Refraining from making any political statement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday praised the deeds and thoughts of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, at a function held here to mark his 350th birth anniversary celebrations which will be held in Patna in early 2017. Wearing a saffron turban, Modi first paid obeisance to the Guru Granth Sahib installed on the stage before he greeted the audience in Punjabi with a resounding “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh”.
The PM said the birth anniversary of the Tenth Guru will be celebrated with fervour it deserves across the country. “This message should reach every corner of the country and so all efforts are being made by the government in this regard. In the coming days, large gatherings will be held in Patna Sahib and we are making special provisions of trains to facilitate the visit of the pilgrims,” he said.
Modi said it was his good fortune that he got a chance to visit Anandpur Sahib again. “I came here many a time. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji came here in 1999, I too came along with him. After becoming PM, I have come here for the first time,” he said.
Recalling the ties of his home state Gujarat with Punjab, Modi said he felt he had ties of blood with Anandpur Sahib where the Khalsa Panth had been instituted with ‘Panj Pyaras’, one of whom was from the city of Dwarka in Gujarat. “This is the place where for 28 years Guru Gobind Singh persevered through thick and thin. My connection here is of blood. The unity of the country was a priority with the Guru which is why he had a Pyara from Gujarat. So I feel a tie with this land,” he said.
Modi said Guru Gobind Singh worked towards ending caste differences and that he sacrificed his family for the cause. “It is rare to see such an example in history. On one side was oppression and cruelty. One the other was his bravery. Bow before him and his sacrifice. We should try to learn from the lives of such great men,” said Modi.
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Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Punjab BJP chief Vijay Sampla and the SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar also spoke welcoming the PM.
Badal said Guru Gobind Singh gave a message of sacrifice and resisted the efforts to convert religion of the masses. “He raised an Army to fight oppression and took steps to end caste differences. After today’s function, we must decide we will not suffer any oppression,” said Badal. He also presented a siropa, Kirpan and a model of Harmandir Sahib to the PM.
Speaking before the CM, Sukhbir Badal gave examples of how despite being small in numbers, Sikhs were contributing not only in the nation but had also managed to bag five cabinet berths in Canada. “We have to make the new generation ‘Amritdhari’ (Baptised). We have to prevent young people from getting misled and we must protect our youth,” he said.