Chandigarh, May 1 (PTI) Amid the COVID-19 restrictions, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday virtually joined the people in offering prayers to mark the 400th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Tegh Bahadur.
The chief minister prayed for the safety and well-being of all in the challenging pandemic situation and exhorted the people to follow Guru's universal message of love, secularism, religious tolerance, freedom of faith and peaceful co-existence. Terming it an occasion to spread the message of Guru Sahib's supreme sacrifice for the sake of humanity and religious freedom, he said the life and philosophy of the ninth Guru remains a beacon of inspiration for the world.
Singh said he was extremely blessed to lead his government, in its previous tenure, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib at Harmandir Sahib in 2004, Amritsar, and in constructing memorials, including one dedicated to '40 Mukte' (Liberated Ones) at Sri Muktsar Sahib, and several commemorative gates at Fatehgarh Sahib.
'We have also been fortunate to celebrate the 550th 'Prakash Purb' of Guru Nanak Dev and 350th 'Prakash Purb' of Guru Gobind Singh during our present tenure,' an official release quoting Singh said.
The chief minister said the state government had made elaborate arrangements to celebrate this mega event with 'Nagar Kirtan' (religious procession) from Guru Ka Mahal (Amritsar) to Anandpur Sahib, and 'Akhand Path' and 'Kirtan Darbar' at Anandpur Sahib.
It had also planned to hold an exhibition on the life and teachings of Guru Tegh Bahadur, an exhibition on handicrafts, the Punjabi literary festival, drama (Hind-di-Chadar), sports event, multi-media light and sound show and a Sufi Music festival, said the CM.
However, the second wave of COVID had forced change in plans and these events are now being held in virtual format to avoid large gatherings and ensure public safety.
As and when the situation improves during the year-long celebrations, grand events will be held on the ground to commemorate the historic occasion, he said.
To mark the occasion, a day-long 'Kirtan Darbar' was organised, in which several prominent 'raagis' performed 'kirtan' on TV channels and digital platforms. Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Sunil Jakhar exhorted the people to follow the path of righteousness in the true tradition of humanity, as illustrated by Guru Tegh Bahadur.
Meanwhile, devotees paid obeisance at gurdwaras including the Golden Temple in Amritsar on the occasion of 'Parkash purb' of the ninth Sikh guru.
They started assembling at gurdwaras in the morning to offer prayers. PTI CHS VSD AAR AAR