Now, Langars for Non-Sikhs Too By Harpreet Bajwa - CHANDIGARH http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/Now-Langars-for-Non-Sikhs-Too/2013/12/30/article1971835.ece Gurudwaras across the globe have been pivotal to Punjabi confluence and a refuge for them away from home since time immemorial. But now they are providing succor and piping hot food to people from other religions and nationalities as well The langar or free community kitchen run at gurudwaras was started by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, and today is also acting as a lifeline for many non-Sikhs across the world at a time of global recession. According to the Sikh Federation UK, 5000 meals are now served to non-Sikhs by UK’s 250 gurudwaras every week. “It is estimated that these meals are served to non-Sikhs in UK gurudwaras besides the meals served to homeless and destitute people outside the gurudwaras,” says Gurinder Singh Joshan, head of political engagement, Sikh Federation UK. If Canada has a Sikh-run Seva Food Bank that provides food to all Canadians in need, the langars in UK are feeding many non-Sikhs as well as Europeans. “Due to recession, the number of non-Sikh devotees from various nationalities eating at langars has increased. There is no restriction on anyone from doing so as long as they are not intoxicated. Now many gurudwaras also cook langar and distribute it among the homeless and destitute people around the city,” Joshan adds. At Birmingham’s Ramgarhia Gurudwara, the scene is no different. A member of the congregation, Surinder Singh says, “More people from various nationalities have begun to come in for langar. Some are low-paid workers and cannot afford a meal. Many women and kids also come to partake of langar.” Former chairman, Council of Sikh Gurudwaras, Birmingham, and Councillor, G S Atwal, agrees. “Now besides Sikhs, people from other religions and nationalities are also paying obeisance at the gurudwaras and having langar as we do, sitting down in the proper way,” says Atwal.