THE AXIOM ‘God is one’ is a living reality at the city’s Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH) in Sector 32 where the prayers of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and believers of other faiths converge in a single room that has been opened by the hospital authorities for those who pray for the unwell admitted to the health facility.
GMCH is the first government hospital in the city to set up such a facility. The prayer room is located in the C block where more than 10 operation theatres are also situated. A number of signages has also been put up to direct people towards the room. The facility is used primarily by family members and other attendants accompanying patients.
“When I was praying this morning, next to me was a Muslim man, who was also saying his prayers…. All the religions meet here at one place which gives you so much of peace,” says Baljinder Singh, whose relative met with an accident in Bathinda, Punjab, on Thursday night and is now undergoing treatment. “The administration has done such a wonderful thing by opening this facility.”
“Everyone feels the need to pray during hard times. One wouldn’t think of religious differences at such times. These moments in this room make us realise that we need each other,” says Mohammed Afrazul, from Saharanpur, UP, whose daughter is admitted in the hospital.
The room has a bare floor, with a table against the wall facing the entrance. A lit diya (lamp) adorns the table and a board over the table has symbols of all major religions printed on it. The room is filled mostly in the morning and evening with those who believe that in addition to medical science and doctors, their loved ones need a helping hand from God.
Dr Ravi Gupta, Medical Superintendent, GMCH, and the key person for the initiative, told Chandigarh Newsline that the common prayer room was opened after it was noticed that family members were praying for their kin just outside the OTs. “Earlier, there was no place where anyone can pray. After opening this prayer room, it converges people from different faiths at a single place,” said Gupta.
At present, no government hospital in the city has a designated prayer room. Officials from Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) told Chandigarh Newsline that no such facility exists at the two hospitals.