Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday announced that he would take up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the issue of prevailing upon Pakistan to grant Indian devotees open access to more historic gurdwaras across the border.The announcement was made during the 550th Prakash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji, where President of India Ram Nath Kovind joined the Chief Minister in leading the historic celebrations in the state. Punjab Governor VPS Badnore and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot were among the galaxy of luminaries present at the state-level function to mark the auspicious occasion.The Chief Minister, on the occasion, also announced his government’s decision to honour Punjab Police personnel with `Prakash Purb Tagma (Medal) for their service to the state in the true spirit of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji’s ideology.The Chief Minister also announced that the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations, which commenced last year, would continue till November 2020.Addressing a religious congregation after the bhog of ‘Sri Sehaj Path’, the Chief Minister said as per his government’s decision to release 550 convicts prematurely to mark the historic occasion, 450 had already been freed, while the others would be released over the next few months.Addressing a religious congregation after the bhog of ‘Sri Sehaj Path’, the Chief Minister welcomed millions of devotees (Sangat) who had converged from different parts of the country and foreign shores here to participate in the Prakash Purb celebrations with great enthusiasm and religious fervour. The Sehaj Path, jointly organized by the Punjab Government, Sant Samaj, various Sikh religious organisations and Sikh Sangat on behalf of the people of Punjab at Sri Guru Nanak Darbar, had commenced on November 5.Once again expressing his gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pak PM Imran Khan for helping realise the Sikh community’s dream of visiting the Kartarpur Gurdwara, Captain Amarinder hoped this would be followed by more such gurdwaras in Pakistan being opened to Indian devotees. He said he would personally take up the matter with Modi and urge him to raise the issue with Imran to facilitate the realization of the Sikh community’s dream to visit those gurdwaras, such as Panja Sahib and Nankana Sahib, also.
Captain Amarinder acknowledged the support given by the Central Government in making the historic celebrations a success and expressed happiness at the participation of people from different political parties, as a befitting tribute to Pahli Patshahi (first Sikh guru), who always spoke of Sarbat Da Bhala.The Chief Minister pointed out that the followers of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s ideology lived not only in Punjab and India, but across the globe. Dwelling on the teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, he underscored the significance of education, in line with Guru Ji’s Bani that “Vidya Vichari, ta Parupkari”. He exhorted one and all to emulate the great Guru’s mantra of: Kirat Karo (earning livelihood by honest means), Naam Japo (constant chanting of Name of God) and Vand Chhako (share the fruits of labour).The Chief Minister underlined the importance of following Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji’s message ‘Pavan Guru, Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahat’ i.e. (air the guru, water the father and the earth the mother) by protecting the environment for the future generations. He exhorted all to make judicious use of ground water, which was swiftly depleting, and to refrain from burning paddy stubble and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides. He appealed to everyone to preserve nature and natural resources to make Punjab clean, green and pollution-free.Captain Amarinder referred to some of the major projects undertaken by the state government to make the 550th Prakash Purb celebrations, making particular note of infrastructural development at Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak, making Sultanpur Lodhi a Heritage City with GoI assistance, setting up of tented cities in both towns, sound and light shows, floats on rivers Satluj & Beas, exhibitions, Inter-Faith Conclave at GNDU, special Session of the Vidhan Sabha, New Open University in memory of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, setting up of Guru Nanak Chairs in various universities, felicitation of distinguished Punjabi achievers, among others.He complemented all those who had worked for more than a year to make these commemorative events a success, including Ministers, MLAs, Officers, Engineers, Workers and others.
Speaking on the occasion, President Ram Nath Kovind, who was earlier received at the helipad by the Punjab Chief Minister and the Governor, described Guru Nanak Dev ji as an apostle of love, peace and religious tolerance, and a champion of equality. Guru Ji’s Bani, in the dialect used by the common man, continues to inspire millions, he said, advocating pursuance of his teachings in letter and in spirit for the creation of harmonious society. The President thanked the Punjab Chief Minister for inviting him on this historic occasion.Captain Amarinder honoured the President and Governor Punjab, as well as Rajasthan Chief Minister with Sri Sahib (a sword), a commemorative coin, a plaque, a shawl and set of books on the life and teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Patiala MP Preneet Kaur honoured the First Lady of India Savita Kovind. Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Charanjit Singh Channi proposed a vote of thanks.Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Sunil Jakhar honoured the members of Sant Samaj and representatives of various Sikh religious organizations.Earlier, the Chief Minister paid obeisance at the sanctum-sanctorum of Gurdwara Sri Ber Sahib, where he offered a Rumala Sahib and a Chaur Sahib and Deg (karah-prasad). President SGPG Bhai Gobind Singh Longowal and SGPC Member & ex-Minister Tota Singh presented Siropa (a robe of honour) to the Chief Minister. Captain Amarinder mingled freely with the Sangat and wished them happy Gurpurb amidst Jaikaras of ‘Bole So Nihal Sat Sri Akal’ by the devotees. The Chief Minister was accompanied by his wife and Member Parliament from Patiala Preneet Kaur, Member Parliament Jasbir Singh Gill, Cabinet Ministers OP Soni & Sunder Sham Arora and MLA Kapurthala Rana Gurjit Singh besides All India Congress Committee General Secretary Asha Kumari.Prominent amongst others present on the occasion were Cabinet Ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Vijay Inder Singla, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sukhbinder Singh Surkaria, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Ex Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, MPs Chaudhary Santokh Singh and Dr Amar Singh, MLAs Rana Gurjit Singh and Navtej Singh Cheema.