In order to make any social change we need dialogue. Dialogue with those in positions of power and influence. Once again, we need to stand on the shoulders of giants.

I was fortunate to go to the “Vaisakhi at Westminster” event hosted by Pat McFadden MP and the British Sikh Consultative Forum, on Monday (22nd April 2013). This event is an example of dialogue. An opportunity for Sikhs to communicate with MP’s, Government officials and members of other faith communities, under the pretext of a celebration.

It meant that thanks could be given to both the Sikh community for their social contributions, and to government officials that work tirelessly in aid of all their constituents. This development of bonds between the Sikh community and the government showed fruitful progress as many officials spoke about how they were campaigning for Sikh issues including human rights issues in India.

To see the full benefit of this dialogue we must acknowledge the presence of both the Rt Hon David Cameron and Ed Milliband. Two parties leaders, including the Prime Minister who saw importance in engaging in this dialogue with the Sikh community.

Westminster collage

At the same time, just down the road, infront of Downing Street a vigil has been taking place to raise awareness about the same human rights issues the parliamentarians were discussing with us. I call it a vigil not a protest because of the peaceful nature of the event. The Sikh community have created a space in which to pray, sing hymns of praise and share food and love with the community. Police officers on duty around Downing Street have commented on the joy and love that is emanating from the vigil. Again, the peaceful and calm format of this vigil is creating dialogue with individuals that would otherwise be unaware of the Sikh community and what we stand for.

Downing St Kirtan

Your faith is something you cannot lock away. It is who you are. So why hide it? Instead enter dialogue and make sure that change makers know who you are, what is important to you and how to put it on the agenda. We’re not just fighting for our own rights and our own beliefs, we must ensure that everyone is entitled to their freedom. But rather than creating a scene, set an example. Make friends and talk…

You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

And once you do, you’ll see how much change is possible.

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