Burngreave Messenger

Issue 24 August 2002





A Time To Reflect

On 14th and 15th of August the nations of India and Pakistan will mark their 55th year of independence. The past twelve months have seen the two countries close to war a number of times.

The Burngreave area is home to residents with close ties to both nations. The Messenger recently spoke to leading figures in both communities, Mohammed Ali, chair person of the Pakistan Muslim Centre and Surinder Singh Dhillion from the Sikh Temple.

For Mr Dhillion the last year has been a very sad time, as friendly relationships between peoples from the two countries have been adversely affected by political developments. Mr Dhillion still has fond memories from the 1950’s and early 1960’s when people were free to cross each others boarders.

Mohammed Ali felt that differences between the two nations had to be resolved diplomatically. Locally, in Sheffield, the PMC had taken the lead in organising a number of cross-faith meetings following Sept 11th and hoped the Centre would continue to be a focal point for all communities.

As for Independence Day there will be mixed emotions for Mr Dhillion as he recalls the sacrifices that the Sikhs in particular made to gain independence and the hardship people suffered during partition. In particular in the Punjab some important Sikh Gurudwaras (Temples) were left in Pakistan. The main focus of celebration for him will be on Jan 26th to mark Indian Republic Day.

For Mohammed the 14th of August will be time to celebrate and the PMC will be holding a special event on Tuesday 29th of August at 6 pm, to mark the day. Mohammed also feels that it is also important to educate the younger members of both communities of their history.

Sunrinder Singh Dhillion and friends.

Mohammed Ali and members of the Pakistan Muslim Centre.