A road in west London will be renamed Guru Nanak Road after the founder of the Sikh faith, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
The local Ealing Council authority announced the decision to rename part of Havelock Road in Southall, an area of London known as the United Kingdom’s celebrated “Little Punjab”, ahead of the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on Monday.
Southall is home a significant Punjabi population, most of whom are Sikh.
The Sri Guru Singh Sabha on Havelock Road, the largest Gurdwara organisation outside of India, is located on Havelock Road, according to the temple’s website.
Havelock Road is believed to be named after Major-General Sir Henry Havelock, a man who became a British military official for his role suppressing the Indian Mutiny of 1857.
The anti-colonial revolt saw Indian soldiers and thousands of citizens rise up against British commanders to end colonial rule.
In 2002, Sikh campaigners in west London called for Havelock Road to be renamed, claiming it should not have been named after a military official whose men were responsible for killing thousands of soldiers during the uprising.
The decision was welcomed by some Twitter users.
“This is a big deal,” tweeted Edward Anderson, a history lecturer. “Havelock Rd was named after the colonial British general who fought in the Sikh wars & later suppressed the 1857 Uprising. It is home to London’s largest gurudwara.”
Incredible news! Havelock Road in #Southall is to be re-named as Guru Nanak Road. Hugely symbolic as Henry Havelock fought in the Sikh Wars that led to British conquest of Punjab & is most well known for his role in suppressing the 1857 Rebellion.https://t.co/X6LLeWlRpa pic.twitter.com/njSMyPHiih
— Dr Priya Atwal (@priyaatwal) November 26, 2020
Havelock Road in Southall – London's 'Little India' – is finally to be renamed Guru Nanak Road. This is a big deal. Havelock Rd was named after the colonial British general who fought in the Sikh wars & later suppressed the 1857 Uprising. It is home to London's largest gurudwara. pic.twitter.com/ZaOvl7EcCY
— Edward Anderson (@edanderson101) November 29, 2020
Across the UK, monuments and street names linked to racism and colonialism have come under scrutiny in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the United States, and the enormous Black Lives Matter demonstrations that followed.
Ealing Council’s move comes after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced in June a Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm to “review and improve diversity across London’s public realm to ensure the capital’s landmarks suitably reflect London’s achievements and diversity”.
The name change will come into effect early next year.