Friday, June 11, 2010
* Yatrees’ leader says India, Pakistan should enhance confidence-building process, resume bilateral talks
* Sikh community wants both countries to ease visa process
LAHORE : Around 450 Sikh pilgrims arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday to attend the 404th death anniversary of Guru Arjun Dev Gee at the Gurdwara Dera Sahib.
Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Additional Secretary Saddique Khurram and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Perbandhak Committee (PSGPC) President Sardar Sham Singh, along with local Sikhs, welcomed the pilgrims at the Wahga Railway Station.
A special train carrying Sikh yatrees from India reached at the Wahga station, who later left in another special train for Gurdwara Panja Sahib at Hassanabdal.
A member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Perbandhak Committee and the yatrees’ leader Sardar Ragbeer Singh told reporters that India and Pakistan should enhance the confidence-building process and resume bilateral talks. He said the Sikh community in India wanted both the countries to ease the visa process.
According to an EPTB official, the pilgrims would be provided improved facilities and accommodation at the gurdwaras across the country.
During their 10-day stay in Pakistan, the pilgrims will visit their religious places at Gurdwara Panja Sahib (Hassanabdal), Gurdwara Janam Asthan (Nankana Sahib), and Gurdwara Dera Sahib (Lahore).
The main function of the anniversary celebrations would be held in Lahore on June 16, while the yatrees will leave for India on June 17.
Guru Arjun Dev Jee was born on April 15, 1563 AD at Goindwal, a small town on the bank of River Beas in the district of Amritsar. He was the fifth Sikh guru and died on May 30, 1606 during the era of Emperor Jahangir. He was a brilliant student and had command over Gurmukhi, Persian, Hindi and Sanskrit. All his life he preached love towards humanity, equality, respect for all religions and equal treatment of all mankind.
Guru Arjun had compiled the Guru Granth Sahib in 1604. He was later imprisoned and killed in 1606 by Emperor Jahangir.
According to historical facts compiled by the PSGPC, Chandu Lal, a Hindu, was an official during Emperor Jahangir’s rule and wanted his daughter to marry Guru Arjun’s son, Guru Hargobind. However, when Guru Hargobind refused to marry her, it is believed that Chandu Lal instigated Jahangir to kill Guru Arjun.
Guru Arjan was dropped in River Ravi, while a crowd stood above and watched as their leader drowned. His dead body never came up on the surface and it is believed that the guru disappeared alive.
Currently, there is a well inside Gurdwara Dera Sahib at the point where Guru Arjun Dev was dropped in River Ravi. Sikh pilgrims visit that well every year at the gurdwara in the memory of their leader.
On the arrival of the Sikh yatrees, special security arrangements had been made by the government at Wahga, while the citizens received the pilgrims warmly. Special arrangements for currency exchange had also been made at the Wahga station.