Camera: Abhishek Ranjan
Video editor: Puneet Bhatia
Living up to the principles of Sikhism, ‘seva’ and ‘kirat’ karo, the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara in Delhi fed lakhs during the lockdown.
As India closed its religious places to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara also emptied out but its kitchen kept running.
The langar never stopped. Since the beginning of the lockdown, more than 1 lakh people in Delhi-NCR were got food on their plates because of the langar at the Gurdwara.
53 ‘sevaks’ or helping-hands are involved in the cooking and distribution of the langar. They have been working for at least 18 hours daily from the past 2 months.
Preparation of langar starts from 4am in the morning. Till the time langar reaches everyone the process of making langar continues.Harbhej Singh, In-charge, Gurudwara’s Community Kitchen
The management committee informs the ‘kitchen in-charge’ about the requirement of food daily. Accordingly the duties of langri team, sevadars and machine operators are assigned.
Paramjeet Singh Sells Kadas Outside Bangla Sahib From The Last 8-10 Years
Many like Paramjeet Singh had a business outside the Gurudwara. He used to sell ‘kadas’. The lockdown forced him to shut shop, so he decided to do ‘seva’ in the Gurudwara instead of returning home in Punjab.
Earlier I didn’t get time to commit to seva like this. Baba has given me the opportunity to be of service to the society.Paramjeet Singh
Two ‘Roti Makers’ Produce 10 Thousand Rotis In An Hour
... still the handmade rotis keep the langar rooted in tradition.
‘Kirat karo’ or work honestly and diligently is one of the three principles of Sikhism. It’s a major part of the langar tradition. Manual labour is a driving force for all the sevadars.
This is what our gurus have taught. Our guru has taught kirat karo (work honestly). Which means do work using your hands, feed people.Sukhwinder Kaur
Head Cook Balbir Singh Has Been Cooking Langar For The Past 20 Years
With team of 6 other langris, head langri/cook, Balbir Singh started cooking for 40,000 people in the beginning of the lockdown. The demand kept increasing and now they are cooking langar to feed close to 1 lakh people.
I was born in Delhi, so since childhood I have come here with my parents. From then on I developed the love for Gurudwara, for seva. Guru Maharaj has rewarded me that I am able to do seva.Balbir Singh, Head Cook
Dilbagh Singh Has Been Living And Serving In Bangla Sahib For Around 4 Years Now
Dilbagh Singh used to serve prasad to the devotees but since the lockdown there aren’t any devotees. So he took up the duty of washing utensils.
These utensils are washed morning and evening. First they are washed with hot water, then with with surf and dish washer. Then only they are put on the burner.Dilbagh Singh
The Langar Has Been Converted Into A Store Room
A student from Uttarakhand’s Kashipur, Azad Singh helps in loading the langar and looking after the raw food material from past 6-7 months.
Every day 2500 kg wheat, 1500 kg rice and 1000 kg dal is used to prepare this mega langar.
I must be around 3-years-old when I came here for the first time with my parents. Even back then I used to help make rotis.Azad Singh
Initially, the Gurudwara committee was sending the langar across to the NGOs who were distributing it on ground. Now they have started their own langar seva called, ‘langar on wheels’. 15 vans take off daily from Bangla Sahib Gurudwara daily loaded with food.
With Unlock 1, religious places will open their doors for the devotees and Bangla Sahib has put safety measures in place.
- Four exit and entry points to avoid gathering and crowding.
- Sanitiser stands placed at several spots.
- Sevadars have been given instructions and training.
I will request everyone that just like for 2 and half months we followed the guidelines of the government. Similarly, in the coming days we have to follow the guidelines. For the ‘darshan of Guru Sahib’ we have to keep these things in mind.Manjinder Singh Sira, President, Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee