For the first time in the state, the Goa Sikh Youth have come forward to prepare Guru ka langar for devotees and pilgrims visiting Old Goa for the ongoing novenas of St Francis Xavier.
President of the Goa Sikh Youth, Sandeep Sartaj, revealed that during the Covid-19 pandemic, "Several Catholic brothers stood with us and supported us in various ways, and this is our way of giving back to the community."
He added, "Though our motherland might be Punjab, but Goa has given us a home and livelihood, and the people here are warm and welcoming. Therefore, we decided to extend this heart-felt gesture towards them."
The preparations for the langar (community kitchen of a gurdwara) began at around 2 am. "We were here from morning, starting with the first mass at 4 am. And next, we will be here on the feast day of St Francis Xavier. On the feast day, we will start serving food from the 4 am mass onwards and go on till 7 pm in the evening," explained Sidharth Mehta, from Navelim.
The pilgrims, who visited Old Goa today in large numbers were served free snacks and meals, courtesy the Goa Sikh Youth.
Sharing more info about the initiative, Sartaj said, "A langar is a community kitchen, and we used to serve food to devotees in the gurudwara. But this time, we went beyond the gurudwara, and for the first time, at a church premises in Goa, which is our way of extending harmony and love."
Goa is a land of communal harmony and we want to keep the ethos and this identity alive and going, said Mehta. He added, "Our main idea was to stand with the community, as one, just the way they have been helping us. And, the feast of St Francis Xavier was the best opportunity to spread and extend this message of brotherhood to the large audience by organizing Guru ka langar."
You will next find the Guru ka langar stall on the feast day (Dec 3, 2022) at Old Goa, near the parking lot, and close to the entrance of the Basilica of Bom Jesus, between 4 am to 7 pm.
"It was an auspicious occasion for the Catholic community. And, with our gesture, we wanted to make it special for them. It was good to see how the local authorities were helping us, and we got a lot of support and wishes from the people, too," Mehta concluded.