Serving the society is at the core of all religions. In Sikhism ‘seva’ or selfless service constitutes the essence of Sikh faith. The goal of Sikh life is to go beyond any egocentric way of seeing the world and to realize the oneness of the world. Globally, Gurudwaras are known for their community services, where people regardless of their caste, creed or color are welcome. Apart from providing food and shelter, Gurudwaras are now increasingly providing free or highly subsidised medical services also.
Recently, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has decided to provide advanced medical care at a less than a fraction of the cost at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. According to DSGMC President Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the facility for cheaper MRI and CT scan will be launched in November around Gurupurab. Charges would be as low as Rs 20-50. Recently, he also tweeted to confirm the same. In addition, DSGMC is also going to renovate and expand its daycare facility. The move is particularly significant in Delhi, as despite the presence of many government hospitals, hundreds of people fail to avail proper treatment and diagnosis at the right time. Belying the claims made by AAP government, there is a huge shortage of doctors in government hospitals and patients have to wait for several months for critical diagnosis and treatment.
Interestingly, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib has a remarkable history of providing health services to people. Since the 17th century it continues to focus towards healing and service of humankind. There are several anecdotes about the Gurudwara. One such story goes that in 1664, Delhi was struck by the epidemic of smallpox and cholera. During that time the eighth Sikh guru Guru Sahib Har Kishan was residing here and he decided to take people out of their suffering. He dipped his holy feet in the water and poured this water (charan amrit) into a small tank. People who took water from the tank were cured miraculously! Since then, people from near and far come here to end their suffering by taking a dip in the holy water here.
If more and more religious institutions starts working towards the benefit of society, religion could give a new meaning to humanity.