In the Sikh community former Australian Test cricket captain Steve Waugh is considered something of a guru, and they call him by the same nickname his friends do: “Tugger” (as in Tug-of-Waugh).
So when Monday’s commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism, it seemed appropriate for the 50,000 strong NSW Sikh community to call on the Canterbury-born cricketer to celebrate with them.
Former Australian Test captain Steve Waugh at the function announcing the multifaith music festival.Credit:Nick Moir
“Only 550 years, that’s like a game of Twenty20 cricket compared to Christianity which was founded 2000 years ago. Yet in numbers Sikhs are the world’s fifth-most populous religion – there are 25 to 30 million Sikhs globally – 125,000 in Australia and 50,000 in NSW,” said Waugh, who began his cricketing career wielding his bat around Bankstown with his twin and fellow Test cricketer Mark.
At the ceremony at Sydney’s Royal Automobile Club in the city centre, Waugh also announced the launch of the state’s first multi-faith music festival, Divine Steps on November 10 at Pyrmont Bay Park. Organised by Sikh Youth Australia, it will bring together 12 faith communities including their own, which will teach turban tying and perform kirtan or devotional singing. Festival volunteers will also serve 3000 free vegetarian meals and refreshments.