By opening their kitchen for the Tamil Nadu farmers who have been protesting for over three months at Jantar Mantar, the volunteers of Bangla Sahib Gurdwara have proved that kindness has neither boundaries nor religion.
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has taken the noble initiative, under which the volunteers are working round the clock to provide protesters with langar, a community kitchen service.
“These protesters at Jantar Mantar come from far places. Neither do they know the language nor where to go to eat. So we deliver langar food twice a day to them. We would have provided them accommodation too, but they haven’t asked for that service yet,” Manjit Singh, who is the President of DSGMC, told NDTV.
With 60 per cent deficit in rainfall, the farmers in Tamil Nadu had to start protesting, after having fallen prey to the worst ever drought to hit the state in the last 140 years.
A makeshift tent on the Jantar Mantar lane has been sheltering the farmers for more than 100 days now. Their demands include ₹40,000 crore drought relief package, farm loan waiver, setting up of the Cauvery Management Board by the centre, crop insurance for individual farmers, and remunerative prices for their produce.
“The bank has confiscated my wife’s jewellery, our savings and my family of four eats only once a day. We need to stay here to maintain pressure on the government to act and that is only possible if our stomachs are filled,” said Usilandian, a farmer from Thajavuur district, who is one among the many protesters dependent on the food brought by the volunteers.
The langar served by Bangla Sahib Gurdwara includes chapatis, dal, sabzi and kheer – feeding about 10,000 visitors every day at regular intervals. “We initially took the same food for the farmers but soon realised they prefer rice over chapatis. So now we send some rice too. After all, this is Guru ka Langar and we don’t discriminate,” Manjit explained.
While many have translated the humanitarian act as that of showing solidarity to the cause, the DSGMC president deems it otherwise. “Some consider it our allegiance to their protest but no, we are just serving those who seek Guru’s help,” he added.
“Our families are hungry back home and we are fighting for our survival here. The volunteers are godsend,” R Perumal, one of the leaders of the Tamil Farmers Association, told NDTV with his hands folded with gratitude.
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