Seva – How Kerala’s pan-Indian communities opened their kitchens for flood victims
By Pinkerala News Desk | Aug 29, 2018
We are people shaped by our diversity and harmony. Historically, a flourishing trading and port region, our land was constantly introduced to and adapting to the cultures of our allies. And over centuries, many of them settled here, becoming a part of the community. The Gujarati streets of Mattancherry and Calicut, our Sikh, Jain, Marwari, and Konkani business communities, the few remnants of once thriving Jewish and Parsi settlements, they are a testament to the rich history of what has come to be known as modern day Kerala.
And when the entire state was flooding, these communities championed the massive relief efforts, and thanks to them, lakhs of displaced people were comforted by the warmth of a home-cooked meal.
The concept of Seva
“Seva” or selfless service is a Sanskrit word that is ingrained into the theology of our pan-Indian settlers, and especially prominent in Sikhism. A visit to Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, the only gurudwara in Kerala, located in Kochi, whose doors are open to anyone regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds is an enlightening experience in this concept.
Helping feed a million souls
The Gurudwara, along with UK-based Sikh NGO Khalsa Aid International worked round the clock to feed over 15000 people per day and across cities during the floods. Gayathri Parivar, Agarwal Yuva Mandal, Jan Kalyan Society, North Indian Association, and several other organizations representing Marwaris, Punjabis, Jains and Gujaratis also pitched in, with participation from individuals and families of all age groups. Between them, it is estimated that a further 20000 people were served every day. Gokul Oottupura, a Tulu Brahmin-Iyengar-Nair family-run chain of restaurants served over 2500 people each day. Furthermore, these initiatives aided the relief efforts of organizations like Anbodu Kochi, Rotary Club, Via Kochi, etc.
On behalf of all Malayalees, we bow our heads to these incredible people of our land.