Ontario Sikh Body To Widen Services


TORONTO – The Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council (OSGC) is widening its range of community services, officials said last week.

“While the Nagar Kirtan we annually organize Downtown Toronto is today among the biggest – perhaps the fourth-largest – event in Canada, and there have been several other community issues we’ve brought into the mainstream focus, there are several other areas also in which we can contribute,” said chairman Bupinder Singh Ubi.

OSGC secretary Balwinder Singh said these included helping the visually impaired; tackling the major issue of drug abuse; helping those with chronic health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension; and the need for organ and tissue donation.

“The focus will be on initiatives for which there are already considerable resources available in the mainstream, but which need organizations like ours to make them available to our communities,” he explained.

To a suggestion about banning pakodas and samosas from Gurdwaras, to promote better health, the officials smiled: “We’ve suggested it, but the feedback we’ve received is: ‘Stopping the pakodas will also stop the congregations coming in!”

To a question about the issue of Khalistan, they added: “We’d like to focus on social issues rather than issues on which everyone else is working.” There are other plans as well, including close interaction with interfaith groups, updating the website, and planning an annual gala.