550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak: Hope Punjab govt will support SGPC in holding main function, says Longowal

Gobind Singh Longowal, Gobind Singh Longowal sgpc, guru nanak 550th birth anniversary, amarinder singh
Gobind Singh Longowal. (Express Photo Harmeet Sodhi/Files)

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Gobind Singh Longowal has urged to Punjab CM Amarinder Singh to join the religious body in celebrating the 550th Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Nanak Dev in the “most befitting manner as per past traditions” on the stage of Gurdwara Ber Sahib at the Guru Nanak Stadium at Sultanpur Lodhi on November 12.

In a statement here, the SGPC president appealed to the Punjab government as well as all religious organisations to celebrate the Parkash Purab unitedly as per the ‘advisory’ of the Jathedar of Sri Akal Takth.

He said all confusion being created on this issue should stop in the interest of unity of the Sikh Panth.

“State and the Union governments in the past have always been contributing and participating wholeheartedly in religious functions including anniversaries organised by the SGPC and I have every reason to believe that you will help in upholding this tradition during the 550th Parkash Purab celebrations also. The Punjab government, I hope, will unreservedly support the SGPC in holding the main function as part of the celebrations on November 12 keeping in view the adesh of Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and the sentiments of the community which is perturbed at the politicisation of such a solemn religious event,” he said.

Longowal added: “I appeal to everyone to rise above politics and follow Sikh maryada in celebrating the anniversary unitedly as we have done in the past. The SGPC has always conducted all important anniversaries. In 1999 during the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Khalsa, the Congress party was represented by its veteran leader Dr Karan Singh. Later in 2004, during the 400th anniversary of installation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Maharaj at Amritsar, the event was attended by both then CM Amarinder Singh and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.”

He pointed out that even outside Punjab in case of the 350th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh in Patna, the Bihar government handed over the stage to the SGPC for three days and it was the SGPC which conducted the event as per ‘maryada’.

The SGPC president said even in the case of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations, the religious body had tried to take everyone along, and would continue to make all efforts to bring everyone on a common platform, on the historic occasion.

Longowal said immediately after Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh suggested that a coordination committee be constituted to celebrate the Parkash Purab jointly, the SGPC set forth to make the committee a reality. He said the SGPC was asked and gave two representatives - Jathedar Tota Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur, adding that Baba Nihal Singh Harianbelanwala was included in the committee as a Sikh scholar and the Congress party was requested to nominate two representatives to the Committee.

Bhai Longowal claimed that progress on the issue of holding joint celebrations could not be achieved because the Punjab government did not nominate its representatives to the committee and two meetings fixed for August 14 and September 6 could not be held in the absence of government representatives.

Subsequently, two meetings of the committee, on September 17 and October 4, were attended by Cabinet ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi. The SGPC chief said that though the ministers had assured that they would get back to the committee after holding discussions with CM Amarinder Singh, the SGPC was still waiting the government response.

“The SGPC will be grateful if the CM adheres to the sentiments of the committee members as well as the Sikh Sangat and agrees to support the religious body in organising the Parkash Purb celebrations jointly,” said Longowal.

Meanwhile, the SGPC president also clarified that lakhs of pilgrims would visit Gurdwara Ber Sahib in Sultanpur Lodhi to pay their obeisance on the occasion of the 500th Parkash Purab. He said, “There is paucity of space in the gurdwara premises and that it why the stage of Gurdwara Ber Sahib is being put up at the Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji stadium which is situated around 100 meters from the Gurdwara.”