Change “Havelock Road” to ‘Sant Jarnail Singh Marg'.
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Southall is home to one of the largest concentrations of the Sikh peoples outside of their native homeland of Punjab.
The built environment, culture, and even cuisine of Southall has reflected its Sikh population for decades, with the Gurdwara on ‘Havelock Road’ being one of Southall’s most prominent landmarks.
It is time street names also reflected the community that is Southall’s life blood. Sir Henry Havelock, who Havelock Road is named after, was a colonial general and represents the traumatic and incredibly violent occupation of the Sikh homeland of Punjab.
The Sikh homeland was divided by British colonisers in 1947 by the British colonial officer Cyril Radcliffe, a process that began with the annexation of the Sikh Raj in 1849. The “partition” (an imagined colonial framework to justifiy military occupation through British law) led to one of the largest, if not the largest, mass displacements in human history. British colonialism forever changed the geo-political landscape of the Sikh homeland and South Asian Sub-Continent, a loss Sikhs have not recovered from as a people.
Today, as a legacy of British colonialism, the Sikh homeland of Punjab lies torn and politically fragmented between Indian-occupied East Punjab, with the “truncated” states of Haryana and Himachal Pardesh, and the Pakistan administered West Punjab.
The National Sikh Youth Federation firmly believes it is only fitting that Havelock Road, named after a colonial general, be renamed “Sant Jarnail Singh Marg” after the famous Sikh ‘general-of-generals’, the de-facto leader of the Sikh nation who awoke the spirit of Sikh sovereignty within a displaced and defeated generation, and placed the Sikh nation on a trajectory of reasserting their political sovereignty in Punjab. Described by the highest Sikh authority, the Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, as the “Veemi Sadi Da Mahan Sikh” (the greatest Sikh of the 20th century), Sant Jarnail Singh Ji is also prominently honoured in the largest Sikh Gurdwareh outside of Punjab.
Sikhs are here to stay, and it’s time the urban landscape and streets of Southall reflect this.
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