By Jaimin Patel
Sewa International’s new initiative of ‘for the community, by the community’ took off with enthusiasm this year. With the support of up to twenty-five organisations, Sewa International appealed to the Hindu community to reach out by doing some sewa (service) this Deepavali. They had organised various events that one could volunteer for, viz. blood donation, tree planting, fruit distribution to in-patients at a hospital and a careers fair.
Hindus consider it a duty to do sewa as one must produce and give back to the society more than what one consumes. It should be one’s duty to serve the society, Nature and also to gain knowledge for the progress of society.
It includes selfless service to the infirm by way of giving blood to save his life and to bring a smile to in-patients at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow by visiting them with small gifts of fruits. At the hospital, just under 600 boxes of cut fruit were prepared by volunteers drawn from a wide cross-section of the Hindu community and who distributed to every in-patient. “This is one expression that I rarely see in my daily work and it is a joy to be able to bring it to a patient just by a few kind words and a token gift of fruits,” remarked a consultant surgeon who was amongst the volunteers. He felt that it was an amazing experience to approach a patient from outside the medical system and make them smile.
Duty towards Nature saw volunteers congregate at the Harrow Weald Recreation Ground and plant trees and bulbs. Appreciation and respect for Nature is cultivated by tending gardens whereby others can derive pleasure.
The careers fair facilitated the services of upto forty professionals who advised students and parents alike. It was stressed that parents should look at the wide array of professions that are available for their children and that this was important if we were to integrate further into the mainstream life in UK. Education advice with pointers by Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, Navin Shah leader of Harrow Council, Sanjay Dighe, deputy leader of Harrow Council and Dilip Lakhani, Education Executive, HCUK were offered to parents while the students were given tips on how to do better in their studies by those who had done exceptionally well in the recent GCSE/A-level examinations. Parents were reminded by Dilip Lakhani that it was the Hindu way of life that had brought with it a certain discipline which was reflected in the success of Hindu students and it was imperative that the tenets of Hinduism were preserved.
All in all, it was a successful Sewa Week for the community, by the community.