Tuesday, April 12, 2011
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC)
Date: Tue, Apr 12, 2011 at 9:04 AM
Subject: BAISAKHI FESTIVAL
To : Pakistan Hindu Post (PHP)
PAKISTAN HINDU COUNCIL
Dr.Ramesh Kumar Vankwani Patron of Hindu Council welcomes to all Sikh pilgrims on the specious occasion of Baisakhi Festival in Pakistan.
To mark the celebrations, devotees, irrespective of Sikh religion, attend the gurdwara, a Sikh place of worship. The celebrations start early as devotees, with flowers and offerings in their hands, proceed towards the gurdwara before dawn. Processions through towns are also common. Baisakhi is the day on which the Khalsa (The Pure Ones) was born and Sikhs were given a clear identity and a code of conduct to live by. The momentous occasion was led by the last living Sikh spiritual teacher, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who baptized the first Sikhs using sweet nectar called Amrit. Around the world at Baisakhi time, Sikhs and individuals of Punjabi descent reflect on the values taught to them by their gurus and celebrate the birth of the Khalsa.
Baisakhi is widely celebrated by Sikhs in Punjab, with festivities centered on the Panja Sahib complex in Hassan Abdal, numerous shrines in Nanakana Sahib, and in various historical sites in Lahore. It is culturally and traditionally regarded as an important and significant Punjabi festival, and this is further exemplified by the thousands of Sikh pilgrims from India arriving each year to commemorate the day at the sacred Sikh sites of Nankana Sahib and Hasan Abdal in the country. Further, local Muslims and Hindus also partake in celebrations, albeit with secular intentions, rather than religious conviction.
Lahore : ETPB chairman Asif Hashmi said his organisation will ensure that the festival passes off peacefully."We have asked police and other law enforcement agencies to make all efforts to maintain peace when the Sikh pilgrims visit various districts and places, including Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Narowal and Hassanabdal," he said.
Hindu Welfare Council chairman Manohar Chand said the Sikh community felt secure in Pakistan."We are thankful to the government for holding all religious events of the Sikh community in a peaceful atmosphere," he said.
Around 3,000 Sikhs, including pilgrims from India, are expected to visit Gurdwara Panja Sahib to participate in religious rituals during the Besakhi festival, ETPB official Syed Faraz Abbas told the media at Hassanabdal."We have finalised security and other necessary arrangements, including food and accommodation, at Gurdwara Panja Sahib for the pilgrims," he said.
After the religious rituals in Gurdwara Panja Sahib, the Sikh pilgrims will travel to Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, on April 14.The pilgrims will go Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore on April 17. Sikhs and Hindus from across Pakistan, including the tribal areas, Peshawar, Swat, Tando Adam, Larkana, Sukkur, Badin, Umar Kot, Karachi and Lahore will also join the Besakhi celebrations.