Campus community enjoys traditional north Indian meal in observance of Langar
The Santa Clara
April 27, 2017
Sitting on the grass between between the Harrington Learning Commons and Benson Memorial Center last week, members of the campus community gathered together for Langar.
For their first campus-wide event on April 20, the Sikh Student Association served a traditional north Indian meal. The term Langar means “free kitchen” or “free food” and is a 500-year-old, volunteer-based gathering.
“Sikhism relates back to the Jesuit values of being men and women for others,” said board member Ryba Bhullar, explaining that Sikhism places a high priority on service.
Santa Clara’s Sikh Student Association became a registered student organization on Sept. 21, 2015 and was created by Santa Clara graduates Nanki and Joth Bhullar. Prior to the creation of the student association, no on-campus group brought Sikhs together that differentiated them from South Asians and highlighted their unique qualities apart from other Indians.
“There is a lot of mistaken identity around Sikhs and the turban that we want to eliminate,” said former president Nanki Bhullar.
The Sikh Student Association had a slow start, but currently has about 10 to 15 regular members and meets approximately once a month. Meetings consist of educational presentations, discussions and movie screenings. Topics usually center around navigating the Sikh American identity.
Sikhism is a religion rooted in social justice. Langar was institutionalized by the wife of the second guru of the Sikhs, Mata Khivi Ji. She served Langar to everyone equally as a symbol of humanitarian service and self-sacrifice. Sitting down with one another, at the same level, represents equality and challenges oppression.
Today, Sikhism is a tradition at temples every Sunday and no one is ever turned away. This religion is not often taught about in schools, and this is an important issue according to Sikh Student Association president Jaspaul Ghumman.
“Our goal of hosting this Langar is to promote general awareness of Sikhs on campus,” Ghumman said. “This way, other students get to experience a huge part of our faith.”
Looking forward, the Sikh Student Association hopes to make regular temple trips and turn them into interfaith opportunities. If absence of leftover food after their first annual Langar event was any indication, the Sikh Student Association is on its way to achieving their goals.
“A lot of political events have been extremely divisive recently,” Bhullar said. “Sitting down with others, no matter their background, is important.”
Contact Meghan McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.