Gurmukh Singh (born 11 September 1938) is a prominent British Sikh community mentor and social activist. He retired from the position of a Principal Civil Servant in June 1996 and has promoted distinct Sikh identity and community participation in the multi-cultural British society. His interpretation of Sikh ideology in the context of modern issues has been widely acclaimed by Sikh scholars.
He arrived in the UK in 1960 and joined the Board of Trade (later Department of Trade and Industry) in December 1962. He achieved four promotions during a changing race relations period, while retaining his full identity as a Sikh.
He held many high profile positions in the department while serving in over 12 diverse areas of trade and industry and was also on secondment for five years as the Personnel and Staff Training Manager at the National Economic Development Office (NEDO). He was the first identity Sikh to represent a UK civil service department at European forums and the GATT (later the World Trade Organisation) at First Secretary equivalent position. On promotion to a policy Principal, he served for 9 years and retired in June 1996 from the Aerospace Division of the Department of Trade and Industry.
Following retirement, he has devoted his full time to community service, supporting and advising many nationwide Sikh organisations, local representatives and Members of Parliament. Through his faith advisory services for many groups within the community, he has played a significant catalytic role in keeping UK Sikh affairs on an even keel, while promoting transparency in Sikh-Government interface.
He is closely associated with the original open British Sikh Consultative Forum (BSCF) which brought diverse nationwide Sikh organisations around one table on major issues concerning UK Sikhs. He is serving by invitation as Member of the Board of Jathedars of the Sikh Council UK. He is the Convenor of The Sikh Missionary Society UK Advisory Board. He writes extensively and has produced many publications including translations and Sikh centennial souvenirs and a Sikh Australian publication about Vaisakhi, and numerous articles on topical issues affecting British Sikhs. Through his writings he has promoted Sikh social activism and charities working in diverse fields outside gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship).
Over the years, he has given talks and media briefings. In recent years, he has interpreted Sikh scriptures in the context of 21st-century issues. The topics include environmental and the Earth Charter topics, Sikh religious view on ageing and care of the elderly, issues concerning advances in science, and many other educational and welfare topics. He wrote a weekly column in The Sikh Times published by the Eastern Media Group, for a number of years, and now writes a weekly lead column in English "News & Views" in the UK's Panjab Times.
Awards and honours
Honoured by Canadian Sikhs with 'Sirdar Kapoor Singh' Khalsa Millennium Award in 2001 in recognition of his scholarly interpretation of Sikh ideology.
Honoured by the Gurmat Gian Missionary College, Ludhiana, India, the Sikh Missionary Society UK and by Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib (supreme Sikh religious institute) for his services to the community.
Lifetime Achievement Award at the first ever Guru Nanak Dev ji's Parkaash (birthday) Gurpurb event at the UK Parliament organised by the All Parties 1Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs, the Sikh Network and the Sikh Federation (UK).
Appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for his services to Community Cohesion and to Charity.
Honoured by the British Community Honours Awards at the House of Lords on 21 October 2016.