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Academic offers Sikh faith expertise for BBC documentary


The University of Wolverhampton’s Director of the Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies, Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar MBE, has been enlisted as a consultant for a BBC One documentary. 

The documentary, Being Sikh, explores how people within the Sikh faith celebrate and mark some of life’s biggest moments from birth to coming of age, marriage and end of life.  

Dr Takhar is an internationally recognised researcher within Sikh Studies and the Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies at the University of Wolverhampton is the only centre across the UK and Europe that researches and teaches subject matter relating to the Sikh and Panjabi communities. 

Her publication on ‘Sikh Identity: An exploration of Groups among Sikhs’ (Ashgate 2005) is used as a key text in many Universities around the world. Takhar’s research is on-going in terms of caste issues and gender dynamics amongst Punjabis, and Sikhs specifically. She is currently supervising two research projects. 

Dr Takhar said: “Sikh identity has always had multiple layers even from the time of the Gurus and it’s really positive to see this become the subject matter of a new BBC documentary. 

“The programme explores several stories and the relationship that Sikhs have with their faith at pivotal moments in their life, such as when a child is born or when a family member dies. 

“I was honoured to consult on the programme. My expertise ensures that the views are representative of what Sikhs believe and practise.  

Sikhs have been living in the UK for over 60 years and there is still a degree of illiteracy about their religion and this documentary explores the importance of the ethics around Sikh beliefs and practices including wearing of the turban and the kirpan.” 

Being Sikh is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer and is being aired on BBC One on Tuesday 13 April 2021 at 10.45 pm. Listen to a recent interview by Dr Takhar on BBC Radio Wolverhampton. 

The Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies is the first of its kind in the UK and was launched in 2018, offering PhDs and Master’s level courses in Sikh studies as well as continuing professional development (CPD) courses for teachers and managers. 

Anyone interested in studying in the University’s School of Humanities should register for one of the University’s forthcoming Virtual Open Days. 


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