Sikh prayer books return to military after 100 years – BBC


The Nitnem Gutka’s were shared with military personnel at the Central Gurdwara temple in London – Photo: MOD

By Claire Jones | BBC | Britain |

For the first time in a century daily prayer books have been issued to Sikh military personnel in the British forces.

Major Daljinder Singh Virdee is in the British Army and has spent two years campaigning for the change.

The prayer books, called Nitnem Gutkas, were issued by the UK Defence Sikh Network at a ceremony in London.

The Ministry of Defence said it hopes to “directly support Sikhs practice a key component of their faith”.

The Nitnem Gutkas have been printed in three languages in durable and waterproof material to withstand the rigours of military life.

The British Army Gutka has a camouflage cover, and the Royal Navy and RAF Gutka has a navy blue cover.

Major Singh Virdee said he uses his Nitnem Gutka three times a day.

“The Army has been providing Christian religious texts for many years and I saw the opportunity there to open the door for the Sikh faith to provide Sikh texts,” he said.

The Nitnem Gutkas were printed in Wiltshire and placed on a throne in a purpose-built vehicle for Sikh scriptures.

They were transported to the library of the Central Gurdwara temple in London, where they were officially issued to military personnel on 28 October.

As chairperson of the UK Defence Sikh Network, Major Singh Virdee has spent the past two years on the project.

Read the full report here.


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