A video of Hardeep Singh, who runs a ‘Langar on a Train’ to serve hungry students travelling to Ukraine’s border with Poland, went viral on Twitter. Regardless of region, country, or group, Punjabis and Sikhs are famed for their religious services during difficult times. In the midst of a war-like scenario in Ukraine as a result of Russia’s Military actions,’ the Sikh community is attempting to assist people by arranging a ‘Guru Ka langar’ on a train in Ukraine.
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Education data, about 80,000 international students study there, with the most significant number coming from India, followed by Morocco, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Nigeria. These youngsters are trapped and terrified of their safety due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the consequent bleak scenario in the country.
Students and their families have taken to social media to share their bunkers’ whereabouts in Ukraine, obtain essential supplies, and request that their respective national governments rescue them from the war-torn country.
A moving video of a ‘Langar on a Train’ serving hungry students heading to Ukraine’s border with Poland has emerged amid the mayhem on the ground. Ravinder Singh, the CEO and founder of Khalsa Aid shared the video. “These people were fortunate to board this train, which is heading from the east to the west of Ukraine” (to the Polish border). “Hardeep Singh has been assisting numerous students from many nations with Langar,” he said in the description.
Meanwhile, several Punjabi students stranded in Ukraine are found sleeping in frigid circumstances on an underground Metro station floor. Their parents have pleaded with Prime Minister NarendraModi to return their children securely. Parents of trapped students have written to Mansa ADC Ajay Arora, demanding the Centre make quick attempts to evacuate their children.
“We eat food once a day and suffer breathing problems due to shelling,” said Lovekesh of MaurMandi, who is stranded in Ukraine. The borders with Poland and Hungary are 1,500 kilometers apart, whereas the Russian border is only 60 kilometers away. However, getting out of here is difficult.”
“My daughter Drishti is in the second year of MBBS in Ukraine,” says Sanjeev Sharma of MaurMandi. We are pleading with the authorities to return our children to us safely. We’re concerned about her safety.”
“My son TanishGarg traveled to Ukraine three months ago to study MBBS,” says Sanjeev Kumar Garg of Bathinda district. “The Centre must move quickly.”
“We’re stuck in the northeastern area of Ukraine,” Shivanginia, a third-year MBBS student stuck in Ukraine, wrote on Twitter. Sirens can be heard from time to time. There are insufficient supplies and transportation options.”
“Your personnel at the border and in the embassies are not answering calls,” resident Ronak Seth posted on Twitter in a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs. How would you expect students to maintain their composure? My daughter is stranded in the freezing weather near the Poland border.”
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that langar—a Sikhism communal kitchen concept in which people of all castes, religions and socioeconomic classes share food—has stepped in to help the poor amid a worldwide crisis. In 2015, Punjabi NRIs collaborated with natives in conflict-torn Syria and Iraq to feed 15,000 refugees for several months. In Australia, a gurdwara supplied langar to famished firefighters battling bushfires in Sydney in 2019.
Langar is critical in Africa’s fight against extreme hunger and malnutrition, particularly among youngsters. ‘Zero Hunger With Langar,’ founded by Jagjit Singh in 2016, provides lakhs of meals per month to impoverished children in Malawi and Kenya, which are on the UN’s list of countries with the highest number of child malnutrition. And the result has been incredible. “Attendance in primary education and nurseries has improved tremendously,” Jagjit Singh said. We have a malnutrition-free rate of more than 90% in all Malawian centers where we work.”
Numerous people applaud the Khalsa Aid’s humanitarian gesture, while relatives of many Indian students have asked for their loved ones’ safe escape.