Even as food has become a communally divisive subject in India, Sikhs around the world have used it as a unifying agent in their observance of International Langar Week, from October 5 to 11. Langar – the Sikh practice of serving free food to all visitors of a gurdwara irrespective of caste or colour – […]
Even as food has become a communally divisive subject in India, Sikhs around the world have used it as a unifying agent in their observance of International Langar Week, from October 5 to 11. Langar – the Sikh practice of serving free food to all visitors of a gurdwara irrespective of caste or colour – was taken to 46 locations in 11 countries in a global community-building exercise. It is estimated that ordinarily at langar six million meals are distributed every day around the world.
The concept of International Langar Week, initiated by the Sikh Press Association (SikhPA) in London, was taken up by several Sikh organizations, including Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which organized langars to promote the values of service and brotherhood.
The students and staff of National University of Singapore were treated to a communal meal. Rows of carpets were laid out on campus, and people from all ethnicities sat down to dal-chawal and rotis, served with the local rose-flavoured milk drink, bandung. Sandhya Deep Kaur, a law graduate, had helped organize the langar along with her friends, most of them of Punjabi origin. “There is racial harmony in Singapore and an openness to different religious traditions. We got a very encouraging response to the langar,” says Sandhya. Next in line is a langar at Singapore’s Singh Sabha, where non-Sikhs, especially children, have been invited to participate in the preparation of the meal.
Elsewhere locals in London, California and New York did not just partake in langars in their area but also volunteered in seva. “As the word spread, we had English locals approaching us with donations. Many of our Sikh volunteers shared stories of strangers walking up to them to appreciate the concept as a solution to food scarcity,” says Rupinder Kaur Virdee, the London-based press director of Sikh Press Association.
Langar’s customary format is changing in other ways as well. The platter has adapted to the tastes of the young. When the group, Basics of Sikhi, organized a langar at Delhi University, students were served hot vegetarian soybean ‘chaamp’ straight from a restaurant. “Likewise, at langars held for corporate employees in the national capital, fruit juices were served. The attempt was to take langar out of the Gurdwara to people of all communities,” says Opinder Preet Singh Khalsa, a key member of the organizing team.
Anne, a French national living in Chandigarh says, “Sikhism and Langar, in particular, have given me immense peace and I have been attending all langars held in Chandigarh. It is a great thing to sit and have food with someone you don’t know. Besides, people from different communities cook and serve food.”
All these efforts combined to make Langar Week a hit on social media, with even European volunteers posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook. Jasjit Singh of Basics of Sikhi in Amritsar said a high point of the campaign was the inter-faith lunch organized at Jama Masjid with Sikhs and Muslims having food side by side. He says it was overwhelming to see lines of religion blur and economic prejudices shatter along the food mile.
Source- Times Of India
Its overwhelming to watch how Langar Week has united all FAITHS blurring the lines of religion & prejudices!