Our History


    Frederick Duleep Singh was the second son of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the Sikh Empire. His father was sent to England once the Punjab was annexed in 1849. Living the life of the British Aristocracy, he was educated at Eton College and then read History at Emmanuel College.
  • 1907 - SANT TEJA SINGH

    Sant Teja Singh hailed from Gurjanwala. While studying at Cambridge University, he fought for, and won the right to wear his dastaar. After graduating, he set up the Khalsa Jatha British Isles, establishing the first Gurdwara in Europe. He later supplanted this with study at Harvard, and then establishing the Khalsa Diwan Society in Canada, and the Stockton Gurdwara in the US. These were some of the first Sikh institutions in the US; and the foundations for a Western diaspora. In later life, he also set up the Kalgidhar Society, Baru Sahib.


    Born in Jagroan, Kapoor Singh was instrumental in Sikh politics in the 20th Century. Known as the “Professor of Sikhism” by the Akal Takht, Kapoor Singh read Moral Science at Cambridge. He was a politician, writer, and philosopher. As a Politician, he joined the Akali movement for a Punjabi-speaking state. He is famed for his 1966 speech – “Betrayal of the Sikhs,” which outlined the demands of the Punjab during this time. He further supplanted this in his role in the Anandpur Sahib Resolution in 1973. What follows is an immense body of work in Sikh history and philosophical thought.

    Born in Amritsar in 1886, Bawa Kartar Singh was a scientist who made several contributions to the field of chemistry. He studied Natural Sciences and then went on to hold academic posts across South Asia. On the basis of his work, he was awarded Doctor of Science (Sc.D) by the University of Cambridge; was a founding member of the Indian Chemical Society, and Vice-President of the Indian Academy of Sciences from 1934-1938. His most prestigious accolade, however, was being nominated to submit a proposal for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

    The celebrated Prime Minister of India began his educational career at Punjab University, to then read Economics at St John’s College, winning the Adam Smith Prize in 1956, and the Wrenbury Scholarship in 1957. He is famed as the architect for India’s economic reform programme, during his time as finance minister in 1991, and is one of the longest serving Prime Ministers in Indian history. The Judge Business School have a scholarship in his name, for Indian students seeking doctoral study at St John’s.
  • 1964 - AJIT SINGH

    Professor Ajit Singh was an economics professor based at Queen’s college. In his long and illustrious academic career, he wrote extensively in the field of Applied Economics. He taught generations of economists over half century as a life fellow before he passed in 2015. He was also taught by Manmohan Singh during his time as a lecturer, and was involved in protests against the Vietnam War during his time in California and Cambridge.

    University archives indicate that there was a small active Sikh and Punjabi Society during this time, with details of the officers and leadership. During this time there are also printing of a journal entitled ‘Khalsa’, from 1982 and 1985.

    The Cambridge Sikh Society, unaffiliated with the University, was established to serve the local Sikhs of Cambridge. Often Sikhs arrive in Cambridge to work for the University or in the surrounding area, and the Sikh Society provided a space for local Sangat to congregate and come together.

    Since 2011, the local community came together with the goal of establishing a permanent Gurdwara and a space for the community and our Guru Granth Sahib. With a new constitution, trust, and team of Sevadaars, the local community were able to raise enough money to enable renovation work to be completed. Sri Guru Granth Sahib arrived on the 6th January 2013 from Peterborough, and on the 20th January, a formal programme was held, attended by sangat, politicians and press from Cambridgeshire and beyond.

    Following a year’s worth of work by first- and second-year students at the university, the University Sikh Society was officially established in Michaelmas of 2019. With a membership nearly 50 strong, the student body encompassed a wide variety of subjects, colleges, study levels, and nationalities. This formed a dynamic and tight-knit group of Sikh students and fellows. Since, we have put on several events with national attendance on Sikh history, philosophy and art; as well as cultivated a sense of fraternity and community amongst ourselves.

    The first ever Access Conference organised by the Oxford and Cambridge University Sikh Societies was held in November 2019 at Christchurch College, Oxford. It has been running annually ever since, with the location alternating between Oxford and Cambridge. It aims to support and encourage Sikh students in Year 12 to get into some of the top universities in the country. Sikh students from both universities coming from similar educational backgrounds provide information and advice about the "Oxbridge" experience through a series of talks, workshops and a Q&A panel.

    This groundbreaking event, in celebration of the 550th Gurpurab of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, was the first major event organised by the Society and had a turnout of over 100 guests. The event was spearheaded by talks from established academics in their field, who explored the heritage and origin of the Sikh faith. Each of the five speakers focussed on a different aspect of Guru Nanak Dev Ji's life or heritage, including Bhai Kirit Singh speaking on Guru Nanak and the Gurbani Kirtan Tradition, and a Japji Sahib Katha delivered by Bhai Charnveer Singh.

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