Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today said that if voted to power again the SAD-BJP alliance government would make all out efforts to ensure free pilgrimage to the Sikh devotees to Sri Nankana Sahib and Sri Panja Sahib in Pakistan, the historic holy shrines which have been deprived from the Sikh panth as every Sikh yearns to pay obeisance in their daily prayer (Ardas).
Addressing a massive gathering here at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium after the multimedia program on the life and philosophy of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji in commemoration of his 350th Parkash Utsav, the Chief Minister said that the SAD-BJP government had already cherished the long desire of the people of all faiths from the state to offer an opportunity to pay obeisance at sacred cities of Sri Nanded Sahib, Varanasi, Katra (Mata Vaishno Devi), Ajmer Sharif, Salasar, Madras and other holy places by embarking Mukh Mantri Tirath Yatra Scheme. He said that under this scheme state government was organizing free trains/bus service for the pilgrims along with other logistic facilities. Mr. Badal asked the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to run special buses from here to Sri Darbar Sahib thereby facilitating the devotees to visit the world class Heritage Street leading to the Sri Harmandir Sahib.
Likewise, the Chief Minister also urged the DSGMC to ensure smooth and hassle free pilgrimage for the devotees to pay obeisance at the birth place of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Patna Sahib on this historic occasion during the first week of January next year. Mr. Badal said that all such initiatives were feasible only when the pro-Panthic and pro-people government like SAD-BJP alliance was in power in the state.
The Chief Minister also exhorted the Sikh community to be unified being the true sons of tenth master adding he said Guru ji always preached the lesson of oneness of God and love for humanity. He urged the people to tread on the same philosophy so that Sikh Panth could further prosper for the overall well being of the mankind. He ridiculed the anti-Sikh Congress Government which perpetrated an attack on Sri Harmandir Sahib and planned Sikh genocide in 1984.
The Chief Minister said Sikh community not only in Punjab but in every part of the country and even abroad had made remarkable progress in every sphere of life. He said it was on the record that Sikh community if remain united could do wonders beyond anyone’s imagination. Mr. Badal said on this historic day everyone should avow to be united thereby respecting the glorious traditions of Sikh Panth as preached by our great Gurus for the Chardikala (high spirit) of Sikhs living in the every nook and corner of the country.
Exhorting the people to follow the philosophy of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Chief Minister said that the unprecedented sacrifice made by the tenth master of Sikhs would go a long way in annals of World history for galvanizing the hapless people to fight against tyranny, oppression and injustice unleashed by the mighty Mughals. Mr. Badal said, “Every moment of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji’s life is a lighthouse for us, who made unparalleled contribution for upholding the age old traditions of secularism besides safeguarding the human rights and ensuring religious freedom thereby sacrificing everything including even his own family”.
The Chief Minister said that Sri Guru Gobind Singh gave message to humanity against forcible religious conversions by urging his father Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib to sacrifice at the altar of righteousness and justice. Recalling the supreme message of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji to abrogate discrimination on the basis of caste, colour and creed, Mr. Badal said that Guru ji preached oneness of mankind by directing the Khalsa to partake Amrit from a single bowl. He said that in order to wipe out the menace of slavery, Guru ji sent Baba Banda Singh Bahadur to Punjab, who valiantly fought against mighty Mughals and defeated them to establish first Sikh Raj thereby accomplishing the missionary task assigned by Guru ji.
The Chief Minister said that they were fortunate to commemorate this momentous event during their lifetime, which was a humble effort to further strengthen the ethos of peace, communal harmony, brotherhood and amity across the length and breadth of the country. Mr. Badal said that Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji was a repository of universal brotherhood, secularism and socialism to guide the destiny of mankind. He said that the fact that the foundation of Sri Harmandir Sahib, Amritsar was laid down by the Muslim prophet Sai Mian Mir to foster the concept of secularism and its four entrances symbolized the oneness of mankind.
The Chief Minister said that the 350th Parkash Utsav of the tenth Master of Divine Light, was being observed with great religious enthusiasm, devotion and dedication all over the world. He said that this function was a part of series of programs chalked out to commemorate this sacred occasion and appealed the people to participate in all the commemorative events connected with this momentous occasion in coming days.
Earlier in his address, motivating people to follow the teachings of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal said that all Punjabis should reach Sri Patna Sahib next month and celebrate birth anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji with religious gaiety. He said that the SAD BJP government has made many efforts to keep youngsters associated with rich cultural heritage of Punjab such as through Virasat-e-Khalsa, Waddha Ghallughara and Chhota Ghallughara memorial, Banda Singh Bahadur memorial at Chappar Chiri etc. He announced that he was working hard on transforming Amritsar city. He added that the way he has given new face to Heritage Street from Town Hall to Sri Harmandir Sahib, same way entire Amritsar city would be given a new face and in next three years it would be amongst most beautiful cities of world.
He said that the new underground plaza built at cost of Rs 150 cr would be dedicated to people on December 20 or 21 wherein youngsters would be told about the rich history of Punjab. He congratulated everybody on 350th year of celebration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and said that we should follow the path Guru Sahiban has shown us. He added that the Sikhs are already a part of politics in Canada and other countries. He called upon all the Punjabis to work in unison for the cause of Punjab and Punjabiat.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister along with Deputy Chief Minister unveiled the life sized statue of the legendary Sikh warrior Baba Banda Singh Bahadur installed at the Punjab Government’s estate Nabha House near Mandi House Chowk. Mr. Badal said he was constrained to note that the Delhi Government denied permission for the installation of this statue in Delhi and thus the Punjab government decided to get it installed at its own place in the national capital as a humble tribute to the great Sikh martyr.
Earlier, the President DSGMC Mr. Manjeet Singh GK and General Secretary Mr. Manjinder Singh Sirsa welcomed the dignitaries and gave a brief account of the achievements of its apex body.
Prominent amongst other present on the occasion included senior Akali leadership from Delhi Mr. Avtar Singh Hit, Mr. Kuldeep Singh Bhogal and Mr. Onkar Singh Thapar, former MP Mr. Tarlochan Singh, Vice Chancellor Punjabi University Prof. Jaspal Singh, Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Mr. NS Kalsi, Special Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Mr. KJS Cheema and Director Tourism Mr. NPS Randhawa.