Picture credit: Sher-e-Punjab
New Orleans, LA (KP) – New Orleans Gurdwara Sahib on Morris Road has been functioning for the past fifteen years, but today it is under nine feet of water. When hurricane Katrina hit, the Gurdwara Sahib faced the brunt of the floodwaters. Due to the flooding, Sikhs across the USA became concerned about Guru Sahib’s Saroop, which was inside of the Gurdwara during the floods. The New Orleans sangat was unable to remove Guru Sahibs Saroop from the Gurdwara Sahib before the mandatory evacuation orders were issued by authorities.
Concerned Sikhs from the organization United Sikhs requested help from federal and state government agencies, they also sent a letter to U.S president George Bush seeking help in removing Guru Sahibs saroop from the flooded Gurdwara Sahib. However, United Sikhs volunteers did not receive any response in their appeal for help.
Receiving no help from government agencies, United Sikhs went to one of their volunteers named Ranbir Kaur of Bakersfield, CA, who is a member of the US National Guard. With her advice a private helicopter special response and training company in California was hired by United Sikhs. Now the plans for the rescue operation were set. Members of the rescue team included Hardayal Singh and Bhai Nirmal Singh of United Sikhs and David Cruz and Tom Bausmas of SRT. The equipment used by the team included Zodiac Boats equipped with underwater cameras and other rescue equipment. The team had to wait three days to get clearance from different agencies before the operation could be carried out.
As the operation began, the team knew that there could be danger ahead due to the curfews and random shootings taking place in the city. Upon entering, the team saw that the Gurdwara Sahib was completely damaged due to the ferocity of hurricane Katrina. However, the most amazing sight, which the team viewed, was that of Guru Sahib. Guru Sahib’s Saroop along with the Palki was amazingly floating on the five-foot high floodwaters. “I was amazed, looking at the Guru Sahib’s sukhasan on the Palki, floating on five feet of water and untouched by the flood waters,” said Hardayal Singh. Guru Granth Sahib Ji along with gutkas, pothis, khanda, kirpans and other religiously significant items were respectfully carried out the Gurdwara building. “I am overwhelmed and glad that Guru Granth Sahib has been recovered from the floods. I am honored to have been part of this rescue operation,” said Ranbir Kaur.
Along with taking part in the rescue operation, volunteers of United Sikhs in Donaldsonville, Louisiana are serving meals to more than 1300 evacuees. “More supplies and funds will be channeled to the United Sikhs command centre in Louisiana to meet the demand of Meal Ready-to-eat in Donaldsonville,” said Dr Satwant Kaur Dhamoon who is the New Jersey Director of United Sikhs. Still there are more volunteers of the United Sikhs who are flying in from cities all over the US to help in the GHANAIA Katrina Relief efforts.
Amazing Story of a special Mission to Save Guru Granth Sahib JI Saroop in 2005.
PANTHIC WEEKLY STAFF | Published on September 11, 2005.