Sunshine among the clouds: ‘Oxygen langars’

Dr. Smriti Sharma,
Associate Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi

‘Be a part of the solution not the problem.’

Corona pandemic is wreaking havoc on India right now. But as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. And Sikhs have proved this to be true. ‘Langar’ is a very sacred concept in Sikhism whereby food and drink are provided to the needy regardless of ethnic, caste or religious background. This concept of ‘langar’ was extended to providing oxygen in Delhi. When it was noticed that people are dying because of shortage of oxygen and there is lot of black marketing going on for oxygen, the Sikhs religious bodies came up with a solution. The idea of ‘oxygen langar’ is so simple yet so profound and restores one’s faith in humanity. It is a ray of hope among all this chaos and panic that the pandemic has caused.

This 'oxygen langar' right now is available in Delhi, free of cost, at - Fateh Diwas Park opposite Pacific Mall at Tagore Garden, GK-1 Gurdwara, Rajouri Garden Gurdwara and at Kirti Nagar. The 'langars' also help in arranging beds for COVID patients. In addition to that, the langars are providing free food delivery for COVID patients at their doorstep. We interacted with various beneficiaries of such oxygen langars. They were extremely relieved and were thankful for this selfless service. In fact, one of the person who had come to get oxygen for his ailing mother got emotional and said that he feels that Waheguru has saved his mother. He was running from pillar to post to acquire oxygen and was asked exorbitant price for the same by some black marketer. He got this information of oxygen langar from his friend and could not believe that oxygen was being distributed free. He was all praises for the arrangement and he said that there was no discrimination based on status, religion or cast.

We had the good fortune of interacting with Shri Manjit Singh GK, former president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, under whose supervision the langar at GK-1 Gurdwara began operations. He told the team of ‘Dadhichi Deh Daan Samiti’ that the committee has decided to refill small oxygen cylinders of 5-7 kg. In one day they re-fill some 200 cylinders. They are buying oxygen cylinders at high prices, but the cost does not matter if it is the question of saving humanity.

This has been done to provide relief from black marketing of medical oxygen. Shri Manjit urged the managers of all religious places to come forward to serve the public in the pandemic.

Following Delhi’s example, many other cities in India, for example, Kolkata, also started ‘Oxygen Langars’.

Our Samiti celebrates this spirit of humanism and thinking about others in the face of a crises. These stories of hope and positivity inspire us and we are sure that armed with such altruism and selflessness, ‘India shall overcome’.

After every storm, the sun will shine!!