For the first time ever, the death anniversary of Bhai Ghanayia Ji was observed at the government level on Saturday. A function was organised in Panjab University regional campus at Bajwara which was presided over by jail, tourism and culture minister Sohan Singh Thandal.
Responding to the demand of Bhai Ghanayia Ji Mission, a society propagating the cause of selfless service, Thandal said that the state government would impress upon the central government and the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) to recognise the services of Bhai Ghanayia ji and include his teachings and contribution in its charter and literature so that people all over the world become aware of the noble idea of non-discriminatory service originated in India.
"Bhai Ghanayia Ji had laid the foundation of selfless service more than 150 years before Henry Dunant came up with the idea of Red Cross. It was Bhai Ghanayia ji who initiated the concept of first aid in the battlefield of Anandpur Sahib", said Thandal.
Mission head Bahadar Singh Sunet demanded that late philanthropist should also find a mention in international humanitarian law. "Sir Henry Dunant's selfless service is well recognised in the pages of history. We want same recognition for Bhai Ghanaiya Ji who was, in fact, a forerunner of the Red Cross. Including his services in the international humanitarian law would promote the cause of brotherhood and world peace", he added.
"In fact the Red Cross in India should be named after Bhai Ghanayia Ji as it was the latter who gave birth to the idea of first aid and medical assistance to the wounded but unless people know him through history books, this mission cannot be achieved', said Sunet. He also demanded a library in Bhai Ghanayia ji's name at Anandpur Sahib.
Hoshiarpur deputy commissioner Amit Dhaka assured that district Red Cross would organise seminars in educational institutions to make the youth aware of Bhai Ghanaiya's legacy.
On the occasion, a blood donation camp was also organised during which a large number of volunteers donated blood. District blood donation association president Bhupinder Singh Pahwa said that in the memory of Bhai Ghanayia ji, the blood bank would donate blood to the needy without asking for replacement for one week. Members of all religious groups paid homage to the great humanitarian Sikh.