Expressing concern over the menace of casteism, inequality and several other social evils confronted by the country, the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today exhorted the countrymen to follow the path of equality, mankind and secularism shown by tenth master of Sikhs Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji to overcome all these maladies.Addressing the gathering during the International Sikh Conclave organized here today to commemorate 350th Parkash Utsav of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Chief Minister said that the life and philosophy of Sri Guru Gobind Singh could not only act as a catalyst to unite the country but it could also help in making the country a frontrunner in the world. He said that the maladies like casteism and social inequality could be overcome easily by following the path shown by great Sikh Guru. Congratulating the Bihar Chief Minister Mr. Nitish Kumar for successfully organizing this conclave, Mr. Badal said that such events further strengthen the ethos of peace, communal harmony, brotherhood and amity across the length and breadth of the country, for whichSri Guru Gobind Singh ji made unparalleled contribution for upholding the age old traditions of secularism besides safeguarding the human rights and ensuring religious independence thereby sacrificing everything including even his own family. The Chief Minister further said that Sikhism propagated the true model of socialism and secularism in the world. Mr. Badal said that Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji was a lighthouse of universal brotherhood, secularism and socialism for every human being.
He said that the fact that the foundation of Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar was laid down by the Muslim Seer Sai Mian Mir to foster the concept of secularism and its four entrances symbolized the equality of mankind.The Chief Minister said that the Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular have inherited a glorious legacy of sacrifice and valour from the great Sikh Gurus, who taught them to fight against tyranny, oppression and injustice. Recalling the unparalleled and unique sacrifices made by Punjabis in the Indian freedom struggle, he mentioned that 80% sacrifices had been made by Punjabis alone in the national freedom movement despite the fact they merely constituted two percent of country’s population. Mr. Badal further said that it was also a matter of sheer pride and honor for us that all the watershed movements associated with the country’s freedom struggle like Kuka, Ghadar, Kamagata Maru, Agrarian, Gurdwara Reforms and Babbar Akali were spear headed by the brave Punjabis.The Chief Minister as the birth place of the Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji, Patna would naturally be on center-stage during the celebration of this holy and historical occasion. He said that it was the ardent wish of millions and millions of people all across the globe that the occasion be observed on a scale and magnitude befitting the unsurpassed and unsurpassable grandeur of the Master's life.
Mr. Badal said that he has no doubt in his mind that the Government and the people of Bihar would fully measure up to the expectations of millions and millions of people all over the world, treating the occasion as "the event of their life time".The Chief Minister emphasized that the government and the people of Punjab consider themselves most fortunate to be a part of this glorious and sacred historical occasion. Mr. Badal said that needless to say, they would be especially keen to contribute in every possible way to this noble task. “On their behalf, I offer all cooperation and help to your goodself and to the people and the Government of Bihar” he added.The Chief Minister said that the 350th Parkash Utsav of the tenth Master of Divine Light, would be observed with great religious enthusiasm, devotion and dedication all over the world. He said that the Punjab government has also chalked out a series of programs to commemorate this day. Mr. Badal invited the Bihar Chief Minister to participate in these events. On the occasion, the Chief Minister also handed over a cheque of Rs. 10 crore on behalf of the Punjab government to Mr. Nitish Kumar for the construction of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Bhawan at Sri Patna Sahib as a part of year-long 350thcelebrations of Parkash Utsav of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji. He said that this Bhawan would be instrumental in providing boarding and lodging facilities to the devotees coming here to pay obeisance at Takhat Sri Patna Sahib.
Speaking on the occasion, the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that it was a matter of great pride for him that the entire world was celebrating Prakash Utsav of tenth master during his regime in the state. He said that the land of Bihar was the most sacred and auspicious as three Sikh Gurus, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji and Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji had spread the message of oneness of God and humanity here while treading on the path of divinity. Mr. Nitish Kumar further said that during the conclave extensive discussions would take place to showcase the life and philosophy of the tenth master of Sikhs.In their address Jathedar Takht Sri Harmandir Ji, Patna Sahib Giani Iqbal Singh, former Union Minister and MP Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, former Chairman National Minority Commission Mr. Tarlochan Singh and President Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee Mr. Manjit Singh GK lauded the Chief Minister of Bihar for successfully organizing this mega event.
They also lauded the Punjab Chief Minister for taking path breaking initiatives for perpetuating the Sikh culture and tradition for coming generations.On the occasion both the Chief Ministers of Bihar and Punjab unveiled a book on life and philosophy of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji.Earlier, the Chief Minister accompanied by Rajya Sabha MPs Mr. Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr. Balwinder Singh Bhunder and BJP leader Mr. Kamal Sharma paid obeisance at Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji, Patna Sahib. On the occasion he was presented Robe of honor (Siropa) by Jathedar Takht Sri Harmandir Sahib Ji, Patna Sahib Giani Iqbal Singh ji.Prominent amongst other present on the occasion included Union State Minister for Agriculture Mr. SS Ahluwalia, Deputy Chief Minister Bihar Mr. Tejasvi Yadav, Cabinet Minister Bihar Ms. Anita Devi, Cabinet Minister Uttar Pradesh Mr. BS Ramoowalia, Punjab Chief Secretary Mr. Sarvesh Kaushal and Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. KJS Cheema.