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World gears up to celebrate Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary

Nov 6, 2019

As entire world gears up to celebrate Sikhism founder Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary, the saint who sang hymns in the name of humanity; and preached that we are all one, na koi musalman, na koi Hindu.

After five and a half centuries, the land of Guru Nanak has given history two strong politicians, one a Muslim and one a Hindu. Both need a pat on their back for demonstrating magnanimity and maturity, or should I dare to say following the teachings of Guru Nanak.

Though India and Pakistan have reached a nadir in diplomatic relations, both Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Imran Khan did not buckle under any pressure in extending the beautiful gift to the followers of Guru Nanak by making the Kartarpur Corridor a possibility after 1947.

We have fought wars and our history post-Partition has not been too great to write back home about. However, both the leaders set aside their differences while taking this decision. The followers of Nanak’s faith all over the world have gratitude in their hearts for the grandiose extended by both.

These are challenging times for both India and Pakistan but the land on which Guru Nanak travelled and preached has honoured the Guru and has opened its borders to the Sikhs and all pilgrims to pay their respects. That itself humbles every Sikh and follower. Can we be evolved enough to accept the sensitivity and largesse demonstrated by our hostile neighbour? Sometimes, even enemies can turn into friends.

It’s saddening that some politicians have made a mockery of this important occasion by their parochial approach and a constant one upmanship in a desperate desire to take credit. The average Sikh is happy that after 72 years, the warring nations have Prime Ministers who have the vision and gumption to take gracious decisions.

This fee issue is frivolous. Don’t I pay for the bus fare or my petrol when I travel to Darbar Sahib? This is a foreign country asking for a minimal amount. They have built an infrastructure for the pilgrims and to please the Sikhs.

After all, the Sikhs, a proud race, constitute a meagre 1% in the nation’s population but our hard work and commitment to community is legendary and Modi, sometimes accused for a hawkish posture on Pakistan, has gone out of his way to make this historic anniversary a special gift to the Sikhs.

The apolitical Sikh is humbled in gratitude that he can travel to his guru’s resting place. He is a large-hearted peasant of Punjab who will not be mired in petty politics for grandstanding and trying to create space and relevance to survive. Please let this 550th birth anniversary not be tarred in blood politics.

I would like to remind the politicians that Guru Nanak taught us “kirt”. We don’t practise freebies. This is a time in history where for 72 years we as Sikhs have been doing ardas everyday that God may grant us the privilege to visit Kartarpur Sahib and today when history has been etched in beautiful words of humanity by Pakistan opening its borders, let us not be petty.

As an Indian and as a Sikh, I thank Modi and Khan for making this impossible dream come true. Let there be peace, gratitude and thankfulness. It’s the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, one of the biggest visionary’s of this land of five rivers; the saint who preached equality for women; brotherhood and one God. Let’s strive to gift Baba Nanak our humbleness and commitment to make humanity our primary goal in life.

We follow different faiths but we accept the teachings of the saint who travelled all over the sub continent and even went to Mecca with Bhai Mardana and his rabab, singing hymns that human beings are one and there is one God governing this cosmos. Let us accept his teachings. He taught us to work hard, live in “gristi” or family; and be fearless in telling the truth.

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