Jump to content

BBC News - Sikh temples feel strain of helping the homeless


Recommended Posts

It is nearly lunchtime at the gurdwara and a group of women are busy preparing food in the large kitchen.

The smell of onions and Indian spices fills the large room.

The kitchen is open from 05:00 each morning and will feed langar - the free meal available to all worshippers - to nearly 300 people throughout the day.

Peter Lowe is a non-Sikh and is one of the people here this lunchtime, sitting on the carpeted floor of the langar hall with the worshippers.

Mr Lowe, 28, starting coming to the gurdwara when he was homeless a few years ago.

''I didn't have a job and I couldn't access any benefits, and I was struggling to feed myself'', he recalls while eating the langar.

"Someone told me about the gurdwara and how I could come here to eat a hot meal.

"When I first came, I didn't know what to expect. But everyone was very friendly and welcoming - they showed me around and never asked me for anything.

"I would come to the gurdwara a couple of times a week"

The homeless and hungry people coming to our gurdwaras is a growing trend we have seen in the last couples of years Sukhvinder Padda Sikh Council UK

"It gave me a lot of support knowing that there was somewhere I could go to when it was cold and wet outside and I had nowhere else to go.

''The gurdwara was like my sanctuary.''

Mr Lowe is now back on his feet and is studying at the University of Leicester.

The Guru Nanak gurdwara in Leicester is just one of the places of worship which has seen a sharp rise in the number of people turning up for food and shelter.

Anyone can enter a gurdwara, irrespective of religion, sex or background and all visitors are welcome to have langar.

There are about 300 gurdwaras across the UK and the Sikh Council UK says thousands of Sikhs and non-Sikhs are turning up each week for meals and shelter.

''The homeless and hungry people coming to our gurdwaras is a growing trend we have seen in the last couples of years,'' said Sukhvinder Padda, the assistant secretary general of the Sikh Council UK.

''The economic situation has affected many families and gurdwaras are experiencing the outcome of that.

''More people are turning to our places of worship because there is growing awareness about gurdwaras and the fact that they are open to everyone,'' said Mr Padda.

Continue reading the main story

What is langar?

Every gurdwara has a langar where all people are welcome to a free meal regardless of their sex, colour or religion. There are no rituals observed in the langar and everyone eats together. All the food is vegetarian so that no religious group is offended.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji established the langar because he rejected the Hindu caste system where people of different castes do not eat together. Guru Nanak Dev Ji wanted to stress the idea that everyone is equal. Everyone shares the tasks of preparation, cooking, serving and cleaning. This shows sewa - selfless service to the others in the sadhsangat (community), the gurdwara, and the world outside.

The teaching of the langar was continued by Guru Amar Das Ji (the third Guru) who made a rule that no one, however important, could see him until they had first eaten in the langar.

Source: BBC Religion

Discover more about Sikhism

Many gurdwaras are having to cope with problems of anti-social behaviour on their premises.

''This is a place of worship and on the board outside we have a clear sign saying, 'Please do not bring alcohol, cigarettes or drugs into the gurdwara','' said Sulakhan Singh Dard, the vice president of the Guru Nanak gurdwara.

''But we are having problems every single week with anti-social people who are drunk or taking drugs coming into our gurdwara.

"I have had to clean vomit in the toilets and pick up cigarette butts left in the langar hall.

''Some people become threatening or violent when we turn them away and we are regularly having to call the police.

"On one occasion someone we turned away told us he would come back with a double-barrel shotgun and shoot us all down," he said.

While most gurdwaras are happy to welcome homeless people or anyone that is hungry on to their premises they will not tolerate individuals who do not abide by the rules of the temple.

''It is not acceptable to have to deal with anti-social behaviour in our premises," said Mr Padda.

''The government, the social services and local authority should be doing more to help these people. It has become a real burden and stress for our gurdwara."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt


  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Lol. Way to be late to the party there Ravi. 
    • The liberal mafia attacking Amaan Baali because he committed the ultimate sin of standing up for the Sikh community in Kashmir and told the truth of the grooming of Sikh girls. Let's look at the background of these liberals who are now attacking Amaan. Monica Gill - failed model latched on to the Farmers agitation in order to gain more exposure and credibility. On the grooming of the Sikh girls in Kashmir she was solidly on the side of the paedophiles. She promoted the Quint narrative that the Sikh girl was an adult even when the paedophile admitted that he had started to target her when she was 12/13. Her sister apparently 'researched' the grooming of Sikh girls in Kashmir and found 'no evidence'!  Ravi Singh KA - we all know about him and his liberal agenda and his main focus on using the Panth's money to help our enemies and gain him a Nobel prize.  This Angadh Singh Khalsa guy - another liberal mupp.et using the Sikh identity to further the cause of the Jihadis. here's an article about him- his main claim to fame- being a dhimmi and helping in the Kashmiri plan to turn Kashmir into an Islamic state like Afghanistan. What could possibly go wrong for Kashmiri Sikhs when that happens? His views on the grooming of Sikhs - he is 'nuanced'! How Kashmir's Fraught Political Journey Led a Young Sikh Man Into Activism (thewire.in) You can judge the value of a person to the Panth by knowing the background of the people  who are attacking him.       
    • Is that Surrinder Shinda in the video?
    • There is a new Muslim bhangra singer from UK called Raf Saperra. Not only has he made a music video where he is lusting after and flirting with a Sikh girl who has a prominently displayed kada, but the song has been produced by so called Sikh Sukhshinder Shinda and the background of the video is full of so called Sikhs wearing kaday, egging on the Muslim singer to flirt with the Sikh girl and sing about her lustfully. Astonishingly there is an old Baba with a long white dhari and white dastaar in the video as well.  I have not seen one comment on the YouTube page that is concerned about this. I have also noticed that as part of his image in general this singer has avoided highlighting he is a Muslim, only reluctantly alluding to being from West Pakistan during an interview when asked.  Instead our so called Sikh people are all backing him up and featuring in his videos wearing huge kaday while holding alcohol bottles. There is a blurring of lines here with regards to identity which is normally used by this group to take advantage of our people. Our own people are stupidly helping this cause.   There are a few of his bhangra videos which also feature smoking (Muslim Pakistani  culture) which will probably confuse Apne thickos into thinking this is now a normal part of our own culture. They are making bhangra videos without making it clear they are Muslims and subtly putting their own culture into it. What has happened to these people's zameer?   This is the video.       
    • https://www.instagram.com/p/CVl7cy7PQpL/   Is this true?...First time i heard this  
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use