Updated: Oct 7
Well, it’s been a while since my last blog, life just takes over, kids just want all of your time, and then my laziness takes hold and every spare moment I get to catch up on series available on those popular streaming channels!! Although I may be lazy, seva carries on in earnest; with our dedicated sevadars busy implementing roadmap activities pledged by Mukh Sevadar Manpreet Singh Dhaliwal.
I think now of the number of Gurudwarey around the UK that are adopting technology to bring various services at a swipe of our fingertips. I visit websites or go to exhibitions and services at Gurdwarey around the UK and it’s brilliant to see how engaged the youngsters are. They are building on the wonderful hard-fought legacies of their first-generation forefathers who played a pivotal role in laying the foundations for guru ghars to start flourishing here in the UK among the diaspora.
In all honesty, I believe we in Gravesend have thus far taken tentative steps towards adopting technologies to advance Sikhi to newer or younger people or people of other faiths. Now, this may have a lot to do with so much effort that has been expended on completing the Guru Ghar back in 2010, or the ‘political landscape’ (don’t worry, I ain’t going there!!) following on from completion not being conducive for youth engagement. Since our Mukh Sevadar, Manpreet Singh Dhaliwal, took to the helm at the beginning of this year, there’s been impetus in bringing fresh ideas to the table; and technology has been at the forefront of this drive. The Committee organisation structure has allowed for ‘squads’ of people to accelerate these ideas into ‘tangible’ assets.
Again, I know I tend to meander around an unnecessarily ponderous pre-amble to this blog, but I think it provides useful background of the subject matter. Which brings me onto the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Mobile App.
Pipe Dream to Reality…
If you had asked me a couple of years ago whether we’d be in the position to develop and release a mobile app that not only provides standard information, but functioning widgets with actionable and dynamic outcomes, I’d have laughed out a bit too loudly! The D&T Team have delivered once again within six months!!
In reality, sevadars have been developing the idea of creating an app that allows the sangat to be immediately connected to our Guru Ghar for the last few years - a pipe dream. The problem as we have seen over the years, management committees come and go, and plenty of manifesto pledges can fall by the wayside or there’s not enough time to implement these or priorities shift. However, with the transition of generations come new ideas; new way of doing things, and a bridge between the generations slowly forms brick by brick; and now with a younger Mukh Sevadar, the impetus and motivation to extend our Guru Ghar in a different way.
Bill Gates (founder: Microsoft) made a prediction in the late 90’s that “People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are…”. I remember him saying this and questioned this having used those Compaq Ipaqs at work and thought they were rubbish and it was just a fad…!! Well, that’s why I am not a multi-billionaire! We all find it hard to function without the most powerful yet smallest ‘computers’ that we possess...!
Even though we seem to be unhealthily glued to our devices, they have so many benefits; it is an undeniable truth that we can connect with anything and anyone, and our Guru Ghar is no exception. Over the coming months and years, the team will help the sangat stay connected not with just services and programmes, but make requests (such as booking enquiries, and we can already request Ardaas through the app). The team are creating a proactive approach in reaching out to the sangat, and we predict that 80% of bookings will be done online in the next few years.
I was little apprehensive about this, will it disengage our beloved older generations? from what the lockdown situation has proved, not a bit of it! Our ‘bazurg’have embraced technology like I never thought imaginable, I mean even my dad had downloaded the app on his new smartphone and using it! Whether he’ll use the booking form is debatable to say the least, but what progress?!? Instead of alienating the generations, technology is connecting and enabling them.
The team are at the start of their journey to develop the app, and instead of re-inventing the wheel, they are using cloud-based software tools (AppyPie) to automate feature rich content into a downloadable mobile app available on Android and Apple App Stores! Going forward this should allow future sevadars to be able to take on creating and publishing content without the need for programming and coding skills. Just like any other app e.g. Facebook, it will be iteratively developed and improved upon, for instance we have just recently added a daily hukumnama and implemented a push notification feature to ensure sangat important updates at their fingertips.
The features already available include:
Occupancy (check number of people at any given time)
Virtual Tour (presented by Maharaja London, Amore Banqueting, and Raj Dhesi Photo & Film)
Links to Programmes and social media
Bookings (Coming soon…)
There is so much potential in this app, and momentum is there to take this to the next level; I am not sure whether other Guru Ghars have developed such an app, if so, I hope as the early innovators and adopters, we can inspire other Guru Ghar Sevadars to join us on this technical journey for future generations…!
I didn’t mean for this blog to be long, but I felt this exciting development required a bit more insight and ‘commentary’ on where we are heading. An exciting future awaits our future generations.
As always, the D&T Team are volunteers, and actively encourage anyone who wants to contribute to the success of the innovations being brought in. Please reach out either via the contact form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Until next time, in the mean time please DOWNLOAD the APP NOW!!
Waheguru ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.