Sikh Environmental Day marked by planting 70 trees along Canal

Volunteers eagerly work on planting trees

Volunteers eagerly work on planting trees

The 14th March not only marked the beginning of the Sikh New Year, the Gurtagaddi Diwas (enthronement day) of 7th Sikh Guru, Guru Har Rai Ji, it also is now celebrated as Sikh Environment Day. Members of the Sikh community from across Birmingham, Wolverhampton and the Black Country came together to join regular volunteers overseen by the Canal and River Trust, to collaborate on environmental projects.  

When Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, Chairman of Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha and Nishkam Civic Association, was contacted by EcoSikh’s Ravneet Singh to see if he would assist with a project in Smethwick planting trees along the canal embankment, the response was an emphatic and resounding ‘yes’.

Following a short bout of campaigning to raise the awareness of

Steve Lambert, Canal and River Trust, Victoria Finlay, Alliance of Religions and Conservation and Amrick Singh, Nishkam Centre

Steve Lambert, Canal and River Trust, Victoria Finlay, Alliance of Religions and Conservation and Amrick Singh, Nishkam Centre

Sikh Environment day, the interest was phenomenal. Unfortunately, on the day it would appear that many of our Sikh brothers and sisters that had pledged to be there were there in spirit but not in body – it was understandable many had favoured other indoor sewa as opposed to being outdoors.

“These people are doing some great work with Mother Earth and as every Sikh knows, we are compelled to look after it since we recite daily in our prayers ‘Pavan Guru, pani pita, mata dharat mahat’: Air is Guru, Water is Father, and Great Earth the Mother’. This calls on us to tenderly love and respect the elements like the irreplaceable personalities in our life who nurture, guide, sustain and lovingly sacrifice themselves for us”.Nishkam Centre Director, Amrick Singh, said, “The interest in the day has been overwhelming, although we did get many apologies that people could not join us due to other commitments the interest has been raised. I am glad that we had the pleasure of being introduced to Steve Lambert, from the Canal and River Trust, and Victoria Finlay, from the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, by Ravneet Singh from EcoSikh.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick President Malkit Singh, distributes pizza and chips Langar to all volunteers

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick President Malkit Singh, distributes pizza and chips Langar to all volunteers

EcoSikh has been leading and coordinating the celebration of the Sikh Environment Day since 2011 throughout India and around the globe and has popularised the day with the goal of creating environmental awareness amongst the Sikh masses and engaging them to take action on nature preservation.
As per Sikh tradition, God established this earth as a ‘dharamsal’ – a place where spirituality should be practised with responsibility towards God’s creation and today we saw this in the faces of those who turned out to lovingly serve His creation. Guru Har Rai is remembered in Sikh history for his deep sensitivity to nature and its preservation.Malkit Singh, President of Guru Nanak Gurudwara Smethwick said “It’s our local area and we should all help look after it and be proud to be part of a clean and green Smethwick.”

Two little girls who were not shy to talk, Gurpreet Kaur and children servingAmarpreet Kaur both said thay had a fantastic day planting fruit trees and looked forward to coming back to pick fruit. They then both went off to feed the geese. One volunter, Deljit Singh, travelled from Wolverhampton to join the volunteering mission. Deljit, who is an ardent carer of the environment, even travelled to the tree planting session by a ‘green vehicle’ he owns.

ENDS

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