Anirudh Kumar: Aeroplanes at the Gurudwara

The side of an aeroplane

The Baba Nihal Singh ji’s Shaheed Gurudwara in Talhan, Punjab, also called Hawai Gurudwara, its nick name derived from a hawai-jahaj or aeroplane (watch the video). Thousands of devotees visit the Gurudwara with only one prayer — Waheguru ji, please help me go abroad.

While talking to the committee members and the visitors at this Gurudwara, it was brought to our notice that the chief reason for Punjabi migration is the state of the Indian economy. The unemployment and inflation rates in India are high and soaring. It is difficult to sustain a decent living in these challenging times and only Waheguru ji can help.

Along with the prayers to the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, devotees make a unique offering — they leave a toy aeroplane within the gurudwara precincts. At the end of each day, thousands of these toy planes, collected by the gurudwara committee members, are given away as prasad blessings to the young children who accompany their parents to the shrine.

Migration to the first world for better opportunities is also a status symbol in Punjab. Prof. Rajesh Gill, Department of Sociology, Punjab University, says, “Punjabi boys from patriarchal families have never been encouraged to hold blue-collar jobs in the same cultural setting. But when these boys are out of this cultural environment, they happily accept such jobs. Also, for the same kind of job, the money they make abroad is much more” (sic.).

Punjab's youth are keen to seek opportunities abroad and believe offering a plane to Waheguru ji at Hawai Gurudwara will help them fly abroad.