Monday, August 29, 2005

France Gurmat Camp 2005

In July Daas was invited to the annual Gurmat Camp, which is held at Paris. Bhenji Navleen Kaur was meant to come with us also, however she couldn't make it. The camp was organised by the Dashmesh Sikh Academy and Paris Sikh Sangat, and was held at Gurdwara Singh Sabha Paris. The camp was held from Wednesday 6th July to Sunday 17th July. The annual Gurmat Camp in Paris organised by the Dashmesh Sikh Academy continues the good work started by late Bhai Rajinder Singh Ji by educating children and youngsters on Gurmat way of life, kirtan, Gurbaani Santhiaa and workshops. The theme of this year’s camp was Sikhi Saroop and the Dastaar (turban), which has been under attack in France with the banning of Sikh children wearing dastaars in French schools.

More than 100 young Sikhs from young as three years old to over 19 years old participated in this year’s camp. The camp involved a series of workshops on Gurbaani, Sikh principles, Sikh Rehat Maryada and Gurmat issues. One day all the youngsters, their parents, and elder members of the Sangat (community) enjoyed a day trip and picnic to a Park in central Paris.

The Paris Gurmat Camp has been the best camp I have been to. The kids were so chardikala! They had so much pyaar and enthusiasm, and it was great to see all the sangat and parents come together and help with the camp. The atmosphere of the camp was brilliant and the best part was to see the children smile and enjoy themselves.

In the mornings the children would do Nitnem with Giani Ji. Unlike the UK, these kids did full Nitnem of Panj Banian!

In the evening diwaan Gurdial Singh Uncle Ji would lead simran and then the children collectively read Rehraas Sahib da Paath. After doing Simran, Uncle Ji would ask the children why we do simran and whether doing simran is good a thing. The kids were so chardikala! Young children would collectively say "Simran Karnaa Jaroori Hai." And uncle ji would ask the kids whether their parents did simran. Some mums felt bit embarassed, when their kid put their hand up saying that they didn't do simran. By the end of the week, the majority of the mums in the sangat had their hand up when Uncle ji asked, "which mothers do simran". It was really inspiring.

These children were the youngester campers. They were aged 3-5 years old. The girl wearing the sky blue dress, was mind blowing! She knew four languages - Hindi, Panjabi, English and French. And she also knew the Saakhi of Panja Sahib and Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji's Shaheedi, the names of ten Guru Sahibaans in order, the names of the Panj Piaare etc. Her grandmother is dedicated to Sikhi and has done a fine job in raising this young girl. At the age of 4 she knew more than some of teenagers.

All the youngsters learn kirtan every year at the Gurmat Camp. Bhaji Ranjit Singh from Germany teaches the campers. Listening to the kirtan you get blowen away!!

One day Gurdial Singh Uncle Ji took us to the central big park in Paris. The Park was beautiful, and so uncle ji organised a day out to park for all the campers and parents one day at the camp. The kids enjoyed it.

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