Despite the pandemic and its restrictions, we would like to provide an overview of the many activities that still took place in Kirpal Sagar in the past few months.
Even though Kirpal Sagar is comparatively safe, like a small self-sufficient island, a vaccination campaign against Covid 19 was organised and executed. Vaccinations were administered on the residents of the old people’s home, medical staff and teachers. The hospital continued to operate normally under corona safe guard measures and also performed surgeries. However corona positive patients were only allowed to be treated in government hospitals.
With the easing of the pandemic situation, it has been possible to hold free medical camps in the surrounding area, offering medical examinations, blood tests and medicines for those in need.
A welcome improvement is the renewed, now pothole-free access road, which is used daily by ambulances and school buses. In addition, a chapati machine was purchased for the community kitchen (langar). This makes the work of the volunteer kitchen team much easier and also ensures less smoke pollution, as previously the flatbreads were prepared on large iron plates over an open fire.
The schools were closed because of corona, only online classes were held. Since August 2nd, they have been able to reopen. As a welcome to the students, Teej was celebrated in mid-August, a joyful traditional festival for women, with colourful robes, mehndi (henna painting of the hands) and folk dances like Giddha and Bhangra. Soon after, the students enjoyed the first golf tournament between different schools in the area.
In September, the Kirpal Sagar Academy proudly received the prestigious “Best Eco-Friendly School Award” by the Private Schools Association (FAP), scoring A+. Out of 300 Punjab-wide applicants, only two schools received this rating. The organic cultivation of more and more vegetables and fruits, the photovoltaic system and the concept of Kirpal Sagar as a whole had impressed the jury very much.
The harvest was good this season and the new cultivation methods are proving effective. For example, there are now raised beds, and climbing tunnels provide shade for the vegetables growing below. A new fertilising trailer was purchased, which can also be used to clean canals. Among other things, peppers and sourgourds were harvested and dragon fruit was newly planted. The vegetables can now be sold at markets again.
A special event, as every year, was the cleaning and filling of the Sarovar. Though people from the West would have liked to be there, again the regulations did not allow it. The cleaning is done in loving detail: in the hot month of July, the water is gradually drained, and the Indian helpers, standing in the water, use pieces of bricks to scrub off the dirt on the basin walls while they are still wet. At the end, the bottom is cleared of algae with steel brushes and brooms and, where necessary, repairs are made. When the first fresh water is let in on August 15th, there is always an amazing grace which was felt especially in this painful year for India.
On August 21st, people sat together in the Sarovar in memory of Sant Kirpal Singh‘s death anniversary. The following weeks reminded how Dr. Harbhajan Singh passed his last days managing everything in Kirpal Sagar before he left this world on September 25th, 1995. His wife Biji Surinder Kaur, on whose shoulders all the responsibilities lay from then on, once described the condition of the heart: “Someone who has got consciousness, has got the sadness from this world, and even if one laughs, there are the tears of separation in this laugh.”