Sikh activist calls on ONE members to ‘shine a light on malaria’

This post from Gurvinder Singh, director and chief response officer at United Sikhs, is part of a larger blog series on faith and the fight against malaria ahead of World Malaria Day. Get involved in Faith at ONE’s “Shine a Light on Malaria” campaign on their website.

A guru is an individual who takes one from the darkness of ignorance to the light of knowledge. The Sikh gurus bestowed and blessed not just the Sikh faith with the light to brighten humanity, but paved the way for the world to revel in that light.

Sikh photo
United Sikhs Director Sundeep Kaur and volunteers working in Kenya for famine relief efforts.

Mosquitoes spread and inflict malaria under the mask of darkness, spreading a terrible and crippling disease which destroys the very fabric of families and communities. In the disguise of dark, the thieving parasite attacks and claims its victims. Unfortunately about 655,000 people die yearly from this ravaging disease, and the knowledge and action to counter it must not be masked in darkness. The need of the hour is to “Shine a Light on Malaria.”

“To serve the Creator is to serve His creation,” is an underlying theme of Sikhism. It is incumbent upon the world’s faiths that we carry this thought forth. If we continue to see the fire of ignorance, the wrath of war and the devastation of disease go unchallenged and unhindered, we will be unfortunately mute when asked by our coming generations if we did our part.

Our first guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, instituted three golden rules for us to abide by:

1. Naam Japna: Meditation and Remembrance on the almighty,
2. Vand Ke Chakna: Share with others before partaking yourself, and
3. Kirat Karni: Earn an honest living through hard work. Our gurus not only preached but practiced and lived by the qualities which they sought to instill.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji upon receiving money from his father to start a business used the funds to feed the hungry, in turn initiating our institution of langar. Langar, meaning “community kitchen,” is a part of every Gurdwara (Sikh place of learning/worship) and is an integral part of Sikhism, in which any and all are welcome to partake. A Gurdwara in itself provides not only meals but also shelter and solace to any who seek it. To read more please visit www.unitedsikhs.org/aboutsikhs.php.

Sikhs have been cemented with the notion that if you wish to counter any incident, you must be in its midst. Examples of this include the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji opening a center for lepers and carrying the bodies himself for burial, and the 8th Guru, Guru Har Krishan Ji curing and aiding those infected with smallpox until he passed after becoming infected himself. Our faith also teaches us to immerse ourselves in the concept of selfless service known as “sewa.” Sikhism inspires steadfast determination to impact our world in a positive manner — you have to go to the epicenter of the problem and engage with the population to help others. My faith is the fuel that allows me to exist, that allows me to sustain and that allows me to proceed. It is that fuel which ignites United Sikhs and to put it simply, it is because of my faith that I am.

Please join ONE this World Malaria Day to mobilize your faith community to “Shine a Light on Malaria” and take action to save lives. Together, we can show that people of all faiths care about our neighbors suffering from malaria, and provide the lifesaving resources required to eliminate malaria deaths. Download the World Malaria Day Action Guide at www.one.org/faith to get started today!