SULTANPUR LODHI: President Ram Nath Kovind attended functions of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) and Punjab government at Sultanpur Lodhi on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev. He highlighted the contributions made by the founder of Sikhism for the welfare of society.
Kovind recalled the Guru’s inspiring thoughts, “Satguru Nanak pargateya mitti dhund jag chanan hoya (With the divine light of Guru Nanak, the mist has been cleared).” He said Guru Nanak was committed to eradicating injustice and inequality from society. “Guru Nanak was born on this auspicious Kartik Poornima and people of all faiths respect him,” he said at the function organised by the Punjab government to commemorate the occasion. The President urged people to follow the Guru’s teachings of living in peace and universal brotherhood. “The Guru preached the three principles of 'naam japo', 'kirat karo' and 'vand chakho' (Meditate on God through reciting and chanting prayers, work hard and share your resources with the community).” He wound up the speech with, “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, waheguru ji ki fateh.”
Amarinder raised the issue of pollution due to paddy stubble burning and appealed to farmers to follow the Guru’s teaching of “pavan guru, pani pita, maata dharat (Air is our teacher, water our father, and earth our mother).” He also thanked Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Imran Khan for opening the Kartarpur Corridor and urged people to avail the opportunity of visa-free access to the gurdwara that commemorates the last resting place of Guru Nanak Dev.
Earlier, Kovind and his wife Savita spent 15 minutes in the historic Gurdwara Ber Sahib where the SGPC honoured him with a siropa (robe of honour). The President also saw the beri (tree) under which Guru Nanak is believed to have meditated. Kovind was accompanied by Shiromani Akali Dal leaders, including Prem Singh Chandumajra and Balwinder Singh Bhunder, and former SGPC president Jagir Kaur, besides cabinet minister Sunder Sham Arora. Capt Amrinder and his wife and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur also paid obeisance at the gurdwara before the President arrived. Former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal also offered prayers. The SGPC function started on November 1, while the state government event began on November 5.
Amarinder asks SGPC to bear $20 service fee
Meanwhile, Amarinder asked the SGPC to pay out of their own coffers the $ 20 service fee being charged by Pakistan for visiting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib as very few pilgrims have taken the Kartarpur corridor since its inauguration. Pointing to the 'lavish spends' of the SGPC on holding separate programmes to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, Singh said it was evident that the religious body was flush with funds. Singh said the low number of devotees crossing over to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib was not because of lack of interest but due to two conditions of passport and the fee put by the neighbouring nation.
In the first three days after a grand opening by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 9, just 897 devotees visited the gurdwara in Pakistan through the Kartarpur corridor, officials said.