Dissolved castes, seva, vegetarian plates, Sikhism, prayer chant
ithin the gurdwara, a Sikh’s place of worship, is a langar, a community kitchen where the faithful practice the core values of equality and community. To put his or her values into practice, Sikhs serve anyone a free meal, regardless of caste, creed, religion, gender, ethnicity or economic status. The langar in Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day; Sikhs of various ages and walks of life unite to volunteer in the kitchen to prepare countless meals and perform seva—working in harmony—while chanting prayers to Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
Langar and seva are the Sikh way of bringing the world together. In documenting the inclusiveness and oneness of a communal meal at a langar, this portraiture and environmental body of work aims to celebrate the underlying theme of equality for all and the power of community in the most testing of times. —Shravya Kag
Shravya Kag (Shravya Kagolanu) is a portrait and documentary photographer and video producer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is a recipient of the Sony World Photography Organization Student Grant and has been shortlisted for the Sony WPO awards. Shravya’s work has been exhibited at Somerset House, Photoville and Times Square and published in major Indian publications. Her body of work is an exploration of home, identity and personal space. She thrives on long-term photo essays and stories that provide language and initiate dialogue. (All photos © Shravya Kag)