WASHINGTON: The Washington-based Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF) on Saturday honored Baba Sewa Singh, a great environmentalist and humanitarian from Punjab, for his contribution to society and the environment.
In a statement, the foundation said Baba Sewa Singh has planted and nurtured over 300,000 trees and created green cover on roads measuring 300 kilometres in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and in Rajasthan.
In addition to his environmental drives, he has also been involved in many educational and humanitarian projects. In 1999, he began an ambitious project to plant trees on all the roads leading to Khadoor Sahib, near Amritsar in Punjab.
This project has gotten support from over 100 villages in and around the Amritsar region. He further expanded his environmental movement in Rajasthan and Gwalior.
Recently, he initiated a project to inspire people in rural areas to plant native trees around their own homes, reviving the age old tradition of vehra and aagan (a green yard inside the house). He has 10 water tankers and 50 fulltime volunteers who take care of the trees and plants. Punjab has seen immense environmental degradation due to heavy use of pesticides and over use of water resources for farming.
Since rampant deforestation due to heavy agriculture has left the state with the forest cover of just seven percent, Baba Sewa Singh is trying to fill this crucial gap.
Along with his environmental ventures, Baba Sewa Singh has established schools, colleges and special educational institutions for women. These students are now at the top of their respective fields in Punjab. Some of these students are even competing for Indian civil service jobs. Out of 2200 students in these institutions, 400 are given education free of cost.
One of his projects is the training of Sikh preachers in multiple fields. He has established high class sports teams which have been successful all across Indian competitions.
In honouring Baba Sewa Singh, Dr. Rajwant Singh, secretary of Guru Gobind Singh Foundation and President of EcoSikh, said, “Simple in his demeanor, he is totally devoted to uplifting the Sikh community and has become a symbol of Guru’s Sikhi in practice. One of the most important qualities he always displays is his positive spirit.”
Inderpaul Singh Gadh, Chairman of GGSF, said, “It was indeed very inspiring to hear and see how one person could transform the society and benefit those who could not even dream otherwise because of economic conditions. True to his name, his selfless sewa reflects the true Sikhi spirit in him. May Waheguru bless him with great strength so he continues what he and his organization are doing in Punjab and elsewhere in India”.
Rani Kaur Sawhney, Executive Director of GGSF, said, “It was an honor and privilege to meet such a great man of honor and modesty at GGSF on Sunday. This gentle and kind man is working tirelessly for the advancement of Sikhs today, his guidance and leadership is keeping a lot of our Sikh youth from falling into the tailspin of further deterioration”.
Thanking the GGSF for the honour, Baba Sewa Singh said, “All of my work is only possible due to the grace of God and the support of the people. We are just instruments in the hands of the Almighty.
“Our focus is to train youngsters who will contribute in the national defense area and would succeed in all fields at a higher level. They need to be in the position of decision making and have the opportunity to change the future.
“We have covered an area of 300 kms, including in Gwalior, Jaipur, Kartarpur, Dera Baba Nanak and Khadoor Sahib in Punjab. We have planted some of the important native trees like Neem, Pippal, and Bohar which used to have tremendous medicinal and healing role in our lives. We want to bring back their presence.”
Baba Sewa Singh has been honored with the Padam Shri by the Indian government. Many other organizations across the globe have recognized him for his service to humanity.