
The first elected president was S. Gurdial Singh Riyat, and S. Surinder Singh was elected as the first General Secretary.
The first major programme organised by the council was the TRICENTENARY of Khalsa
(Vaisakhi 1999) followed by a cultural program in respect of the Millennium Year celebrations. Since then countless seminars, conferences, religious & cultural events have been organised (mostly multi-faith), to create harmony among all religions, societies and cultures.
COUNCIL OF GURDWARAS SOUTH EAST
- The organisation shall be called the ‘Council of Gurdwaras South East,’ hereinafter referred to as ‘the Council.’
- The organisation shall be non-political and open only to the Sikh Community through the Gurdwaras but its services shall be secular.
- The Council shall be based at:
100 North Street Barking, Essex, IG11 8JD.
- There may be a different address for individual correspondence.
- The Council has been seen as the leading Sikh organisation in promoting and supporting the Sikh values as well as religious and historical interests of the Sikh Community as a whole.
- The core of these values have been the education of the teachings of the Ten Gurus as contained in the Guru Granth Sahib.
- It has been a significant part of the mission to see Sikhs represented at all political levels including the British Parliament as well as the European Parliament.
- The Council has welcomed networking with other organisations and endeavour to represent of all outside bodies whose interest/s may be to serve the Sikh community in Britain.
- The Council has successfully instituted the installation of Sikh institutions including educational schools to ensure the school curriculum is secular, balanced and progressive.
- To provide strategic, historic, religious, social, and educational guidance to member Gurdwaras.
- The Council shall promote community cohesion by providing information and organising events in order to develop the appreciation of Sikh heritage within the wider community.
- The Council shall work for and in the best interest of Gurdwaras and the Sikh Community as a whole thereby uniting the Sikh community within the South East region of London/England.
- The Council itself, as far as practicable, shall follow the advice and approved Rehat Maryada of Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib, Amritsar, (Punjab) India.
- To aid and advise the Mayor of London, MP’s, politicians, local authorities and other organisations in celebrating significant Sikh events such as Vaisakhi, etc. and other Gurpurabs.
- To support Gurdwaras in planning and celebrating Sikh festivals of significant importance e.g. the Raising of National Nishan Sahib Day, National Harmony Day, etc.
- To establish institutions to research and promote Sikhism with a view to create awareness of Sikhism locally and nationally. To make provisions for the development of language, especially the Gurmukhi script, to facilitate the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib.
- To promote Sikh values by setting up campaigns and projects with a view to eradicate world poverty and improve health conditions.
- The Council shall endeavour to highlight the economic, political, educational and cultural contributions of Sikhs to the development of a multiracial society in the UK, the prosperity and the economic wealth the Sikhs have generated locally, nationally and internationally, and its support to the development of fundamental Human Right principles including the promotion of gender equality, equal opportunities and brotherhood.
- To establish Sikh centres to provide training to ragi jathas to improve kirtan skills.
- To organise lectures, seminars and conferences with a view to promote Sikhism
- Arrange for the disposal of aged religious scriptures and similar artefacts following the aid and advice of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib in accordance with the Rehat Maryada/Gurmat Maryada.
- To improve economic conditions of the community with a view to eradicate elements of poverty either within or related.
- The above programme set out in the aims and objects shall be achieved comprehensively through an action plan or a strategy of annual statement of tasks and targets.
- The Council may, from time to time, appoint sub committees or sub groups to deal with tasks, issues or projects, define their remits, determine their time scale and allocate resources.
- The Council shall prepare an accurate database of Sikh Gurdwaras in the South East for the benefit of Sikh organisations with a view to promote networking.
- Efforts shall be made and all work of the Council shall be organised in good faith to avoid any anomalies or conflicts within member Gurdwaras in their practices or the governance documents.
- No Member Gurdwara or any individual shall benefit from the Council resources as a result of their office or position. Individual/s representing the Gurdwara must declare their interest if there is a possibility of influence arising out of a situation wether in an agenda item or likely event.
- The Council will produce a regular publication to closely communicate with member Gurwaras as well as the wider community.
- Membership of the Council shall be open to All Gurdwaras in the South East which practise the Sikh values and follow the teachings of the Ten Gurus as contained in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
- Each Gurdwara shall pay an annual affiliation fee of £101 (one hundred and one) which shall be determined at the AGM and may vary from year to year.