Steel Plates (Thaals)::Seva

408672059_45630e5958.jpgOn TLH we have discussed Green Gurdwaras. Part of this green initiative is to use steel plates (i.e. thaals) and cutlery instead of the common paperware. A couple of weeks ago at a local Gurdwara langar, I saw steel plates being used that had been stored away in cupboards for years. Every week disposable cups, plates, spoons and forks were used by the sangat. Somehow in a community with a growing immigrant Punjabi population disposable means modernity. I remember watching sangat members come stand in the standard langar line and show surprise as they reached the front and saw large piles of steel plates. The reactions were amazing. We had aunties with twitched noses who continued to scrub the steel plates although they had been cleaned and washed the night before and showed no signs of being dirty. Uncles made comments like, hun taan aapaan Punjab ton nikal gaye, a hun desi kamm ithhe vi shuru kar taa. Others just smirked and laughed.

There were also positive reactions where aunties and uncles supported the langar sevadars for reintroducing steel plates. These sangat members felt that these plates helped reduce waste while encouraging the action of seva. Interestingly, they said more seva is done by cleaning jutha plates than by just throwing them away. By cleaning jutha plates, it reinforced a sense of humility of cleaning other peoples waste. In addition, some people showed a lot of humility by refusing to allow the sevadars to take and wash their plates. For example, an elderly woman, who had difficulty walking, slowly took her plate inside the kitchen and washed it herself. Lastly, a number of sevadars, aside from the family doing langar seva that week, decided to help clean plates. An assembly line of cleaners and dryers was set-up. Some spoke and others just quietly felt the spirit of doing seva together. Ultimately, by reintroducing steel plates the spirit of seva was rekindled in a new way.


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19 Responses to “Steel Plates (Thaals)::Seva”

  1. sonny says:

    this is great. do you know how this change at this gurdwara was made? we really really need build campaigns at all our local gurdwaras to stop with the styrofoam. would be great to hear any success stories people have of making this happen in their communities. thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

  2. sonny says:

    this is great. do you know how this change at this gurdwara was made? we really really need build campaigns at all our local gurdwaras to stop with the styrofoam. would be great to hear any success stories people have of making this happen in their communities. thoughts/ideas/suggestions?

  3. Hari Singh says:

    I suggest that we should start using patta plates. That would be really green way of doing things.

  4. Hari Singh says:

    I suggest that we should start using patta plates. That would be really green way of doing things.

  5. rimmy! says:

    hahaha. you're such a jokster hari singh.

  6. rimmy! says:

    hahaha. you’re such a jokster hari singh.

  7. I. Singh says:

    The youth at Milford Gurduara in Milford, MA are working on a "Go Green" initiative. Approx $2000+ has been collected to install either industry washers or a new set of sinks to accommodate washing of the steel plates. In the interim 50 steel plates are in circulation during the Friday night divans as well as bigger Sunday divans.

    The initiative was launched with a presentation to the sangat on the dangers of Styrofoam and the eco-friendly attitude of Sikhs viz a viz the life of Guru Harrai Sahib. And this was launched on the Gurgaddi divas of Guru Harrai Sahib which was in March.

    Another green initiative was started by the committee earlier last year to stop/minimize the mailing of hardcopy monthly kirtan schedules. Now that is being transformed to email/pdf versions only.

    It is imperative that all our institutions revive the green attitude as it brings (or reinforces) our theological message into the practical realm. Better late than never!

    For a written long ago tribute to the "keeper of the zoological sanctuary and the compassionate one" see http://spiritbornpeople.blogspot.com/2009/05/love

  8. I. Singh says:

    The youth at Milford Gurduara in Milford, MA are working on a “Go Green” initiative. Approx $2000+ has been collected to install either industry washers or a new set of sinks to accommodate washing of the steel plates. In the interim 50 steel plates are in circulation during the Friday night divans as well as bigger Sunday divans.

    The initiative was launched with a presentation to the sangat on the dangers of Styrofoam and the eco-friendly attitude of Sikhs viz a viz the life of Guru Harrai Sahib. And this was launched on the Gurgaddi divas of Guru Harrai Sahib which was in March.

    Another green initiative was started by the committee earlier last year to stop/minimize the mailing of hardcopy monthly kirtan schedules. Now that is being transformed to email/pdf versions only.

    It is imperative that all our institutions revive the green attitude as it brings (or reinforces) our theological message into the practical realm. Better late than never!

    For a written long ago tribute to the “keeper of the zoological sanctuary and the compassionate one” see http://spiritbornpeople.blogspot.com/2009/05/lover-of-nature-guru-harrai-sahib-ji.html

  9. harpreet siddhu says:

    Is there any website or place where we could bulk buy thaals and get it sent to Australia?

  10. harpreet siddhu says:

    Is there any website or place where we could bulk buy thaals and get it sent to Australia?

  11. pUNJABIsikh says:

    First and foremost this idea of steel plates would not be quite successful in places where the Sikh population is quite small. Don't get wrong or anything but in my local Gurdwara, the Gurdwara hires cleaning maids to clean the Gurdwara (such as vacuuming, cleaning the windows, cleaning the bathrooms, and etc).

    I mean that our local Gurdwara management pays the cleaning maids to clean the Gurdwara and I feel that steel plates should be introduced in those places where the people actually volunteer to do seva.

  12. PunjabiSikh, where do you live? The place you describe sounds like a motel, rather than a Gurdwara.

  13. pUNJABIsikh says:

    Yo Ibadat Singh Gill this is an actual gurdwara in an actual site with the nishan sahib in the front of the gurdwara.

  14. pUNJABIsikh says:

    First and foremost this idea of steel plates would not be quite successful in places where the Sikh population is quite small. Don’t get wrong or anything but in my local Gurdwara, the Gurdwara hires cleaning maids to clean the Gurdwara (such as vacuuming, cleaning the windows, cleaning the bathrooms, and etc).
    I mean that our local Gurdwara management pays the cleaning maids to clean the Gurdwara and I feel that steel plates should be introduced in those places where the people actually volunteer to do seva.

  15. PunjabiSikh, where do you live? The place you describe sounds like a motel, rather than a Gurdwara.

  16. pUNJABIsikh says:

    Yo Ibadat Singh Gill this is an actual gurdwara in an actual site with the nishan sahib in the front of the gurdwara.

  17. Kamal says:

    Seva makes you feel at peace with the world – it is a very holistic – in our gurdwara in Nottingham ,UK we use steel plates – kids love them – i am over 40 and i have never been in a gurdwara in England where Thaals are not in use. think of the waste – all that horrible plastic.

    go green – it is good for the world and good for you!

  18. Kamal says:

    Seva makes you feel at peace with the world – it is a very holistic – in our gurdwara in Nottingham ,UK we use steel plates – kids love them – i am over 40 and i have never been in a gurdwara in England where Thaals are not in use. think of the waste – all that horrible plastic.

    go green – it is good for the world and good for you!

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