Sindhis, Sikhs, Muslims, South Indians and Gujaratis: All unite at this Mumbai Ganesh pandal
Around 10,000 people are fed at the pandal daily during the festival.Updated: Sep 04, 2017 09:11 IST
At Chemburcha Raja, Nasir Khan, Kishor Mirgh and Ravi Israni prepare food for evening's langar (free meals offered in Gurudwaras) or other arrangements together.
"People of all communities and faith act in equal capacity as volunteers in our pandal. We have people who are Sindhis, Punjabis, Sikhs, Muslims, South Indians and Gujaratis, and they are here because of their devotion, said Israni, a committee member.
Some of these volunteers then serve food to every devotee visiting the pandal. Around 10,000 people are fed there daily during the festival. Some devotees call it a langar after the communal meals at Sikh Gurudwaras that are cooked and served by volunteers. However, members of the mandal said that langar is not exclusive to Sikhism. "Why would you call langar a Sikh concept, it is after all a prasad. Some people call it langar, because that's the term they use," said Mirgh.
The food prepared everyday consists of rice and halwa (a sweet) along with red kidney beans, chickpeas, dal or some vegetable. Volunteers added that the reason they came up with the concept of serving langar is because a lot of devotees visit their pandals everyday, and they wouldn't want the female members of these families to be worried about cooking food once they are back home. "Since people are out to receive blessings, then they might as well focus only on that, rather than worrying about their household chores," said Israni.
The mandal has one sponsor funding each day's langar, and the sponsors belong to different communities. "It is an absolutely cosmopolitan atmosphere, where we all work together because we believe that God is one, whether you call him Allah or Bhagwan. We just hope that we are giving out a good message," said Naresh Phulwani, treasurer.