Wed | Feb 19, 2020

The spirit of giving and spreading joy

Published:Sunday | November 24, 2019 | 12:32 AM
School children who participated in feeding breakfast to the residents of Marie Atkins Night Shelter in Downtown Kingston pose for a photograph.

As part of a series of events being staged around world to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, which is fifth-largest religion in the world, the High Commission of India joined hands with the Indian community in Kingston in organising a charity event for serving langar (free meals) and distributing gifts to the underprivileged on Sunday, November 10 at the Marie Atkins Night Shelter in downtown Kingston, for which the concept of sharing as explained by Guru Nanak was the driving force.

The high commission engaged schoolchildren for this initiative to inculcate, nurture, and strengthen the concept of sharing and caring. The event came also as it comes close on the heels of Christmas, and the Yuletide season is encased in the spirit of giving back and spreading cheer.

“Irrespective of what faith you follow, there is a considerable importance attached to benevolence, and there cannot be a better time to organise such events than closer to Christmas,” said Girish Juneja, head of chancery at the High Commission of India in Jamaica.

“It was amazing to see [that] the members of the community, with their young children, instead of relaxing for a lazy Sunday morning, preferred to get up, dress up, and set up,” he said, adding that this spirit of giving back was inspired by the teaching of Guru Nanak – if you are helping the needy, you are making rich contributions to the kitty of the Supreme Lord.

Great appreciation

Children were passionately involved in feeding the residents of the night shelter, who were appreciative of this gesture.

The High Commission of India deliberately involved children of an impressionable age in the sewa (service to the humanity).

Rohit Chandnani, a grade-seven student at Ardenne High School, said it was a joy to prepare gift packets along with his peers for the event and to distribute them.

The head of chancery said that it was their firm belief that when these children grow up, they will actively involve themselves in giving back to the society and will not step back from holding the hands of those who are somehow left at the bottom of the barrel. “This is a small gesture with gigantic ramifications,” he said.

Janhavi Chandnani, one of the organisers, called their effort “just a drop in the ocean”.

Diya Khemlani, who sponsored the meals, said that this initiative “a privilege to be part of the event” and reiterated her family’s continued support. Her daughter, Tarini Khemlani, a grade-eight student at Campion College, was among the schoolchildren who participated in the feeding initiative.

As the birth anniversary of this saint from India is being observed, his true message and teachings continue to guide humanity with a wish of sarbat da bhala; (the well-being of all human beings).