Thursday July 18, 2024

Month of blessings

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
November 09, 2019

Recently, I was invited as a guest speaker to deliver a lecture in a top class educational institute of Lahore. On my way, I witnessed many Sikh pilgrims who were enthusiastically praising Pakistan regarding opening of the Kartarpur Corridor on the occasion of Baba Guru Nanak's anniversary. I always feel pride while hearing good words about my country from others.

The teachings of every religion urge a peaceful society. Baba Guru Nanak, throughout his life, spread the message of peace, serving humanity, eliminating hate and bringing people closer. Baba Guru Nanak spent the last days of his life in Kartarpur and his last rites were also performed there.

It is a matter of pride that the government of Pakistan has fulfilled its commitment to open the historical Kartarpur Gurdwarah and in a short period of one year, Kartarpur is ready to welcome Sikh pilgrims on Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday. Prime Minister Imran Khan himself in his tweet message announced that: "For Sikhs coming for pilgrimage to Kartarpur from India, I have waived off two requirements: i) they wont need a passport – just a valid ID; ii) they no longer have to register 10 days in advance. Also, no fee will be charged on day of inauguration and on Guruji’s 550th birthday".

Apart from that, the government of Pakistan also issued a Rs50 commemorative coin and a postal stamp to mark the grand celebrations. Different organizations are announcing different services for Sikh pilgrims. I believe that all such positive measures taken by the government are not only promoting the positive image of Pakistan internationally but also helping dispel the propaganda regarding rights of non-Muslim communities.

In fact, it shows our firm commitment to transform Pakistan into a state with interfaith harmony, tolerance, faith freedom and equal civic rights for everyone. Similarly, it further delivers a message that every place of worship is sacred and respectable in our eyes. The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, after a gap of 72 years, is no doubt a precious gift by the Pakistan government to the devotees of Baba Guru Nanak throughout the world, including India and Pakistan.

The people of Sindh also have special affiliation with Baba Guru Nanak due to his sincere efforts to promote interfaith harmony and serve mankind. Even, today many Nanakpanthi shrines can be found in every part of Sindh province. A large number of Sindhi Hindus associate themselves as Nanakpanthis, followers of Guru Nanak. Their respect for Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Granth Sahib is th unique aspect of the Sindhi Hindu community.

To mark Baba Guru Nanak's 550th birthday, the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor is officially to be on November 9, which is also the birthday of our national poet Allama Iqbal. Iqbal in 'Bang-e-Dara' dedicated an entire poem as tribute to Baba Guru Nanak, saying that " A perfect man wakes up India from the dreams of ignorance."

In my view, the life purpose of all such great personalities was to serve humanity while keeping aside all discrimination. That is why they asked their followers to carry their message of peace, love and humanity from one generation to the next. I believe that in every society of the world, there are a few extremist elements but the peaceful majority of their citizens should come forward to promote peace and prosperity.

Today, in Rabiul Awal, the month of blessings, we must understand that the greatest achievement is to serve humanity. Let's hope that inauguration of this Kartarpur Corridor will lead towards the opening of many other peace corridors in future. It is my humble request to Prime Minister Imran Khan that we should also start focusing on the Charter of Medina and the last sermon of the Hajj for policymaking processes at the state level.

The writer is a member of theNational Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani