Sikh trader sets example of interfaith harmony

20 May 2019


Customers at the shop of Gurmeet Singh in Jamrud. — Dawn
Customers at the shop of Gurmeet Singh in Jamrud. — Dawn

LANDI KOTAL: A Sikh grocer in Jamrud Bazaar of district Khyber has set a good example of interfaith harmony by offering the commodities at his shot at subsidised rates to Muslim customers in the holy month of Ramzan.

Gurmeet Singh runs a grocery store at the main Jamrud Bazaar. His father Nirinjin Singh has carved out the idea of subsidising the prices of all those daily use commodities that were in high demand during the month of fasting.

Mr Singh’s grocery store, situated adjacent to the main Jamia Masjid at the bazaar, sells out rice, flour, cereals, ghee and beverages and provides from 10 to 30 per cent discount to Muslim customers. The family has been in the grocery business for the last more than 40 years.

Khalsa Herdial Singh grocery store in Jamrud witnessed great rush during Ramzan because of low prices. It attracted the poor customers, some even from far flung villages. Around 150 traders belonging to Sikh community run grocery stores, one in Landi Kotal, eight in Jamrud Bazaar and 141 in Bara tehsil of district Khyber. “My grandfather established this store over four decades ago,” said Gurmeet Singh, who had done his matriculation from Edwardes School in Peshawar.

Gurmeet Singh offers items at subsidised rate to Muslims in Ramazan

He had to abandon his schooling half way to assist his father.

Sikh community has been living in tribal districts for hundreds of years along with Muslims. Most members of Sikh community are affiliated with grocery business while some have different businesses in Karkhano Market.

Gurmeet Singh and his four younger brothers help their father in running the store and daily come to Jamrud from Peshawar where they live.

The deputy commissioner paid a visit on Saturday to the grocery store and awarded cash prize and a certificate to Nirinjin Singh while a special event would also be held in Peshawar Khyber House to honour him.

Nirinjin Singh told Dawn that Ramzan was the best occasion to show solidarity with their Muslim brothers because most poor couldn’t afford the skyrocketing prices of daily commodities and a little relief in prices would help them to enjoy the propitious month.

He said he witnessed great rush at his store and earned high profit compared to other grocery stores at the market because he believed poor people prayed for their flourishing business .

“We feel a great spiritual satisfaction in extending this humble relief to our Muslim brothers because it boosts our ties and enhances interfaith harmony. I would advise my Muslim brothers to avoid hoarding and provide relief to their bothers in the month of Ramzan,” said Gurmeet Singh.

Mastan Shah Afridi, a resident of Jamrud, told Dawn that he and his relatives had been purchasing daily commodities at subsidised rates from the store owned by Nirinjin Singh and his four sons.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2019