Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 9 student.
Serving around 1.5 million free meals in 2 months during the Coronavirus pandemic, The Sikh Centre of New York – referred to as the Gurudwara (place of worship) in Queens Village – is being lauded for their efforts. Believe it or not, this was done by a group of only 30 cooks.
A hallmark of Sikh faith is Langar or the free community kitchen, where a free vegetarian meal is provided in the Gurudwara. It was introduced by the first guru and founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. On average, The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, feeds over 1 lakh people in a day!
A general Langar contains pulses and rice, but in New York, for the convenience of the public, they are being provided with pizzas and pies.
Since the Coronavirus crisis began, the kitchens have found it difficult to meet with the demands of the people. But the Sikhs don’t seem to care. To avoid the spread of the virus, they are maintaining social distancing and regular sterilization ( of equipment and surfaces). They are offering freshly cooked meals to health workers and even water to the people protesting, in the scorching heat of the sun, against the death of George Floyd. This act of kindness and selflessness by the Sikhs in times of crisis( to help with the ever-growing demand for food for the homeless and peaceful protestors) has been deeply appreciated by The New York Times.
Whether it was the bushfires in Australia, the war in Syria, the Coronavirus crisis, or the protests in the United States of America, the Sikh community has proudly and selflessly carried forward the 500-year-old legacy of Langar.