The Sikh community is well-known for its Samaritan initiatives among many other virtues.
Since 2001, the Sikh Human Development Foundation in the USA provided scholarships to underprivileged students in Punjab. Sikh volunteers in Bangladesh were involved in kind gestures like feeding Rohingya refugees there. They even offered Gurudwaras for Eid Namaz during the floods in Dehradun.
Many such gestures of the community have helped thousands of people across the world.
In Mumbai, the Sikh Community is set to undertake another such initiative in 2019.
12 November 2019 marks the 550th Guru Nanak Gurpurab–the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
And to commemorate the founder of Sikhism, Gurudwaras in Mumbai have decided to open their doors to cancer patients.
They plan to create dormitories in various Gurudwaras across Mumbai for cancer patients and their relatives who have come to the city for treatments.
Manmohan Singh, the general secretary of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, told the Hindustan Times, “We already have 400 odd beds for cancer patients in different Gurudwaras across the city. We intend to increase this to 550 beds to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanakji in 2019.”
Authorities in the city’s Gurudwaras realised that hundreds of cancer patients arrive in Mumbai for treatments.
Those patients who are not from financially well-off backgrounds have nowhere to stay overnight. Since hotel or hostel rooms are additional costs to their treatment fees, several people sleep on the roads.
“We had observed that patients and their relatives who can’t afford to stay in the city sleep on the streets near the hospitals,” said Singh, adding, “We opened the doors to them, and that is how the initiative started.”
Further, the Gurudwaras aim to go beyond providing beds for the patients. They will be given four healthy meals every day, along with the provision for recreational activities and counselling sessions. Kulwant Singh, Vice President of the Sabha, said, “We are trying to build a healthy environment for patients so they can recover faster.”
Time and again, this community has undertaken initiatives, not just in the country but in various parts of the world, to help those in need.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)