Anandpur Sahib In this holy Sikh city, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday focused on the Sikh religion and teachings of Guru Gobind Singh. He kept aside politics or other burning issues while speaking at an event dedicated to 350th birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh master.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal later inaugurated the second phase of ‘Virasat-e-Khalsa, a monument showcasing the Sikh history.
Belying the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)–Bharartiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership’s expectations of a major announcement by the PM, Modi just offered to run special trains from across the country to Patna Sahib for pilgrims to take part in the congregation to mark Guru Gobind Singh’s birth anniversary. The 10th Guru had founded the Khalsa panth at Anandpur Sahib in 1699.
Seeking to establishing a personal link with the holy city, Modi said, “I have a blood relation with the city because out of ‘panj piaras’ (Guru’s beloved ones), one was from Dwarka (Gujarat) – Bhai Mokam Singh,” he said.
When Modi arrived in the pandal wearing kesri (saffron) turban, white kurta pyjama and black waist coat, looking like an Akali leader, the audience welcomed him with chants of “Jo bole so nihal, Sat Sri Akal”. Responding to the crowd Modi too uttered some Punjabi words in the beginning of his speech.
“The entire country is celebrating the Guru’s birth anniversary, and my government is also making efforts to spread his message across the country. Our government had planned a huge congregation at Patna Sahib in January,” he said.
Recalling former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to Anandpur Sahib in 1999 during the tercentenary celebrations of Khalsa, Modi said he had then visited the holy city along with Vajpayee and after becoming PM, he has come again.
Referring to the 10th Guru, the PM said, “National integration was the Guru’s top priority. We all should practise his preachings on humanity and sacrifice, and be inspired by his crusade against cruelty with courage”.
Speaking on the occasion, CM Badal said that he thanked the PM on behalf of the entire Sikh panth. “I can’t count what all he did for Punjab,” he added. The CM presented a kirpan, siropa, shawl and a replica of the Golden Temple to Modi.
Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committe (SGPC) president Kirpal Singh Badungar and BJP state president Vijay Sampla also spoke on the occasion. Union minister of state for food processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal, state industries minister Madan Mohan Mittal and Anandpur Sahib MP Prem Singh Chandumajra were present on the occasion.
Badal later inaugurated the second phase of ‘Virasat-e-Khalsa, a monument showcasing the Sikh history.