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BBC News - Sikh temples feel strain of helping the homeless

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I'm not comfortable with the idea of random security firms or even ones owned by apneh roaming Gurudwaras like stormtroopers and doing the stuff that some of these companies have a reputation for. The Jews have built well protected Synagogues for themselves in the UK, we should see how they do it.

If we can defend our Gurudwaras during riots than we should also be able to do something about this. Unemployed youth, volunteers, local workers on lunch breaks, other Sikhs with days off should be roped in to help. It's just an idea, I dont want to start arguments. A lot of Sikhs have military, security, bouncer, guard etc experience in the UK and ultimately it is about sewa, rather than paying people to do what we should do. The Gurudwara could cover expenses for people who volunteer and are worried about travel costs etc.

Any other ideas?

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It's sad but I think Gurdwaras need to start rethinking their open to all policy. There is blatant disrespect to our race and religion going on at times too. Prostitutes are using the toilets at some of our Gurdwaras in southall to get ready and then they are having breakfast at the Gurdwara before they start their day (so I have been told). I have personally thrown out a polish man who was taking drugs and getting high in the toilet. There was a black man with his white girlfriend who after having langar, was taking the mick out of the giani singing kirtan by singing along to it in a stupid way and laughing. Talk about being grateful or what.

I think enough is enough. You get all sorts who are coming to our Gurdwara and just treating it like a soup kitchen and then dissing us in the process. Yes Gurdwaras are open to all, but that doesn't mean just letting in anybody for the sake of it. I think this deserves more attention.

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I understand your point kalsingh but there should be other way around to deal with this issue. We all need to remember that it was the guru sahib jees open door policy that we had true gem like Bhagat puran Singh jee who adopted sikhi only because he was heartily felt 'jee aiyaan nuh' experience by Gurdwara during his tough time. I also know one couple who also got into sikhi by openness of Gurdwara sahib.

One time our family akhand patt was going on in our local Gurdwara and I was devastated by looking at this very nice jatha based gurdwara rejecting (over and over) Spain based budget travelers who were enroute to Yosemite park and they even got rejected to sleep overnight outside of the building. Paranoid Management internal reply was that maybe this couple was sent by Indian govt. I was total shocked and took that couple to our home and they left early in the morning. They told us that they had a very nice experience of staying in gurdwaras all over in India and love our Sikhi concepts.

I think what is needed is that busy Gurdwara should hire in-house security guard and have volunteers covering some shifts. However looking at the pay these managements give to ragi jathas, I think hiring security is a very distant dream.

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I understand your point kalsingh but there should be other way around to deal with this issue. We all need to remember that it was the guru sahib jees open door policy that we had true gem like Bhagat puran Singh jee who adopted sikhi only because he was heartily felt 'jee aiyaan nuh' experience by Gurdwara during his tough time. I also know one couple who also got into sikhi by openness of Gurdwara sahib.

One time our family akhand patt was going on in our local Gurdwara and I was devastated by looking at this very nice jatha based gurdwara rejecting (over and over) Spain based budget travelers who were enroute to Yosemite park and they even got rejected to sleep overnight outside of the building. Paranoid Management internal reply was that maybe this couple was sent by Indian govt. I was total shocked and took that couple to our home and they left early in the morning. They told us that they had a very nice experience of staying in gurdwaras all over in India and love our Sikhi concepts.

I think what is needed is that busy Gurdwara should hire in-house security guard and have volunteers covering some shifts. However looking at the pay these managements give to ragi jathas, I think hiring security is a very distant dream.

The social situation in parts of the UK is a 'teensy weensy' bit different to what you're on about in the US mate.

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Of course it's true that anyone can enter the Gurdwara. But for what? That's the point that is being missed here. Sinners and those looking for forgiveness and a way to reform are especially welcome.

When open door policy at Gurdwaras ends up bringing all sorts of people into a place that is supposed to be respected, and those people are not respecting the Gurdwara, then that policy needs to change I'm afraid. Open door policy needs to be looked at and used in context. Let in all colours and all creeds and people of all religious backgrounds, but not any old fool or fools for the sake of being proud of the open door policy.

The question and problem is how do you figure out who is in need of genuine help and who is not. The Gurdwara open to all policy is unique and something that Sikhs should be proud of due to our Gurus and I am not asking for it to be scrapped altogether. Something needs to be done about it but I don't know what. Security is an option but expensive and difficult to enforce.

Gurpreet, I'm afraid the story is completely different here in the UK in terms of people being rude to strangers.

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Look at it this way, the more mess and trouble we have to take care of, the more seva/phul we get, and maybe this will also force these gurudwara committee's to start using more of the income towards the sangats needs as opposed to lining their pockets with gold.

And if the khalsa was shasterdhari and tyar bar tyar like we are supposed to be, those people would piss their pants before starting a ruckus. We are now clearly seeing the effects of our weakness and our inability to follow rehit.

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It's sad but I think Gurdwaras need to start rethinking their open to all policy. There is blatant disrespect to our race and religion going on at times too. Prostitutes are using the toilets at some of our Gurdwaras in southall to get ready and then they are having breakfast at the Gurdwara before they start their day (so I have been told). I have personally thrown out a polish man who was taking drugs and getting high in the toilet. There was a black man with his white girlfriend who after having langar, was taking the mick out of the giani singing kirtan by singing along to it in a stupid way and laughing. Talk about being grateful or what.

I think enough is enough. You get all sorts who are coming to our Gurdwara and just treating it like a soup kitchen and then dissing us in the process. Yes Gurdwaras are open to all, but that doesn't mean just letting in anybody for the sake of it. I think this deserves more attention.

I agree. Gurdwaras are open to all, but only if they respect Sikhs and the Gurdwara. We could take strong deterrance steps to prevent people that want to cause trouble entering the Gurdwara e.g.by having signs in English to say no bad behaviour or intoxicants allowed. A few srong Singhs could be on hand to speak to trouble makers , they would soon get the message and not return and there would be no need for the Singhs. Of course let in all people of whatever background if they respect the Gurdwara.

Look at the Darbar Sahib they have Singhs on the entrances that have Shasters to prevent trouble makers entering and recently they took action against pick pockets and perverts that entered .At other Gurdwaras in india and in the West people trying to steal things from the Gurdwara have been dealt with, so nothing new.

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Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-21711980



Sikh temples feel strain of helping the homeless


By Divya Talwar BBC Asian Network


_66273959_gurdwarapic3.jpg


Every gurdwara has a langar where all people are welcome to a free meal





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."

"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 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


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.

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."


You can hear more on this story on Asian Network Reports at 1300 and 1700 GMT or listen back via the BBC iPlayer



---------------------------------------

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



-----------------------------------------------





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I agree. Gurdwaras are open to all, but only if they respect Sikhs and the Gurdwara. We could take strong deterrance steps to prevent people that want to cause trouble entering the Gurdwara e.g.by having signs in English to say no bad behaviour or intoxicants allowed. A few srong Singhs could be on hand to speak to trouble makers , they would soon get the message and not return and there would be no need for the Singhs. Of course let in all people of whatever background if they respect the Gurdwara.

Look at the Darbar Sahib they have Singhs on the entrances that have Shasters to prevent trouble makers entering and recently they took action against pick pockets and perverts that entered .At other Gurdwaras in india and in the West people trying to steal things from the Gurdwara have been dealt with, so nothing new.

I agree with you. We have an excess of people wanting to do sewa in the langar hall so maybe some of them could be told to stand outside the Gurdwara in hourly shifts to prevent anti-social elements entering. Signs in English outside the Gurdwara entrance are a good idea as people are more likely to see the signs at the entrance rather than those posted on a noticeboard inside. In the larger Gurdwaras maybe a sewadar could be available inside who can be contacted by any non-Sikh who wants to come to the Gurdwara and the protocol inside the Gurdwara can be explained to them. Although it might look like some non-Sikhs attend the Gurdwara just to get a free meal we should be aware that people like Peter Lowe who found the Gurdwara a sanctuary in his time of need will always have a positive attitude towards Sikhs and our religion. If we can handle the anti-social elements, then the current economic climate is a great opportunity for us to truly realise what a Gurdwara is all about.

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In Ilford we have an increase in Eastern European men attending the Gurdwara to eat Langar. This is where we have a bit of a communication breakdown as many of the Latvian, Luthianian and Polish men's English is not strong and many of the daytime elders, bibya and faujies English is also not strong which has lead to some heated situations. Perhaps we need some signs up in the Eastern European languages.

Our main issue in Ilford Gurdwaras during the day is the small volume of drunken or stoned men coming in for langar. Although, the numbers are very small, it's often intimidating for the elders and women who are present in the Gurdwara during the day. The evening's and weekends are not an issue as there is more sangat to take care of the situation. There needs to be some form of light security in the Gurdwaras during the weekdays if nothing but just to diffuse any issues and handle the anti-social behaviour.

Ultimately, when someone's out of their head, they will ignore all signs. Again this is where the security would be more beneficial. The Gurdwara is a public building and should always be open for all, however the safety of the sangat is also of importance so striking the balance is what is needed.

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In Ilford we have an increase in Eastern European men attending the Gurdwara to eat Langar. This is where we have a bit of a communication breakdown as many of the Latvian, Luthianian and Polish men's English is not strong and many of the daytime elders, bibya and faujies English is also not strong which has lead to some heated situations. Perhaps we need some signs up in the Eastern European languages.

Our main issue in Ilford Gurdwaras during the day is the small volume of drunken or stoned men coming in for langar. Although, the numbers are very small, it's often intimidating for the elders and women who are present in the Gurdwara during the day. The evening's and weekends are not an issue as there is more sangat to take care of the situation. There needs to be some form of light security in the Gurdwaras during the weekdays if nothing but just to diffuse any issues and handle the anti-social behaviour.

Ultimately, when someone's out of their head, they will ignore all signs. Again this is where the security would be more beneficial. The Gurdwara is a public building and should always be open for all, however the safety of the sangat is also of importance so striking the balance is what is needed.

Makes sense to have security if people come in intoxicated to the Gurdwara. people like that can be very violent to the Sangat and it makes sense for the committee and sevadars to arrange some form of security and have people aware of escalation points in an emergency.

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I say keep the open door policy, but at the same time implement the open hand across the face policy for any trouble maker. What would Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale or Akali Phoola Singh do if they saw someone making trouble at the Gurdwara? You think they would just tolerate it? A Gurdwara is the house of your Guru not some community center where bad behavior needs to be tolerated.

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BBC Asian Network "Investigating" Why Sikhs Oppose Mixed Marriages In Gurdwaras


The Boring Broadcasting Corporation so called "Asian" Network are broadcasting a programme on Monday 11 March.


It will find out why there's a divide on the subject within Sikhs and will talk about people they have labelled as "wedding crashers" meaning the Brothers who are doing seva by trying to Gurdwaras on the wedding day where a Mixed marriage will take place.


From the advert they have put out, it will be very one sided as usual, anti Sikh, bracetking us all "asian" There will be allot of input of the couples wedding who have been disrupted by brothers.


Be alert and listen i doubt there will be anyone on the programme who give Akal Takhet point of view.


Remember the bbc asian network is communist run station, and an enemy.


They label us all "asian" to suite their propergander and diversity. They have no idea of what is going on the slums of our Cities cos they the bbc are all middle class and live in middle class areas and would have a real scare if they really experienced diversity.


WE ARE BRITISH SIKHS NOT BRITISH ASIAN


http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2013/11/asian-network-reports-speical.html


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I have seen at some Gurdwaras, mainly in india, where sevadars stand guard with shaster, both at the entrance and next to where you matha tek. This is what we need but is difficult to do.

No one should ever feel intimidated or uncomfortable in the house of the Guru.

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