Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) is a faith-based charitable organisation that has grown from strength to strength on the back of a very deep commitment to community. It embodies the values of shared responsibility and the close knitting together of people who believe that there is considerable strength in unity.
Drawing on the ideals of ‘Nishkam Sewa’ – selfless service, its members have embraced a Sikh faith based ethos that has at its core the principles of ‘sarbat da bhala’ – “may everyone prosper”.
GNNSJ is dedicated to practicing and promoting nishkam (selfless) service. We endeavour to nurture good human beings through the practice of faith values. We promote the values of shared responsibility, selflessness, love, altruism, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation.
GNNSJ has expanded its faith-based, values-led philosophy into various sectors. This has led to the Nishkam Group of Charitable Organisations.
The Nishkam Group of Charitable Organisations
Bhai Sahib, Bhai (Dr) Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia OBE KSG
Spiritual Leader and Chairman
Bhai Sahib is the third in line of Sikh religious leaders of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ), and since 1995, Chairman of the Nishkam Group of Charitable Organisations, active in religious practice and propagation, social regeneration, heritage conservation and education, health and infrastructure development. He is passionate about empowering individuals and organisations with common religious values, through selfless service, education and exposure.
Chairman – Museum of World’s Religions (MWR UK)
Chairman – Council of Dharmic Faiths (CoDF)
Chairman – British Sikh Consultative Forum (BSCF)
Convenor – Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation (CfR)
President – Religions for Peace UK (RfP UK)
Co President & Trustee – Religions for Peace International (RfP)
Trustee – St. Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation
Patron – United Religions Initative UK (URI)
Patron – Nishkam School Trust
Senior Member – Birmingham Faith Leaders Group (BFLG)
Member – Religions for Peace Europe
Member – Inter Religious Platform for Article 18
Member – Eljiah Board of World’s Religious Leaders (EBRL)
Member – European Council of Religious Leaders (ECRL)
Member – DfID Faith Working Group
Member – Advisory Forum of the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre (KAICIID)
Ambassador – Globalisation for Common Good Initiative (GCGI)
Supporter – Parliament of the World’s Religions (CPWR)
Recipient of official ‘Bhai Sahib’ title from the Jathedars (senior most leaders) of the five most sacred Sikh Takhats in India, for selfless service in faith propagation and heritage conservation
Recipient of the Papal Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great (KSG)
Officer of Her Majesty the Queen’s British Empire (OBE)
Three honorary doctorates from UK universities for interfaith and peacebuilding work
2017 Global Thinkers Forum Award for Excellence in Peace and Collaboration
The 2016 African Interfaith Harmony Award of the Year, United Religions Initiative-Africa
The Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award from the Temple of Understanding, New York
The Guru Nanak Interfaith Award from Hofstra University, New York
“GCGI Award for Public Service in the Interest of the Common Good” from the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative
In 2018, GNNSJ celebrated the 40th anniversary of the opening of its Gurudwara in Handsworth. Although the community has a much longer association with Handsworth, it was only in 1978 that it became an integral and vital part of this inner city depressed area with a physical presence. Today, the majestic Gurudwara and associated buildings are a focal point of the rejuvenation and regeneration of Birmingham.
GNNSJ has its origins amongst a modest community in Kenya that congregated around our founding Saint, Sant Baba Puran Singh Ji of Kericho. As waves of Sikhs from East Africa and India came to the UK in the 1960s and settled in Birmingham under the tutelage of Bhai Sahib Norang Singh Ji, GNNSJ swelled in numbers. Today GNNSJ is a truly global organisation albeit deeply rooted in the local communities where it has been established: Birmingham, Leeds, London, Kenya and India.
It is the spiritual hub of prayer and service, operating on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week basis. The Gurudwara is run solely with intensive volunteering. This includes the preparation and serving of 1 million free meals a year. GNNSJ continues to humbly provide quality voluntary services utilising the monetary and non-monetary contributions (sewa) provided by its members and the community.
Interfaith is a founding principle of the Sikh Dharam (or faith). Therefore, GNNSJ and the Nishkam Group have always engaged in interfaith dialogue. The initiative has grown, and now Nishkam engages in interfaith dialogue and collaboration locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
We work with the Fetzer Institute, and support the Globalization for the Common Good and the Parliament of the World’s Religions. We also engage with the Elijah Board of World’s Religious Leaders, Religions for Peace and the United Nations.
GNNSJ is well recognised as a pioneer Sikh organisation within the interfaith arena, facilitating conferences and hosting numerous landmark events to foster international peace and harmony.
As part of the continuing effort for international peace, GNNSJ are spear-heading two large-scale initiatives:
The Charter for Forgiveness and Reconciliation (CfF)
The charter is a commitment to practice and nurture forgiveness and reconciliation, to foster healing, harmony, justice and sustainable peace in our world. Learn more.
Recently, volunteers created an exhibition titled “A Journey through Forgiveness and Reconciliation”, exploring the process of forgiveness. The aim of this exhibition was to explore how to put the charter into action.
Join the movement: #ForgiveAll
The Museum of World Religions UK (MWR UK)
The museum’s motto is: Inculcating Values, and Emphasising Virtuous Living & Righteous Conduct. It is envisioned to uniquely provide inspiration distilled from the world’s major religions. In order to kindle the soul and encourage the promotion of good ethics, values and virtues that are found in all humans.
We seek to create an Educational Centre that will inspire people to live well, individually and collectively. In the MWR, the goal is to consider and test what it is that people have lived for, and lived by, in order to shape our modern character and society with universal and shared values. Using the most modern technology we hope to create a Centre where people will encounter and experience the diverse roots of human hopes, dreams and ambitions. Learn more.
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sikh Dharam teaches individuals to play a central role in family and social life.
The Nishkam Centre serves the civic needs of the community, helping individuals remove language, cultural and social barriers, not only to facilitate awareness of available social and welfare support, but realise self-help measures consolidated through powerful community networks. The Nishkam Centre provides a Cultural and Heritage locus to archive and share the rich legacy of both Sikh identity and history. It also works with the wider community in training, capacity building, civic engagement, and employment. Learn more.
During the 1980s recession, thousands of Sikhs became unemployed and Marg Sat Santokh Manufacturers Ltd (MSS) which translates as the ‘path of Truth and Contentment’ was established as a builder’s merchant and specialist timber manufacturer and joinery. It upholds the philosophy that ‘work is worship’ and that profit is not the only motive in sustainable economic development. MSS serves as a model of how the Sikh Dharam teaches one to earn an honest living whilst sharing with others. It has since provided income for many families. It is a great example of a self-help cooperative.
MSS’ foundation is strongly built on ‘Dhanvant, Naam ke vanjaare’. This verse in the Sikh Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, explains the means of acquiring spiritual capital. The hymn composed by the fifth Nanak, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, reminds us to cool the greed within our human nature, and to elevate our hearts and minds. Addressing us as spiritual travellers, visiting this planet Earth, it urges us to shed our lies, exploitation of others, dishonesty, selfishness, malice and cruelty. Instead it instructs us to collectively trade in Naam – the Divine Name of God – through constant prayer (simran) and service (sewa) of the Creator and His creation. By doing so, we can attain spiritual capital (kamaee). This is inexhaustible and is believed to catalyse financial and social capital within the secular context of our lives.
GNNSJ emphasises that good quality education is a basic human right, which lies at the heart of human endeavours to be self-sufficient. We promote a more fundamental concept of learning, where the moral and spiritual development of the individual is promoted alongside the development of the intellect. At GNNSJ, devotees and visitors alike have access to individually focused guidance and education.
What is the purpose of education?
With so much pressure to meet government standards, and talk about the jobs market and economy, we rarely stop to ask – what overarching concept for education do we have as a society?
There are two simple facts about human life. We are born, and then we die. What sort of learning is important in between? What are our innermost hopes for a new-born child? When someone dies, what do we remember and value most?
Every child is precious, deserves to have dignity, to experience love, to develop inner confidence in being part of the wider world. Every child needs good nourishment, for the body, the mind and also for that spark of the spirit that shines within. These are the foundations for successful learning; we fail children if we don’t provide these.
Through Nishkam Schools, GNNSJ is committed to serving society and forging partnerships with organisations that share our vision, to motivate and inspire the community. The school’s project is building on some 40 years of a community’s remarkable self-reliance within an area of high unemployment and urban deprivation, in forging local community well-being and regeneration. Learn more.
The Nishkam Educational Vision
To empower children with values, supporting them to excel both academically and spiritually to serve humanity selflessly for the common good, with an abundance of love, compassion and forgiveness.
The Nishkam Healthcare Trust was formed in 2012, recognising the need to help the health of the local community. It aims to serve the local community, empower patients and address health inequalities through culturally sensitive methods. Nishkam Healthcare seeks to deliver an innovative approach to healthcare that infuses faith-inspired, values-led care into clinical practice. Resulting in prevention, healing and patient empowerment it aims to improve the health and well-being of the community. Its emphasis lies squarely on faith-inspired, values driven healthcare embodied in the principles of ‘caring with compassion, helping with
humility and listening with love’.
This project affirms GNNSJ’s philosophy of ‘lifelong’ commitment from youth to elderly care. Intergenerational participation has been at the core of every one of GNNSJ’s activities since its inception. The teachings of the Sikh Dharam teaches that age bears no reflection of wisdom, which uniquely is a divine attribute received through God’s blessing. Learn more.
GNNSJ have contributed to a number of outreach projects in the UK and internationally. In recent decades, they have developed two organisations to combat hunger and homelessness. Both of these organisations use the Sikh practice of Langar (a free community kitchen), and selfless service to support communities.
Nishkam SWAT (also known as the Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team) was founded in 2008. They provide food and support for homeless people across the UK. Learn more.
Zero Hunger with Nishkam Langar (ZHWL) is an initiative designed to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. They are using langar to create self-sustainable systems and providing nourishment to school-aged children. Their project was first set up in Malawi as it had the highest rate of malnutrition. Learn more.
Heritage and Conservation
Nishkam Heritage and Conservation remains a major facet of service for GNNSJ. Its contribution to the development and regeneration of Handsworth, an inner-city area in Birmingham – through the infrastructure development of a total of 31 properties over 13 acres of inner city land, over a period of approx. 36 years – remains on-going.
Alongside this, the conservation and restoration of all five supreme historic Sikh shrines, including Sri Harimandir Sahib (known as the Golden Temple), has been completed. These esteemed service projects, known as a ‘Kar Sewa’ projects, were each unique in their requirements, in terms of raising funding and resources as well as their time scales and complexity. The extensive delivery of financial and resource management, architectural and civil engineering, galvanised GNNSJ’s track record for exemplary leadership through to responsible and timely completion.
Currently GNNSJ is completing Phase 2 conservation and beautification works to Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji, Patna Sahib. We have also been blessed with the opportunity to create the “Ik Oankar Mool Mantar Asthaan”. This will be a unique monument, in honour of the 550th birth anniversary of the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in Sultanpur Lodhi, India.
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Tel: 0121 551 1125
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