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Chabeel Day 2018: Sikh volunteers give free drinks to Ilford shoppers in honour of martyred Guru

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 June 2018 | UPDATED: 07:21 19 June 2018

Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association distribute chilled drinks to the general public on Chabeel Day. Photo: Seva

Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association distribute chilled drinks to the general public on Chabeel Day. Photo: Seva

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Hundreds of town centre shoppers had their thirst quenched as Sikh volunteers offered them free chilled drinks to honour the memory of their first martyred Guru.

107-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh joins Seva on Chabeel Day. Photo: Seva107-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh joins Seva on Chabeel Day. Photo: Seva

Hundreds of town centre shoppers had their thirst quenched as Sikh volunteers offered them free chilled drinks to honour the memory of their first martyred Guru.

More than 20 volunteers from Seva, the Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association, handed out hundreds of glasses of Chabeel - a cool, non-alcholic, pink-coloured drink - from a stall in High Road on Saturday, June 16.

Among the volunteers was 107-year-old marathon runner Fauja Singh.

The aim behind this generosity was to help spread the Sikh concept of Chardi Kala, or “ever-rising spirits” in Punjabi, which means that one should be eternally optimistic.

Sikh Empowerment Voluntary Association distribute chilled drinks toIlford shoppers on Chabeel Day. Photo: SevaSikh Empowerment Voluntary Association distribute chilled drinks toIlford shoppers on Chabeel Day. Photo: Seva

“It was a great day and the weather turned out to be perfect,” said volunteer Pam Kaur, 33.

She added: “The drinks went down a treat and we even had our local celebrity Fauja Singh turn up and help us.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that contributed.”

Chabeel Day has its origins in the matyrdom of the fifth Sikh Guru - Guru Arjan Dev Ji.

“Guru Arjan Dev Ji became the first Sikh Martyr in 1606 after refusing to compromise his faith,” explained SEVA Member Rena Kaur, 33.

He was punished when he refused the orders of India’s Mughal emperor Jahangir to make changes to Sikh scriptures in a bid to curtail the Guru’s growing influence.

She added: “He was made to sit on an burning hot iron plate and had hot sand poured over him.

“Although he was burning alive, he accepted God’s will as sweet.

“We as Sikhs, instead of mourning his burning, we honour it by offering Chabeel”

To reflect the Guru’s positivity in the face of severe physical pain, the Sikh volunteers help hot and bothered members of their community maintain a positive frame of mind by handing out drinks on Chabeel Day.

The Guru’s burning is honoured by cooling everyone else.

Seva are also active in helping Redbridge’s rough sleepers, distributing food opposite Ilford police station, in High Road, every Tuesday between 8pm and 9pm.

To get involved or for more information about the group go to facebook.com/seva.team/

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