Around 80,000 international students study in the country, as per the data from Ukraine’s Ministry of Education, with the largest number coming from India, followed by Morocco, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Nigeria. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the resulting grim situation in the nation has left these students stranded and scared about their safety.
In the last two days, students and their families have mobilised on social media, sharing the locations of their shelters in Ukraine, requesting emergency supplies and asking their respective national governments to evacuate them out of the war-torn country.
Amid this chaos on the ground, a heartwarming video has emerged of a ‘Langar on a Train’ feeding hungry students travelling to Ukraine’s border with Poland. The viral video, shared by Ravinder Singh (founder-CEO of Khalsa AID) on Twitter, shows students eating food served in the langar on a moving train.
#Ukraine: Guru Ka Langar on a train
These guys were fortunate to get on this train which is travelling east of Ukraine to the west (to Polish border )
— ravinder singh (@RaviSinghKA) February 25, 2022
The tweet also mentions that Hardeep Singh has been providing langar meals and assistance to many students from different countries. As several netizens have shared, this video revives hope in humanity at a time when social media is flooded with heartbreaking visuals coming out of Ukraine.
Interestingly, Ukraine is not the first time that langar—a community kitchen concept in Sikhism, where people irrespective of their caste, religion and social status share food—has come to the aid of the needy during a global crisis.
In 2015, a group of Punjabi NRIs tied up with locals in conflict-torn Syria and Iraq to provide food to around 15,000 refugees for several months. And in 2019, a gurudwara in Australia served langar to hungry firefighters relentlessly battling bushfires in Sydney
In fact, langar is playing a crucial role in ending extreme hunger and malnutrition in Africa, especially among children. Founded in 2016 by Jagjit Singh, ‘Zero Hunger With Langar’ serves lakhs of meals a month to malnourished kids in Malawi and Kenya — which are on the UN’s list for having the highest child malnutrition rates.
And the impact has been amazing. In an interview with Indian Express, Jagjit Singh says, “Attendance in primary schools and nurseries has improved considerably. We are more than 90 per cent malnutrition-free across our centres where we serve in Malawi.”
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)