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Sikhs in Northampton town serve free hot meals to the poor on Sundays

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NewsGram Staff Writer 

London: The Sikh community in Northampton town in Britain is offering free hot meals to the homeless and the poor every Sunday, a report of the Northampton Chronicle said.

A Sikh leader, Amarjit Atwal, was quoted as saying that the numbers queuing up for the free food had been growing each week.

There were about 140 people over the last two weeks who came to eat, he said.

“Last November we were having 20 people but more are coming all the time now,” Atwal said.

“I would say about two-thirds are homeless, living in doorways with all their belongings. Some prefer to live like that. But most of the rest are vulnerable people … who cannot always afford hot meals.

“There are some people who tell us they have not had a hot meal for three days,” he said.

“I think they come to us because they rely on services that are only there during the week. They need more support at weekends.”

Atwal noted that many of those he spoke to were educated but problems like benefit cuts and wrong decisions cost them their jobs, homes and families, forcing them into poverty.

The Sikh community does not take cash donations but accepts clothes and other useful material.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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Five Years of Massacre: Sikh Community in US Continue to Hail Act Of Kindness

Devout male followers of the Sikh faith, a monotheistic religion that originated in Northern India, keep long beards and wear turbans, and often are confused with Muslims

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Six people were killed when a white supremacist attacked the Gurdwara or Sikh Temple of Wisconsin five years ago. VOA

Aug 06, 2017: Over the past year, minorities across the United States have increased their outreach to the public and efforts to make their voices heard amid fears of a White Supremacy movement.

The Sikhs of Oak Creek, however, were working to raise awareness of their faith and uplift their community long before 2016.

On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page killed six believers of the Sikh faith in their house of worship, a Gurdwara, outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Mourners attend the funeral and memorial service for the six victims of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Aug. 10, 2012. VOA

In the five years since, members of the Gurdwara have organized scholarships, blood drives, 6K walks and runs, and presentations on understanding the Sikh faith in local schools.

“My outreach is also a coping mechanism,” Pardeep Kaleka, whose father was one of the six victims, told VOA. “Processing my own pain and hurt… I’d rather just go into the community and make it better for everybody else.”

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Members of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, prepare a communal meal for the community. VOA

Immediately after the shooting, the Sikh community increased its efforts to invite people of all faiths to come to the temple and learn about Sikhism.

But Navdeep Gill, who co-founded the temple’s outreach program, “Serve to Unite,” with Kaleka, says they soon realized they also needed to spread awareness outside the temple after members of the community said they were uncomfortable attending Sikh services.

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“Peacekeepers” at a Montessori school made this mural after a workshop with “Serve to Unite” – the organization started by the son of one of the victims of the 2012 shooting. VOA

“Whatever faith you practice, whatever community you come from, you should feel comfortable attending an event,” said Gill, who was tasked with organizing events commemorating the 5th anniversary of the shooting. “Whether that’s in schools, churches, telling other people who Sikhs are, as well as trying to learn about other people and see where the commonalities exist.”

Also Read: California Sikh community Raises Money to keep City’s Fireworks Show Alive

 Saturday’s 6K run is the 5th instance of the annual event. The blood drive was added three years ago to the August 5 activities.
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A man completes the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin’s 6k “Chardhi Kala” Run with a high five. VOA

This year, members of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin had their first float in the 4th of July parade. Though organizers were initially skeptical, Gill said it was well received and prompted non-Indian neighbors to strike up conversations with participating Sikhs.

Devout male followers of the Sikh faith, a monotheistic religion that originated in Northern India, keep long beards and wear turbans, and often are confused with Muslims.

And while some minorities across the country have expressed feeling less safe since U.S. President Donald Trump’s election, Oak Creek Sikhs say the political climate hasn’t affected their community.

“Honestly, nothing has changed,” Navdeesh Toor, an Oak Creek resident and member of the Gurdwara for the past eight years, told VOA.

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People gather in Lafayette near the White House, Aug. 8, 2012 to participate in a candlelight vigil against hate violence. VOA

Toor said that although hate crimes have received more media attention in the past year, which some attribute partly to divisive rhetoric heard during President Trump’s campaign and first few months in office, she doesn’t see any impact on her community.

“A vast majority of Wisconsinites voted for Trump, including minorities and a lot of desis [South Asians] I know,” she said, adding that she didn’t fault her neighbors for voting for “the lesser of two evils” in 2016.

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Regardless of politics in Washington, survivors of the 2012 shooting, along with their friends, family, and fellow members of the Gurdwara, have not lost momentum in their pursuit of engaging the community.

“It’s not just about organizing 5Ks, it’s about… what we’re really being asked to do spiritually,” Kaleka said.

“I think there’s a reason [the shooting] happened, a reason those people who stood up made that sacrifice. This community has really stood up.” (VOA)

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Mahinder Pal Singh: For the First time a Sikh in Pakistan secures a place in the National Cricket Academy

Pakistan's cricketing history has only seen seven non-muslim cricketers representing the country

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Pakistan Cricket Team. Facebook

Lahore, December 20, 2016: Pakistani cricket has seen Christians and Hindus represent the country at home and abroad, but for the first time a Sikh has secured a place in the National Cricket Academy.

Mahinder Pal Singh, who hails from Nankana Sahib (Lahore), is among the list of top 30 emerging cricketers in the country, Geo News reported.

In a video circulating on social media, Singh expressed his desire to make Pakistan proud and thanked his coach and the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board for having faith in him and recognising his talent.

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Singh said he was proud to be able to represent the entire Pakistani Sikh community and to have secured a place at the Pakistani Cricket Academy.

Pakistan’s cricketing history has only seen seven non-muslim cricketers representing the country.

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Over the years Pakistan cricket has been missing out on on regular international cricketing events on home soil, which has been served as the prime reason for the Pakistani cricket that was facing a dearth of new talent. (IANS)

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An Indian Sikh organises Exhibition of Sacred Trees Images in Pakistan

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The Golden Temple (Representational image). Pixabay

Lahore, November 27, 2016: An Indian Sikh, for the first time, has held an exhibition at Guru Nanak’s birthplace and displayed the images of sacred trees in Sikhism. Many are unaware that after these sacred trees, almost 60 Gurudwaras have been named in India as well as in Pakistan.

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The exhibition has been put up in the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, in the main parikrama of the Nankana Sahib Gurudwara.
Last Friday, The exhibition, inaugurated by retired Indian IAS officer DS Jaspal, comprises 21 panels.

Each of the panel has an image of the sacred tree from the Jaspal’s book ‘Tryst with Trees’, along with a brief description of its features, its health status, and also the historical and religious background of the shrine in relation to the tree.

According to PTI, “Prominent Sikhs, including members of the Pakistan Sigh Gurdwara Parbhandik Committee, attended the inauguration ceremony.”

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On this occasion, Khalid Ali, the Additional Secretary, Evacuee Property Trust Board Pakistan, said, the exhibition “sends a strong message not only for peace and religious harmony but also for nature and environment and, in particular, of the relevance of religion in promoting conservation efforts.”

He complimented Jaspal’s pioneering research in documenting, with beautiful photographs, and sacred Sikh shrines in India as well as in Pakistan which are named after trees. Khalid further added that the exhibition will be of interest not only to the Sikhs, but also to all nature lovers.

In a pictorial book, Jaspal documented with photographs of 58 sacred Sikh shrines in India and Pakistan which are named after trees, rather 19 species of trees.

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Jaspal, has held exhibitions in Washington, New York, Oslo, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Lahore travelled extensively in India and in Pakistan for over a period of three years in order to compile the material and the photographs for the book.

by NewsGram team with PTI inputs