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Sikh Studies researcher interviewed as part of BBC local news launch

Research academic Opinderjit Takhar being filmed by BBC Midlands Today

An award-winning University of Wolverhampton academic has provided valuable research insight as part of a BBC report on Wolverhampton’s Ravidassia community.

The story is part of a wider launch of stories as the BBC launches a dedicated online section for news stories in Wolverhampton.   

Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, MBE, Associate Professor of Sikh Studies and Director of the Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, has made significant contributions to a BBC report on the expansion of Wolverhampton’s Ravidassia temple.  

Ravidassia was considered a sect within Sikhism prior to 2009, but now Wolverhampton has one of its largest congregations in the UK. In the 2011 census around 11,000 Ravidassia ticked the 'other' box as they did not feel represented by the other faith options, including Sikhism.

Dr Takhar has been working with the Ravidassia community in Wolverhampton for a number of years which has included student visits as part of their studies. She was interviewed by the BBC's Ben Godfrey about how this expansion will benefit the Ravidassia community and also the history of the community and the wider multifaith community in the city.   

Dr Takhar said: “Wolverhampton has managed to retain and grow its number of Indian heritage families. So, this makes it a vibrant and multifaith city of the truest sense. In and around Wolverhampton it’s amazing for our students who study here at the University. They get the opportunity to go out into the community and get a real sense of what it means to be in a multi-faith and multicultural city like Wolverhampton. And for years I’ve been taking students to the Ravidass Sabha (temple) to see this experience of lived religion, which is something they cannot get from a text book.” 

The story was part of the launch of a dedicated Wolverhampton news section on the BBC News website - previously the city was part of the ‘Birmingham & Black Country’ section of the site. The news channel hopes they can highlight more community stories in Wolverhampton, and their prior news story of the announcement of the expansion of the city'd Ravidassia temple proved to be really successful with its viewers.  

Research academic Opinderjit Takhar being filmed by BBC Midlands Today

The Centre for Sikh and Panjabi Studies, which is the first of its kind in the UK, offers PhDs, as well as continuing professional development (CPD) courses for teachers and managers of diverse workforces such as national and local government, the NHS and the emergency services.  

Watch the news report on BBC iPlayer (18:53 minutes).

Read more about it on the BBC website.

Find out more about degree courses in the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing and visit one of our forthcoming Open Days.  


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