As India goes through a deadly COVID-19 wave marred by various shortages, Hindu temples around the world have sprung into action to provide aid and relief. Hindu temples in places like Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, London, and the U.S. are now working towards providing various forms of relief and COVID-19 aid. All of this part of a collective effort from the Hindu diaspora to support India at this difficult hour.
The Hindu Samaj Temple in Bangkok, Thailand is mobilizing support to help India fight the second wave of Coronavirus that is currently affecting the country. The temple is coordinating with the Indian embassy as well as the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) in sending oxygen equipment to India.
On May 1, the members of the temple collectively raised enough funds to send 15 (ten litre) concentrators along with 500 oxygen masks. With RTAF as the transporter, the life-saving oxygen equipment was sent to the Indian Red Cross Society.
On May 5, the temple mobilized its members to send another batch of aid through the RTAF. Sudeep Sehgal, honorary secretary of the temple said, “After the first successful delivery, we are in the process of acquiring more concentrators and will continue our support to India during this difficult time. There is a flight leaving for India on 5th May with a further 10 (ten litre) machines donated by the Hindu Samaj along with donations from various other Indian organizations in Thailand.”
“On seeing the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the members of our organization felt an urgent need to help in any way it could on humanitarian grounds. Being in touch with relatives and friends of the community we learned of the short supply of Oxygen concentrators and Oxygen tanks… which prompted our members to raise funds for this cause.” Sehgal added.
United States of America
Hindu temples in the U.S. are also joining in the relief efforts. The Shree Radhey Shyam Temple in Bloomingdale, Georgia, USA is affiliated with SGVP Gurukul USA, which is raising money directly for medical aid to the SGVP Holistic Hospital in Ahmedabad, India, according to Piyush Shah, who volunteers with SGVP Gurukul USA. Their donation link is provided here.
The SGVP Holistic Hospital is treating about 120 patients a day, all of them COVID patients. According to Mr. Shah, the hospital has treated more than 6,000 COVID-19 patients in the last few months with over 98 percent favorable outcomes. The hospital’s approach for COVID-19 treatment is unique, resulting from the combination of modern medicine, ancient ayurvedic medicine, and yoga.
The Hindu charity is assisting the hospital in acquiring a sustainable supply of medical oxygen through on-site liquid oxygen storage and oxygen generation plant. Additionally, the hospital is seeking more respiratory support equipment which includes oxygen concentrators and ventilators.
“Once we have acquired the infrastructure we can increase the hospital’s capacity,” Piyush Shah said.
In Britain, volunteers from three Hindu temples raised more than 600,000 pounds ($830,000) last weekend by cycling up to 20,127 kilometers (12,506 miles) on stationary bikes at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London. This distance is roughly three times the distance from London to New Delhi.
“I think every single person of Indian origin will have someone affected over there,” said Yogen Shah, aged 40. “And anywhere around the world that you have COVID, you feel for that human being, you feel for that person, whether they’re Indian origin or not.”
Looking for a way to help, members of the Hindu temple in Neasden decided to organize a fundraiser that would be socially distanced and attract young people. They decided on the bikeathon because they also wanted to bring London and New Delhi closer together — connecting the two capitals in spirit even though most travel is barred by COVID-19 restrictions.
Organizers arranged a total of 12 stationary bikes in front of the temple. Joining with temples in Leicester and Chigwell, they attracted 750 riders.
Each volunteer got an hour on the bike — 50 minutes to clock up the kilometers and 10 minutes to sanitize the bike before handing it over. Each volunteer set up a fundraising page that goes toward an overall fundraising goal.
The stationary bike ride at the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London’s Neasden neighborhood is one of many fundraising drives taking place across the U.K. as the Indian diaspora seeks to help India battle the raging Coronavirus pandemic.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
BAPS temples around the world are helping India fight the pandemic. With the support of members from the UAE’s Indian community, BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi is working to create a supply chain of oxygen tanks and cylinders which will provide upwards of 440 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen per month starting this week, said Swami Brahmaviharidas on Wednesday.
“This oxygen will be provided to the needy through the government and BAPS’s own network of COVID hospitals,” stated Swami Brahmaviharidas.
Swami Brahmaviharidas said the first round of relief being sent this week will include 44 metric tons of liquid oxygen, 30,000 liters of medical oxygen gas in 600 cylinders, and 130 oxygen concentrators. “Logistical support for these humanitarian efforts is being provided by the Transworld Group via air and sea,” according to Swami.
He said the BAPS Hindu Mandir sadhus and volunteers have joined community members in creating a dedicated supply chain of support and services.
“With these efforts, we also request everyone to join themselves in earnest prayer and devotion. May the Almighty show his grace and compassion on India and the world in these most devastating times,” said Swami Brahmaviharidas.
In its hour of need, Hindus and Hindu temples around the world are mobilizing to provide aid and relief to India. The Hindu diaspora around the world is spiritually connected to India, therefore these efforts at providing aid come as no surprise. These relief efforts showcase the solidarity of the Indian diaspora.