Pakistan authorities have allowed an Indian Sikh to permanently display images of sacred trees at gurdwaras of India and Pakistan at Gurdwara Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib, 80km southwest of Lahore.
“On the request of former bureaucrat and writer DS Jaspal, the Evacuee Trust Property Board, which looks after holy places of minorities in Pakistan, has given permission to him for permanent exhibition of his work at Nankana Sahib Gurdwara,” board spokesman Amir Hashmi said.
He said this was the first time that an exhibition of an Indian Sikh had been allowed at any gurdwara in Pakistan. The exhibition is likely to open in mid-November on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
“Images of sacred trees will draw attention of not only the Sikhs but all nature lovers to the rich natural heritage and highlight the importance of preserving our depleting forest wealth,” Jaspal said after his meeting with board chairman Siddiqul Farooq.
Jaspal is the author of “Tryst With Trees” – Punjab’s sacred heritage — a pictorial documentation of 58 historical Sikh shrines in India and Pakistan named after 19 species of trees, including Gurdwara Tahli Sahib, Amritsar; Gurdwara Nim Sahib, Patiala; Gurdwara Babe Di Ber Sahib, Sialkot; Gurdwara Reetha Sahib, Uttarakhand and Gurdwara Lahura Sahib in Lahore.
“Sikhism is the only religion that has sanctified its association with trees by remembering its most sacred shrines with the names of different species of trees. No less than 19 species of trees have the honour of 50-odd most sacred and historical shrines being named after them,” said Jaspal. He also gave Farooq the details of his landscape plan for Nankana Sahib. At the time of Guru Nanak’s birth, Nankana Sahib, then known as Talwandi Rai, was little more than a glorified village.