Sikh pediatrician who helped Nepal earthquake victims warns against extraction

  • Gurpreet Singh, Hindustan Times, Vancouver
  • Updated: May 22, 2015 09:22 IST

A prominent Sikh pediatrician from Surrey, who has just returned from Nepal after helping earthquake victims, has warned against growing threat of climate change due to ongoing extraction.

Dr. Pargat Singh Bhurji was in Nepal where devastating earthquake claimed more than 8,000 human lives. Bhurji, who practices at his Surrey clinic is known for philanthropy and has been to disaster zones in the past too to help in giving free medical aid to the victims of natural calamities. He had been to Sri Lanka that was struck by Tsunami in 2004 and to Haiti in 2010 when a massive earthquake shook the Caribbean nation.

Having been in the forefront of an environmental campaign against coal export to US, he sees a linkage between the earthquakes and extraction. He was part of the protest against increasing coal exports to US through a Surrey Dock terminal in 2013. Series of protests were held in different parts of Greater Vancouver back then and Dr. Bhurji had warned the public against long term health impacts of coal dust on the communities along the route of coal exports.

After returning from Nepal and seeing massive destruction first hand following earthquakes over the years, he is convinced that the extraction is contributing to climate change and calamities. “What is in the ground should remain there. Human being should not fiddle with the laws of the nature and mother earth. The greed for fossil fuel and coal will only make our lives difficult.”

Dr. Bhurji – who is spiritual in personal life and a practicing Sikh frequently quotes from the Sikh scriptures that describe earth as mother and water as father. He also draws inspiration from Bhai Kanhaya; who served as water bearer in the army of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth master of the Sikh faith. The legend goes that Bhai Kanhaya had served water even to the wounded soldiers of the enemy camp and never discriminated against anyone at the time of need. He appealed to the South Asian community to help the victims of Nepal tragedy with open hearts.

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