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The Court of the Tenth Guru
Lou Fenech returns to the UKPHA Bookclub to present another captivating talk which will focus on Guru Gobind Singh’s Darbar (Divine Court). From a comparatively simple following which gathered around Guru Nanak to the celebrated Darbar of Guru Gobind Singh, Lou Fenech will illustrate the development of the Darbar. By focusing on the documentary evidence, such as the Zafar-Namah ('Epistle of Victory’), his talk will reconstruct the evolving nature of the Sikh Guru’s Darbar.
Journalist and author Anita Anand will join the Bookclub to talk about her book ‘Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary’ – This book tells the remarkable story of Princess Sophia, daughter of Maharajah Duleep Singh and how she transcended her heritage to devote herself to battling injustice and inequality. Her causes were the struggle for Indian independence, the fate of the Lascars, the welfare of Indian soldiers in the First World War - and, most importantly, the fight for female suffrage.
The further adventures of Bhagat Singh Thind - the first turbaned soldier in the US army, campaigner against racist US immigration laws and erstwhile spiritual and philosophical teacher. Philip Deslippe returns to the UKPHA book club to discuss his latest research findings which shed even more light on the already colourful life of Thind.
Historian, lecturer and journalist Andrew Whitehead will join the Bookclub to talk about the little-known story of Freda Bedi. Bedi was an English woman who made her life in India after marrying a Punjabi-Sikh student in Oxford in 1933. After marriage, Bedi regarded herself as Indian and lived in Lahore where she championed India’s national cause during the Second World War. She later became an active Kashmiri nationalist, a Tibetan Buddhist and towards the end of her life a Buddhist nun, but India would remain her home to the end.
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was undoubtedly one of the most popular Qawaali singers of South-Asia and thus in 1989, Nusrat performed at Slough Gurdwara singing texts from the Sikh tradition. Virinder Kalra joins the Bookclub in conversation with Pritpal Singh to explore the ways in which Nusrat’s Qawaali engaged with other spiritual music texts. He will look at how the space of diaspora enabled interactions across religious boundaries and created the conditions to re-imagine a nineteenth century Punjab in which the role of musicians was not delimited by their religious identity.