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The free Kitchen open to people of every religion: Guru ka langar

No one is turned away

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People in Gurdwara having Langar, Wikimedia commons

By Pashchiema Bhatia

Guru Ka Langar is a tradition where people sit on the ground, at the same level (exception for people with disabilities and elderly), regardless of religion, caste, beliefs etc. and have food served to them by volunteers. The concept of langar was initiated by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji based on his dictum of earning bread by honest means and sharing it with others and donating one-tenth of one’s income for a noble cause. Any time a Gurdwara (or, Gurudwara) is open; everyone is welcomed to have a hot meal. It has ensured the participation of women and children to volunteer and render service to mankind. Preparations of the meal are done by women and children help in serving the food.

In the most revered Gurdwara, The Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab , India , at least 50,000 devotees or tourists are served daily in the community kitchen and the number becomes almost double on special occasions. Even the Mughal King Akbar sat among common people and shared langar.

Women preparing roti for langar, Wikimedia commons
Women preparing roti for langar, Wikimedia commons

Bhai Desa Singh in his Rehitnama says, “A Sikh who is ‘well to do’ must look to the needs of his poor neighbours. Whenever he meets a traveler or a pilgrim from a foreign country, he must serve him devotedly”. It is believed that when you are having Guru ka langar, you experience Chadti kalan (the feeling of being lifted up) and Sarbhat da bhala (the loving intent of desiring the best for all people). Before serving the food, a prayer (Ardas) is recited and a sacred knife (Kirpan) is passed through for blessings.

The food prepared in the Guru ka langar is mostly vegetarian (except nihangs sometimes serve meat referred as Mahaprashad on Hola Mohalla). The reason of serving vegetarian food might be to welcome people from every religion as Hindus don’t eat beef and Muslims didn’t eat non-halal meat therefore opening langar to both the main religious groups of India. As the congregations are mostly of Indian origin therefore the food served is based on Indian cuisine. This tradition of offering food to everyone and the practice of Seva (selfless service to others) is highly valued in Sikhism. The Seva of serving Guru ka langar has become associated with the identity of Sikhs and is popular in every part of the Globe wherever there is Gurdwara and major Sikh diaspora. At the 2004 World Parliament of Religions conference in Barcelona, Spain, Sikhs made a huge impression by serving Guru ka Langar to all the participants. It was a reflective exhibition of the assets of diversity, humility and loving service to all.

People are supposed to take off their shoes and cover their heads while sharing langar. Everyone is welcome to Gurdwaras eradicating the distinction between the rich and the poor and also curbing egoism as everyone sits together and eats the same food.

Pashchiema is an intern at NewsGram and a student of journalism and mass communication in New Delhi. Twitter: @pashchiema5

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More Than 150,000 Indians in UAE Register to Return to India

150,000 Indians in UAE register to fly home

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UAE Indians aeroplane
More than 150,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have registered to fly home during the coronavirus pandemic, as per the latest figures with the e-registration launched by the Indian missions. Pixabay

More than 150,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have registered to fly home during the coronavirus pandemic, as per the latest figures with the e-registration launched by the Indian missions.

“As of 6 p.m. on Saturday, we received more than 150,000 registrations,” Consul General of India in Dubai, Vipul told Gulf News on Saturday.

A quarter of them want to return after losing their jobs, he said.

“About 40 per cent of the applicants are workers and 20 per cent are professionals. Overall, 25 per cent have cited job-loss as the reason for leaving the country.”

UAE Indians aeroplane
Keralites comprise more than one million of the 3.4 million Indians in the UAE and they have registered to fly back home. Pixabay

About 10 per cent of the applicants are visit/tourist visa holders who were stranded after the flight suspension and lockdown in India. The rest of the applicants include those with medical emergencies, pregnant women and students, Vipul said.

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The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Wednesday night began the e-registration for forming the database of their citizens wishing to fly home.

While there are Indians registering to return to various states, the Consul-General told Gulf News that 50 per cent of the applicants were from the state of Kerala.

Keralites comprise more than one million of the 3.4 million Indians in the UAE.

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Vipul however, said the missions have not yet received intimations from the Indian government about the mode of transporting the stranded citizens, the pricing of the tickets or how the COVID-19 test results of applicants would be assessed for their journey.

“There are high-level discussions going on regarding these things,” he said, adding that the e-registration would be open “till the time the issue (of repatriating Indians wishing to return home) stablilises”. (IANS)

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More Than 32k Indians in UAE Register to Fly Back Home

Over 32,000 Indians in UAE register to fly home

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UAE Indians
"Workers in acute distress, medical cases, pregnant women, the elderly and the group Indians stranded in Dubai Airport," are likely to get first priority when the government resumes services for repatriation, he said. (Representational Image). Pixabay

More than 32,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wishing to fly home during the COVID-19 pandemic registered their details after the Indian missions in the country launched the e-registration of expats, it was reported on Friday.

“As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, we received more than 32,000 registrations,” Consul General of India in Dubai Vipul told Gulf News.

UAE Indians
More than 32,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wishing to fly home during the COVID-19 pandemic registered their details after the Indian missions in the country launched the e-registration of expats. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Wednesday night announced they were accepting the registration.

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Within minutes of announcing the launch of the registration process, the site faced technical issues prompting the missions to delete the tweet about it and repost it hours later on Thursday morning.

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The Consul General however, reiterated that the registration in the databank does not guarantee a seat on the initial flights that would be arranged to repatriate the most deserving categories of people.

“Workers in acute distress, medical cases, pregnant women, the elderly and the group Indians stranded in Dubai Airport,” are likely to get first priority when the government resumes services for repatriation, he said. (IANS)

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Indian Missions in UAE Begin E-Registrations for Expats Wishing to Travel Back Home

UAE Indian missions open e-registration for expats wanting to go home

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India UAE
In the notice, the mission stated: "All Indian nationals in the UAE are hereby informed that the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of India, Dubai, have uploaded a form for (the) collection of data to create a database of Indians who wish to travel back to India under COVID-19 situation." Pixabay

Indian missions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have opened e-registration for expats wishing to travel back home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported on Thursday.

In a Wednesday nigh night tweet, the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi announced the details of data collection through the website of the Indian Consulate in Dubai, reports Gulf News.

In the notice, the mission stated: “All Indian nationals in the UAE are hereby informed that the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi and the Consulate General of India, Dubai, have uploaded a form for (the) collection of data to create a database of Indians who wish to travel back to India under COVID-19 situation.”

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But Minutes after posting the tweet, the mission deleted it citing “technical issues” as some users were having trouble accessing the page.

India UAE
Indian missions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have opened e-registration for expats wishing to travel back home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the Consulate General of India in Dubai reposted the link, warning that it may take “some time for the page to load due to high traffic”.

Several Indians in the UAE, including pregnant women, elderly patients, stranded visit visa holders and those who lost jobs, have been requesting their government to help them fly back home during the travel restrictions and lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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As first reported by Gulf News on Monday, the Indian missions were readying to compile the details of those wishing to return home following reports from India that the Indian government was making preparations to receive its citizens from abroad.

The missions were awaiting more clarifications from New Delhi regarding the details that need to be collected and “some more issues” that needed to be clarified, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Pavan Kapoor had told Gulf News on Monday. (IANS)