The Jebel Ali Gurudwara welcomed drivers of more than 100 buses and Catholics travelling to Abu Dhabi for the Papal mass. Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: The Sikh Gurudwara Darbar Sahab in Jebel Ali, Dubai, was a picture of tolerance and diversity as hundreds of Muslim bus drivers and the Catholic faithfuls they were ferrying for the Papal mass in Abu Dhabi partook in the langar or free community meals from 4pm onwards on Monday.

On Tuesday, Surinder Singh Khandari, chairman of the gurdwara, told Gulf News, “There were some 100 buses outside the Gurudwara as this area, which has seven churches, was a pickup point for buses taking people to Abu Dhabi for the Papal Mass. We noticed that many of the bus drivers were there by 4pm and had to wait till 11pm for the trip to Abu Dhabi. So we opened our doors to them and served them tea and even dinner well into the night.”

He said as Catholic faithfuls started arriving to board the buses, many of them also came to the Gurudwara and enjoyed the langar.

“Guru Nanak (the founder of Sikhism) always said, irrespective of the communities we belong to, we are all one and the children of God. We must support each other,” said Khandari.

He said an average of 1,500 people have langar at the Jebel Ali gurdwara every day, with the number going up to 15,000 during the weekends and over 60,000 during festivities.

Prominent gurdwara volunteer Kulwant Singh said, “What a remarkable place the Gurudwara Darbar Sahab is — it is a fine example of tolerance and diversity and everyone is welcome here. It was wonderful seeing people from different religious faiths — Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and others — coming together ahead of the papal mass which was such a historic event. Being in the UAE is indeed a blessing as it fosters a sense of oneness among people of the 200-plus nationalities that call it their home.”

What is Langar?

Langar is a term used in Sikhism for the community kitchen in a Gurdwara where a free meal is served to all visitors, irrespective of their religion, caste, gender, economic status or ethnicity. The free meal is always vegetarian.