Prayers were offered, vows were taken and marches were taken out to create awareness for a ‘Clean Amritsar’ on the occasion of the 438th foundation day of the holy city on Sunday, which was founded by Guru Ram Dass, the fourth guru of the Sikhs.
“I am Responsible! Amritsar: My City, My Pride, My Responsibility,” proclaimed armbands sported by volunteers of EcoAmritsar, an NGO, which led an awareness march through different parts of the city.
The procession passed through narrow lanes choked with drains and roads that had been dug-up for the construction of the Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) project, which has made residents’ life difficult.
Batala road area residents did not join the march and continued with their week-long protest, demanding the construction of service lanes and installation of streetlights.
Jathedar flags off procession
The procession was flagged off at the Golden Temple by Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh, who appreciated EcoAmritsar for creating awareness about cleanliness among the residents.
People from different walks of life such as representatives of NGOs, NCC cadets, school students and many others participated in the march.
However, neither the mayor nor any of the municipal corporation (MC) elected representatives felt the need to make their presence felt in the awareness campaign.
The jathedar expressed solidarity with the cause of a ‘Clean and Green Amritsar’, as envisaged by EcoSikh, the parent organisation to which EcoAmritsar is affiliated to.
EcoSikh, which is headquartered in New York, has set 2017 as its target for making Amritsar a clean city.
The jathedar extolled citizens of all faiths to come together to make this dream a reality.
The procession culminated at Ram Bagh Gardens where a meeting was held under the chairmanship of deputy commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal.
Local bodies minister Anil Joshi too walked into the meeting sporting EcoAmritsar arm band, which led to many of those present at the meeting pointing out had ‘mantri ji’ been responsible, the holy city would not have been in the state that it is in on its 438th foundation day.
Talking from Washington DC, Rajwant Singh, president EcoSikh, expressed his desire to see a sustainable Amritsar by 2017, while terming this a dream of the global Punjabi diaspora spread over 160 nations. The message was read out by EcoAmritsar convener Gunbir Singh.
SGPC offers ‘ardas’
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) celebrated the foundation day by holding a ‘bhog’ ceremony and offering ‘ardas’ at Dewan Hall Manji Sahib on the Golden Temple complex.
Senior SGPC officials attended the religious function.
Amritsar was established as Chak Ramdaspur in 1557 by the fourth Sikh master Guru Ram Dass as a planned city with the Harimandar Sahib as its nucleus. The blueprint of the city was economically self sufficient and sustainable through the setting up of ‘52 Kittae’(business hubs) as centres of vocational excellence. It was a city of many green spaces, spiritually enriched, and with a strong social fabric of religious tolerance.
At present, the city of 14 lakh residents plays host to over 35 million pilgrims and tourists visiting here each year for spiritual solace and to enjoy the splendour of the Golden Temple.
However, Amritsar offers to them much more — its gourmet food delights, its warmth and hospitality, its typically Punjabi fashion merchandise and above all, a spirit of oneness.