Monday, January 5, 2009

Sikh Hospitality

I don't know what Andrew Zimmern HASN'T eaten. If anyone's watched any of his shows (Bizzare Foods/Bizzare Worlds with Andrew Zimmern) on the Travel Channel, you'd know what I'm talking about! He eats anything; savory, sweet, sour, freshly made, old... you name it, he's devoured it... willingly and eagerly.

He's traveled to many countries all over the world. Some of the foods he's tried are barnacles, silk worms, jellied moose nose, white fish ice cream, fish pickled for over a year (not refrigerated!!), tuna eye, porcupine, stuffed frogs, live worms, veal cheeks, 5 year old sushi, blood soup, larvae, cow urine tonic, raw camel kidney, cow vein stew, freeze dried rotten potatos, donkey skin, and many more wonderously, delicious delicacies! (I'm joking about the last part haha, ewww!!)

A few weeks ago I was watching an episode of him in New Delhi, India. It wasn't anything he ate which stood out in this episode to me more than an experience he had there.

Andrew went to a Sikh temple to take part in a daily routine they have there. The temple has a huge hall and kitchen where they cook food for people to eat. They don't ask whether a person has food at home or not, they don't care what their gender or financial background is... they don't even care what the persons' faith is. Everyday close to 10,000 people go to the temple to have a meal. Not only that, but all the chefs are volunteers and all the food servers are volunteers as well! They even have volunteers who do the dishes after meals are eaten. All you have to do is go there and eat. The food is vegan (adhering to Sikh dietary laws) so it's suitable for Hindus and Muslims too.

I think this is a great thing. Why do they do this? Because they think it's their humanitarian duty as Sikhs to serve their community who may be in need. Hmm.. sounds familiar..! I wonder if there are any masaajid anywhere in the world who do this. It's not like this is something the temple does once a year, once a month, or once a week... this is something they do everyday. There are people who spend each day there rolling naan, stirring dhal, or washing dishes. All day people are wandering in and out, grabbing a plate and sitting down for a warm, filling meal with thousands of others.

Though I've never heard of any Muslim group anywhere doing this, I really hope somewhere does or is working towards something like this... especially in overseas countries where some wealthier people have the means to afford to donate large quantities of food for people to cook where people are suffering for just a piece of bread a day.

Ironically, after this meal he went to Kashmir to partake in a customary feast Muslims there take part in called a 'wazwan'. This feast is made up of... *drumroll* 36 different courses!!! Yes - all in one sitting! What a waste of food! How embarrassing. The Sikhs are handing out meals to thousands of people without charge, and the Muslims are sitting down shoveling pounds of kebabs and rice down their throats. Ughh..


kakchik said...

ewwww for the first part
wow for the second
and arghhhhh for the last.

here in my hometown, we only do this in Ramadhan.

Yasmine said...

Salaam sister
Totaly agree with you.Why dont our mosques in the west have such a service!In India/Pakistan some mosques /madrasahs have this where other regardless of faith can come have a meal all done with volunteers and in some cases paid workers.You do have to be careful some shrines(with muslim so called saints) also serve food that has been given as a offering by people whose needs have been fulfilled at the shrine( bi'dah and also shirk).That would be haram to eat for us muslims.


Noshi said...

SubhanAllah!! That's really...sad. But, mashaAllah to the Sikhs. It's pathetic where to Ummah is going. *deep sigh*

hijabee said...

Never heard of this, subhanAllah. I don't know much about Sikhs and what they beleive in, maybe I should research it but it's beautiful that they are doing this!

Anonymous said...

yes this is all part and parcel of being a sikh, what there doing is called 'SEWA' :-)

Anonymous said...

This is known as selfless service (Sewa) and is promoted as one of the tenets of Sikhism. The kitchen (Langar)itself is funded by regular donations of food and money by the sangat (worshippers). The wonderful thing is that its is most definitely open to everyone, whatever creed/caste/faith. Sikhism is a monesthetic faith that defines God as being within each person and promotes a truthful lifestyle, equality and kinship of all mankind, whatever creed, gender or faith. It is also preaches a warrior/saint lifestyle with each Sikh given the duty to defend the oppressed.

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

Thanks Anon for the info. Really good to hear there are selfless people out there!

Anonymous said...

There is a component of Islam in Sikhism. It is very fascinating. Indian culture on the whole is rich and diverse with many languages, faiths, and cultures.

eda said...

I have experienced that when I was in ludhiana which is so close the Golden Temple (mecca of the sikhs). I am from the nation who is very hospitable for others but those people scared me much:)) I love their style and hospitality. Next time I get used to that and definitely I wont care.

selamun aleykum

A Sinful Slave said...

(slmz)jks Assalaamu'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh

That's a very interesting article...I'm asking permission to steal it...i'll give u credits inshaAllah

But on a more serious note, I know we haven't been the best of exemplary sources like we should, but I find this as a great eye-opener and back to earth thing.

Ima bring it up in next Halaqah inshaAllah...

ur beloved Jake =) [lol-2 bad the pic gives away my real identity! *sigh*]

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh jaiknab, you're more than welcome to spread the word to others. good to hear you're involved in a halaqah alhamdulillah.. i really miss my sisters halaqah!