Protesters in Shaheen Bagh have found supporters across the spectrum. DS Bindra is one such supporter who believes in acting through deeds and not just words
A PRACTISING advocate in Delhi High court tries to ensure that food is available for protesters staging a sit-in against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at Shaheen Bagh. To ensure this, he has sold one of his three flats to fund the ‘langar’. He says this is just an investment. Bindra has received a lot of appreciation on social media for his contribution and message of love.
It all began with a langar (free meal service) which was started by a group of Sikh farmers who had come all the way from Punjab to stand in solidarity with the protesters. The langar was set up to serve visitors, as well as people who continued their protest.
Instead of winding up the langar after the group left, it was taken up by Bindra. The local community helped him set up the kitchen by providing cooking space and utensils. Bindra feels that the Sikh community in the city should come forward and stand with the people of Shaheen Bagh, he says the community understands what the Muslims are going through and therefore stands with them.
Bindra, father of two, started the langar to serve the agitating people with the belief that God would be kind to those who help people in distress.
Living with his family in Delhi, his wife (a homemaker), son (currently working with him), daughter (pursuing MBA from Amity University) and brother, Bindra had no plan to do something like this. A common man doing his routine job, he says he wants to give a message to humanity that “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, apas mein hai bhai bhai”. He says we chant slogans at the top of our voices but when the time comes to implement them we all side-step the responsibility and do nothing.
He says, “This country was made by all of us together so we all have equal rights. This country does not belong to only one person or community, it belongs to all of us who are the citizens of India, and the women of Shaheen Bagh who are protesting for their rights.’’ He says his children also suggested using the money set aside for donations in gurudwaras for funding the langar.
Apart from Shaheen Bagh, Bindra, along with his wife and son also run free food distribution programmes at Delhi’s Mustafabad and Khureji.
Bindra has a deep sense of respect for the women of Shaheen Bagh. He says, “The women of Shaheen Bagh are not mere human beings, they are brave and unwavering…If someone in our family is wronged and we don’t stand up for them now, who will stand with us tomorrow?” he adds. “This langar is just an excuse to show that we stand with you. The job of the Sikh is to serve people and our concept is langar so whenever anything happens we start a langar to help people.”
Bindra, a common man with limited means says, “Langar is not an easy process, that too in Delhi, it needs money, it needs potential, and lot of effort.” He has hired confectioners whom he pays daily, Bindra said this langar was started by him and now people are coming and contributing by giving sugar, rice, dal and other foodstuff.
“I couldn’t have done this without my family’s support”, says Bindra. He manages his routine work as well as the langar. He manages it by doing shifts, sometimes he is on night shift serving the food himself to the protesters and taking care of the operations and sometimes his son, wife and brother manage the show when he is not around.
He said he started this as an investment, “People in Punjab sell land to send their children abroad to study, they do this as an investment so that tomorrow their children will earn money and send it home. Similarly, I started this small investment in the name of Waheguruji”.
When asked as to how long the langar will go on, Bindra responds, “This will go on un till Shaheen Bagh ki auratein are here, until the government takes back the CAA. Amit Shah said he won’t go back even an inch. I say we won’t go back even half an inch from here.” He further adds, “We don’t just want to support them, we also have to make them strong and for that we have ordered ‘desi ghee’ from Punjab.”