Celebrations for the 400th Prakash Parv of Guru Teg Bahadur on May 1 were relatively muted across the gurdwaras of Delhi.
But in the spirit of service, select gurdwaras organized ‘oxygen langar’ by creating facilities on the gurdwara premises for people to walk in and utilize the oxygen on offer for free.
While the usual rush of devotees was missing, food was also prepared in the langars, but this was for distribution among homes of the needy and Covid-affected.
Manjinder Singh Sirsa, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), said that with the congregation of devotees not allowed due to Covid, the focus was on ensuring people on the streets didn’t go without food or without a bed.
Sirsa said a 250-bedded Covid-care facility with 100 oxygen concentrators had been set up at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib, which is likely to become operational in the next two days.
“The oxygen langar at Gurdwara Damdama Sahib was started to provide the gas to people in dire need of it. However, we have now identified gurdwaras where a proper bedded facility can be created. We have already set one up at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib and aim to set up others at Gurdwara Damdama Sahib and Bala Sahib as well,” added Sirsa.
Maninder Singh Chaddha, 55, who visited Gurdwara Damdama Sahib for oxygen on Saturday, sad, “This is how Gurpurab should be celebrated this year. I also pray things will improve soon,” Chaddha added.
Other smaller gurdwaras, including the Singh Sabha Gurdwaras in Indirapuram and Model Town, also pitched in, providing oxygen langar and cylinder refills along with NGOs and student volunteers.
Suraj Sardana, a volunteer at the Model Town oxygen langar, said around 500 oxygen cylinders are being refilled each day. “We are doing it free of cost on behalf of the gurdwara and everyone else involved,” said Sardana.
We require details such as the name of the patient, the Aadhaar details and a doctor’s prescription on oxygen requirement. Once these are provided, people can get an oxygen refill on the spot.”
While oxygen refills were earlier being offered at the gurdwara in Greater Kailash I, Sirsa said this was halted to prevent crowding.
“We don’t want temporary arrangements, so we are setting up proper centers in gurdwaras where people can be treated as well,” he said.
At the major gurdwaras, including Bangla Sahib and Sisganj Sahib, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited on Saturday for Gurpurab, the langars prepared food for distribution.