Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 9 student
The Langar or the free community kitchen is a hallmark of Sikh faith. It was established by the first Guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, around the year 1481 AD. It is designed to uphold the idea of equality between all the people of the world where men and women of all religions, caste, creed, age, gender or social status sit together in a ‘Pangat’ (literally row or line) to enjoy a vegetarian meal. Furthermore, it also expresses the ethics of sharing, community inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind.
Women play an important role in the preparation of the meals, and even children help in serving food to the Pangat.
The history of Langar is very fascinating.
Young Guru Nanak Ji was given 20 Rupees by his father who told him to make a profit out of that money (‘Sacha Sauda).On his way to start his business, he saw a group of hungry saints. Instead of making a huge profit, he used his money to feed the hungry saints who had not eaten in days. Once he returned home, his father asked him what he did with the money that was given to him. He replied that he had done ‘True Business’ by helping the hungry saints. The Guru was scolded by his father for not making a profit.
Since then, the practice of Langar started.
Every day on an average, about 100,000 people have Langar in a gurudwara in India alone (half of these numbers from the Golden Temple).
During the ongoing Corona Virus pandemic, when there is extreme shortage of food for the migrant workers and the daily wage labourers, the Sikh community in Delhi is preparing 1.25 Lakh meals on a daily basis and 50,000 of them are being made in the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. The Langar sewa(service) is also going on in many other countries such as United Kingdom, The United States of America, Canada and even New Zealand.
The Gurudwara Management Committee has also been providing guest houses (‘sarai’) to doctors and nurses facing accommodation issues due to the Corona virus pandemic. The ‘sarai’ are now functioning as isolation wards.
Due to this appreciable act by the Gurudwara Committee, the Delhi Police paid a tribute to the people making Langar in the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara by saluting them and conducting a ‘Siren Parikrama’ to show respect with a convoy of 35 police vans and 60 motorcycles.
What is greater than the service done by a religious institution for those in need during a time like this?
Written by Nihal Singh Dhingra, a grade 9 student of Modern School.
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