On Sunday 21st May, 'Banbury Friends Festival' which celebrated our town's diversity. The Sikh community set up two stalls in different places in the town centre and provided free samosay and pakoray to the public. The stalls had a big banner saying, "Sikh sharing love for humanity... inspired by Guru Nanak." Any money raised through donations by passerbys was given to a local homeless charity.
There were a few homeless people that came up two or three times asking if they could have some more food. When the Sevadaars happily packed them bags of food to take with them, they were so happy and couldn't believe the generosity of the Sikh community.
There were two Christian ladies that were nurses who spent about 45 minutes learning about Sikhi. They were amazed to hear about Sikhi, and asked lots of questions. Whilst hearing about Sikhi, they said Sikhi is amazing and that we are very lucky to have such a religion.
In the late afternoon, at a local centre for elderly people, the inter-faith festival continued. School children and different groups did performances for the public.
The 'Baba Banda Singh Gatka Akhara from Derby' especially came to Banbury to do a presentation on Sikhs and Gatka, along with a demonstration. For a town which has very few Sikhs, it was great prachaar and was very well recieved. (One or two people got scared seeing Kirpans being swung around, but afterwards they were okay!).
I would recommend others to organise such events where you give free food and have opportunity to share Guru Nanak Dev Ji's message with the wider community. Interfaith groups are a really good opportunity to do great parchaar. Please find out what's happening in your local area and participate. We cannot moan that no one knows who Sikhs are and what Sikhi is if we don't take the initiative ourselves. Guru Ji will give us the strength and wisdom... we just have to have the right attitude and take the first step.