By Syed Ali Mujtaba
Chennai April 13, 2020: Guru Nanak College at Velachery here has opened its doors to migrant workers from across the country stranded due to COVID lock down.
Most of these migrant works were stranded at the Central station and caught in a situation of nowhere to go due to the sudden announcement lock down in the country.
In such crucial moment Guru Nanak College volunteered its service and brought the stranded laborers in the campus and provided them food and shelter.
The main man behind this voluntary effort is, Mr. Manjit Singh Nayyar, General Secretary and Correspondent of Guru Nanak Educational Society that runs Guru Nanak College and Guru Nanak High School.
“There are currently 350 people housed in the college and we can host up to a maximum of 700 people more,” said Mr Nayyar, adding, in this voluntary service there is no distinction of caste, color and creed, language, region or religion and the guiding principal is; service to humanity is service to God.
“The college is serving free meals three times a day,” he said. “At 7 am, the displaced people get two buns and tea. The lunch begins at 11:30 am where rice, dal and sabzi are served. The dinner starts at 6:30 pm and Monday menu is; poori, pulav and aloo- sabzi and on Tuesday, chapati, rice and sambar is served. Most of the volunteers, corporation officials and police officers posted at the college, also eat the same food,’’ he added.
‘The college has converted the classrooms into dormitories. There is a separate block for women. The stranded migrant workers sleep on the floor and maintain adequate social distancing. Only 15 people are accommodated in a classroom that can hold 70-80 students,’ Mr Nayyar who is the managing partner at Southern Motorcycles, said.
He adds; “Chennai Corporation’s sanitary workers are keeping the space hygienic and the residents are allowed to move in the sprawling campus without any restrictions with only advice to maintain adequate physical distance.
“There has been an overwhelming response to help and support the needy and it has come from various organizations and individuals since the college started to provide shelter to the migrant workers,” Mr Nayyar said.
“The migrant workers can stay at the campus as long as the lockdown is in place,” said Mr. Nayyar who is also the Assistant Commandant General for the Home Guards, adding “we will always be able to clean the place and make it ready once the announcement comes that the students resume studies at the college.”
Guru Nanak College was established in the year 1971 as a Unit of Guru Nanak Educational Society to mark the 500th birthday of the great saint Shri Guru Nanak Devji, the founder of the Sikh Religion.
The College is now ranked among the top ten colleges in Chennai. The objective of the college is to spread the ideals of universal brotherhood, oneness of God, communal harmony and welfare to all communities.
During the 2015 Chennai floods, Guru Nanak College established a major Langar (free kitchen) and was the first to reach the affected people with 50,000 food packets daily. The college mobilized vehicles and distributed food to the needy and did the rescue operation.
Guru Nanak College, Chennai by housing the migrant workers is living up to the ideals of Sikhism’s that is selfless service or ‘Seva.’ When one does ‘Seva,’ one should just do it without any thought for a return and as a duty to the society, the Sikh scripter says.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org