Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Episode 3 India Trip: Unique Home

Continued...



Panjab is land of the Great Gurus, the land of prosperity, and the land of great saints and warriors.

Yet, inexplicably, it is stained with the sin of killing its baby daughters.

According to the Punjabi University, every fifth household in Punjab commits female foeticide.

During a recent trip to India, we went to the local gurdwara in Preet Nagar in Jalandhar, Punjab.

Bhai Parminder Singh from Amritsar (a parchaarak - preacher - sent by the Dharam Parchaar Committee, Amritsar) was doing kathaa (discourse) that evening. His kathaa was very simple, but effective. The way he spoke was very easy to understand and he got across our Guru's message really well.

Bhai Sahib said something which echoed in my ears: "Mothers have made their wombs into graveyards."

Bhai Sahib was speaking about abortion and how many Punjabis - not to mention the greater, all-pervasive problem across India - are killing their baby daughters before being born. I was glad to hear this active parchaar being done in the gurdwaras of Punjab.

The next day, my mum and I went to visit a place called "Unique Home", which is being run by the Bhai Ghanayya Ji Charitable Trust.


The Trust was established in 1993 with the goal of working towards the "Moral, Social, Cultural and Economic uplift of orphan children without any distinction of Caste, Creed and Religion".

The Unique Home looks after unwanted, unclaimed or orphaned children who have been discarded or neglected by society. Baby girls are found by roadsides, dumped near streams, or even left during the night in a baby cradle outside the Home.

The Unique Home is currently looking after 52 girls, mostly young children.




Receptacle where unwanted babies are dropped off anonymously.


The cradle receptacle, as seen from the interior of the Home.

The main spirit behind this institution is Bibi Prakaash Kaur, whose aim is to rehabilitate those people whom society has disowned. The current seva is being done by Bibi Gurdip Kaur, who is the President of Bhai Ghanayya Ji Charitable Trust. Despite her old age, she is fully devoted to the service of the children.


Even though we had visited the Home without advance notice, we received a very warm welcome from the sevadaars.

When we entered, a young girl, probably 11 years old, shared a GurFateh with us and asked us to take a seat in the office room for visitors. Bibi Gurdip Kaur was away that day; another Sardarni was looking after all the children alone.

She came downstairs and warmly greeted us. She offered to get the children ready for us to meet them. Whilst we waited, a young girl aged perhaps 13 or so, came and asked us "What would you like to drink?"

I replied, "We are fine, thank you."
The girl then said, "We don't have anything to offer you. But can you kindly accept a cup of tea made by me as a form of parshaad (gift) from all the children?" I was left speechless and moved by the young girl's innocent love and accepted to drink a cup of tea made by her.

After a little while, the Bibi in charge came to get us and took us upstairs.

The home itself was much smaller than I had expected. She took us to a room that had a number of metal baby cradles. Inside the cradles were babies that had been abandoned or dropped off and were now being cared for at the Home.

It was really sad to see that there were at least a dozen or so, and I thought: how does one or two of these Sardarnis manage to change all their nappies and look after them all, in addition to looking after the elder children.

There was one little girl with Down Syndrome, standing there, smiling away at us. The Bibi hugged the girl and began to do simran with her. It was beautiful to see the Down Syndrome child hugging the elder woman and repeating "Waheguru ... Waheguru ..." after her.

I was amazed at the seva of these women who have given up their own lives, their own families, and their own aspirations, to live in the Guru's Hukam (Will) and dedicate their lives to rebuilding the lives of children who otherwise wouldn't have any life.

We learnt that the older girls in the home took care of the younger babies and they all supported each other as one large family. It was amazing to hear how some of the elder girls of the Home had been inspired by the dedication of Bibi Gurdip Kaur, elected not to get married and to commit their own lives to the care of the younger children.

Waheguru! These were the hidden gems of Punjab that were quietly going about, doing their seva.

After spending some time talking to the Bibi, we learnt about the astounding work they did by ensuring that all the girls were educated in English schools and, at a later stage, married into suitable homes.

All of this is done without any government support or funding, which is an immense challenge for the founder, Bibi Prakaash Kaur, and the other Gursikh caregivers.



Near the end of our visit, all the children got together and repeated the panj pauriaan of Japji Sahib and had a group photo taken with us. It was so nice to see the children get excited over seeing their own photo in the camera. There was one young girl (less than two years old), who had tears in her eyes.

But when you wiped them, the tears still didn't seem to disappear. It was as if the girl had permanent tears in her eyes. It was sad to see.

Despite our attempts to cheer her up, she looked very, very sad. Only the Guru knows what trauma the child had gone through. May Waheguru do kirpaa (shower His blessings) on all these children and the sevadaars.

video

Please do support the Bhai Ghanayya Ji Charitable Trust and the Unique Home by visiting the Home and giving a small donation or donating some clothes. Any help and support would be greatly appreciated by the sevadaars.

And please pass this request on to all your relatives and friends who are going to visit Panjab in the near future.

Their address is: The Unique Home, 1082-B Model House, Taran Wali Gali, Jalandhar, Panjab. Tel: 01.81.227.6066


Dhan Hai Guru, Dhai Hai Sikhee

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Waheguru.. Amazing! Its so inspiring to see them do this seva with so much pyar and dedication.

May Guru Ji always keep them in Chardi Kala.

Anonymous said...

A tear that cannot be wiped away - how sad - but in the same breath how wonderful that this child is being cared by Gurmukhs- and will possibly one day contunue Guru Ji's seva in this way.

Anonymous said...

Vaheguroo

Harminder Singh said...

waheguru ji ka khalsa
waheguru ji ki fateh

Very inspiring to see such efforts.One thing I have noticed is that there are so many small and large genuine charitiesn in India and there are so many people ready to give daswandh. Many times people are not sure whether their money is going to actually reach the needy.I have myself felt this many times.

I think a way to address this is publishing stories like these and publishing charities which might be small or unknown but are trustworthy.And if someone has actually seen a charities work, he/she should let others know about the efforts.

Veerji, Is there a place(indian account) of the charity where I can send my daswandh for this effort. You might have contacts to get this and make sure that money has actually reached the needy.

I also feel that its important to inspire others to give daswandh so that more and more needy people get served and more and morepeople can make good use of their hard earned earnings. I am doing my bit by writing about probably greatest sewa of Bhagat Puran Singh ji of Pingalwara. I feel really sad when sikh people say they dont know who he is or what he has done.

I am trying to put his life in a blog .I have also listed there various charities which I trust and give daswandh to . blog name is
www.simransewa.blogspot.com .

Fateh

Anonymous said...

http://www.uniquehomeforgirls.co.uk/index.asp