Khalsa Aid Sponsoring Sikh Children In Punjab

I recall going to Gobindwal district of Punjab with a few local Sevadars from a local Sikh NGO (Gurmat Gian College, Lud...

I recall going to Gobindwal district of Panjab with a few local Sevadars from a local Sikh NGO (Gurmat Gian College, Ludhiana) just over 3 years ago, they showed me around the villages in the area.

This organisation was actively providing education and Gurmat Parchar to underprivileged Sikh children. I was shocked by the level of poverty and drugs abuse in the villages and was not at all surprised to hear that a lot of Sikhs were now following Deras, Radaswamis or converting to Christianity.

This work still continues however the problem these highly committed (often unpaid) Sevadars are facing is that they are unable to access resources similar to the non-Sikh elements when providing the children's school fees, uniforms, school bus etc. This made me question whether any "Panthic" western Sikh organisations knew the extent of poverty in Panjab. Bearing this in mind the attraction these so called deras/Radaswamis have on the poor Sikhs of Panjab becomes understandable.

Since my intial visit I have now explored a few more areas in Panjab where the villages are sinking deeper and deeper into poverty. The economic situation in Panjab is creating a perfect breeding ground for anti-sikh elements to flourish. The socioeconomic conditions of these unfortunate people are being exploited to attract them away from Sikhi. I have recently been told that the Gurdaspur area of Panjab has become a focal point for Christian missionaries. I really and honestly don't blame the poor Sikhs for converting from their faith as living in dire poverty is probably close to being in hell. The poor and the underprivileged will follow anybody who fills their children's bellies and offers financial assistance. We have failed our poor and unfortunate brethren in the villages, these are the same people who lived side by side with our forefathers and who were always there in their hour of need. I am sure that if our forefathers could see how we have left our villages to rot they would be full of sorrow!!

I would urge all Sikhs to take action to prevent a great tragedy befalling our future generations. I strongly suggest that the Sangat save a few Pounds/Dollars a month and after a year take the saved money to their villages and do something useful for the poor around them or support existing groups who are carrying out fantastic Seva in Panjab.

As part of the PURE project Khalsa Aid has initially sponsored 60 sikh children in the Goindwal District. We are in the process of sponsoring more in other parts of Panjab. The criteria for these families are

  • That the whole family stays away from drugs and alcohol.
  • The family follow the Sikh Rehat Marayda.
  • The children attend Gurbani classes twice a week.

In times of conflict or social upheavals the religious faith of the person is key to remaining in Chardi Kalan so it's vital that along with providing education we must also provide spiritual guidance.

Khalsa Aid is also sponsoring sporting activities for these children. This will promote healthy living and will reinforce the anti drugs message.

The best way to take on the menace of drugs and deras etc is to counter their drive with a humanitarian mission aimed to reinstate the Sikh faith and prosperity in Panjab.

Ravinder Singh
Khalsa Aid

Recognise all of the human race as one

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