Tejinder Pal Singh; the Punjabi Local Hero 2017 Australian of The Year recipient
Tejinder Pal Singh, for the past four years, has been dedicating the last Sunday of each month to feed poor and needy locals of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, after completing his 12-hour shift of driving a taxi, reported an Australian news agency.
The Punjabi taxi driver running a free-food van will receive the Northern Territory Local Hero 2017 award as part of the Australian of the Year awards at a function in Canberra on January 25.
Like many other turbaned Sikhs living abroad, Tejinder too had been a victim of racist abuse. But he chose not to be demoralised by it. Taking inspiration from him, three other groups have also taken up the free-food service.
He prepares 80 kilograms of vegetarian curry and rice in his kitchen, and then serves it as free lunch. The feast is funded entirely from his pocket and his van bears the sign ‘free Indian food for hungry and needy people’.
“One more step to making awareness about Sikhism and share thoughts. Thanks to teachers and future of my beautiful Australia (sic),” said Tejinder Pal Singh in a social media post.
Northern Territory chief minister Michael Gunner, while recognising the recipients, said, “Our recipients hail from vastly different backgrounds, yet they all have one thing in common – an overwhelming desire to help others.”