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Hindu and Sikh Society and Unity

Written by Priya Mann

Like Newcastle University, the Hindu and Sikh Society (HAS) pride themselves on embracing different cultures, values and beliefs. During Multicultural Month, we invite you to learn about us and join our diverse range of activities!

What is HAS Society?

HAS Society is a safe place where we celebrate special religious events, have important discussions and embrace each other’s culture and food. We currently have an active community of over 500 members on Instagram and look forward to adding more!

This society brings together but is by no means limited to, Hindus and Sikhs. We have collaborated with North East Bhangra, NUSU BAME Union, Newcastle South Asian Society, Newcastle Tamil and Malayali Society, NUSU Feminist Society and NUSU GIAG to gain a greater understanding of other cultures.

 

About Hinduism and Sikhism…

Hinduism is thought to be the world’s oldest religion, with approximately 900 million followers. Hindus worship Brahman (the supreme God force that is present in all things) and many Gods and Goddesses. It is taught that everyone should strive to achieve Dharma (a lifestyle that follows the correct conduct, righteousness, moral law and duty). Hindus also do puja (worshipping) in the Mandir and follow the belief of reincarnation and karma.

Sikhism, the fifth-largest religion worldwide, originated in Punjab around 550 years ago. They follow the community of Khalsa (that follows a life of purity and the 5 Ks), Nam Japna (keeping God in mind at all times) and the practice of seva (selfless service). This is highlighted through Gurdwaras provision of Langar (a free vegetarian meal to all, regardless of their demographic background). To summarise, Sikhs are taught to pray, make an honest living and give to others.

Through both religions embracing love and peace, we are able to provide an inclusive community that appreciates unity.

 

What events does HAS Society run?

HAS Society runs a range of events throughout the year, although some have been restricted due to COVID-19 guidelines; we are still celebrating them remotely!

 

Religious events:

Both Hindus and Sikhs celebrate Diwali, a festival of new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Unfortunately, the global pandemic meant we could not celebrate the usual way of visiting the Mandir and Gurdwara, but we were able to provide ‘Diwali at Home’ packs that included goodies from rangoli kits, henna, divas, candles to sparklers and organised a Puja session.

‘Diwali at Home’ packs image with images of what was included in the box
‘Diwali at Home’ packs, 2020

‘Diwali at Home’ packs, 2020:

On the same day, Sikhs also celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas. This celebrates when Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was released from imprisonment and saved others from religious persecution. This event is usually celebrated in a decorated Gurdwara with kirtan and Akhand path, due to the pandemic we followed it virtually through Newcastle Gurdwara’s livestream.

Last year we were able to hold Newcastle’s biggest student Holi event, where we threw coloured powder, water and ate authentic food provided by a local restaurant. This event allowed us to fully celebrate the festival of colours, spring and love.

Group of young people celebrating Holi 2020 throwing coloured powder in the air
Holi, 2020

 

Holi, 2020

We also celebrate Navratri, Vaisakhi, go on trips to the Gurdwara and Mandir and much more…

 

Physical events:

We love to engage in all types of dancing, this includes Bhangra, Garba and Bollywood.

 

Food:

We love to indulge in food, through hosting Indian food stalls, charity bake sales, Langar on Campus and a virtual Food for Thought competition.

 

Activities:

We also have Mehndi (henna) on campus, bar crawls, games, movie, quiz and drinks nights. As well as nights out for all members to enjoy, whether they choose to drink alcohol or not!

 

Discussion events:

We like to use our platform as a voice for students to discuss important topics, such as stereotypes, caste system, gay rights, racism, abortion, vegetarianism and mental health issues.

Our latest topic of discussion is the Punjabi Farmers protest. The Indian Parliament passed three agricultural bills in September 2020, causing farmers to lose bargaining powers and thus unable to negotiate a fair price for themselves. HAS Society understands the importance of this issue, as lives have been lost fighting for justice, therefore we are using our platform to raise awareness of the issue.

These discussions allows us to have a comfortable and educating society.

 

There is truly something for everyone!

 

Find out more about our award-winning society on our Instagram and Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

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