Open City fellow Sonny Singh and video maker Shruti Parekh take a look behind the scenes at a gurdwara kitchen and the army of volunteers it takes to make parshaada (roti) to feed thousands on any given Sunday.

Langar is a Persian word meaning: an alms house (A house built originally by a charitable person for poor
people to live in). In Sikhi this word has acquired the meaning of kitchen and Guru-Ka-Langar conveys the
message that the kitchen is being ‘run in the name of the Guru’.

According to Mahan Kosh; Langar is defined as ਰਸੋਈ ਦਾ ਘਰ – place where food is cooked.

Langar originally meant such a place where food is prepared, but now a days, this word is also used as a
way to describe the food itself that is prepared in the kitchen.

Guru Angad Dev Ji, the second Guru, further extended the scope of the institution. Guru Ji helped with
cooking and serving in the Langar at Khadoor Sahib. Guru Ji’s wife; Mata Khivi Ji, looked after the pilgrims
and visitors with the utmost attention. Such was her dedication to work in the langar that it came to be
known after her name as Mata Khivi ji ka Langar.

Guru Amar Das Ji, the third Guru, formalized the institution of langar, the Guru’s free kitchen, uniting the
Sikhs by establishing two key concepts:

Pangat – One family – all of humanity, regardless of caste, colour, or creed, sitting together cross legged in
lines, forming rows without discrimination or consideration of rank or position.

Sangat – The ennobling influence of people, who aspire to truthful living, and congregate with like-minded
company for the purpose of uttering the name of one God in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

Parshaada from Asian American Writers Workshop on Vimeo.

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