Chandigarh: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday asked the people to follow the path shown by the first Sikh master Guru Nanak Dev, whose 550th ‘Prakash Purb’ or birth anniversary falls on November 12.
Speaking at a special commemorative session of the Punjab Assembly to mark the historic occasion in Chandigarh, Naidu recalled the philosophy of Guru Nanak and urged all to imbibe his teachings of universal brotherhood, equality and one God.
Starting his address in chaste Punjabi, Naidu extended greetings to all dignitaries.
Earlier, Speaker Rana K.P. Singh welcomed the dignitaries. Haryana legislators and Members of Parliament were specially invited for the event, besides all Members of Parliament of the host state.
Besides the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana, Amarinder Singh and Manohar Lal Khattar, respectively, the Governors of both the states, V.P. Singh Badnore and Satyadeo Narain Arya, were also present on the occasion.
Akali Dal patron and five-time Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was also present among other special dignitaries.
The special Assembly session, chaired by Naidu, was called ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor on Saturday and dispatching the first lot of pilgrims to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province on the occasion of the birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara, originally known as Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, is a highly revered Sikh shrine, where Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and is his final resting place.
“It is quite appropriate that this temple of democracy is dedicating a special session to one of India’s most democratic spiritual leaders,” said Naidu in his address in English.
“Guru Nanak ji belongs to the long illustrious tradition of India’s visionary spiritual leaders who have illumined human existence and greatly enriched the country’s cultural capital,” he said.
“Our worldview has been continually broadened by timeless messages of enlightened pathfinders like Guru Nanak ji. We, as democratic political leaders, and even as common citizens, have so much to learn from teachings of this great personality.
“If we can internalise and integrate these messages in our daily lives and reshape our thinking and actions, we can certainly discover a new world of peace and sustainable development,” said Naidu.
He said respect for women and gender equality was another important lesson to be learnt from Guru Nanak Dev’s life.
On the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, he said, “I am very happy that the corridor that connects us to Kartarpur, the sacred space where he spent the last 18 years of his life is going to be opened in a couple of days from now.”
Addressing both the houses of Punjab and Haryana – a first since the latter was carved out of the former in 1966 – former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to all to take forward Guru Nanak Dev’s philosophy of mutual love and respect to ensure an equitable society.
Advocating that peace and harmony was the only way forward to ensure a prosperous future, he hoped the Kartarpur model would be replicated in future too for lasting resolution of conflicts.
“Guru Nanak Devji’s eternal message of oneness of god, religious tolerance and peace can pave the way to end sectarian violence,” which he said was the biggest challenge facing the world.
“Punjab is Guru Nanak Devji’s ‘karam bhoomi’. How will we keep Guru Nanak Devji’s legacy alive if its youth is wasted with drugs, water is becoming poisonous and women are being disrespected. It is the most crucial question on his 550th birth anniversary,” he said.