Updated: October 12, 2021 10:34:26 pm
It was in January 2019 that an Indian-origin Sikh couple, based in Singapore, created a team of volunteers and embarked on an ambitious journey to retrace the footsteps of Guru Nanak Dev.
Amardeep Singh and his wife Vininder Kaur travelled “from the deserts of Mecca in Saudi Arabia” to Mount Kailash in Tibet, “explored remote regions of perilous Afghanistan and experienced the scorching heat in Iraq”. They further “scaled the arid Baluchi mountains in Pakistan, sailed across the waters of the Indian Ocean to disembark in Sri Lanka, blended with the Persian culture in Iran, crossed the delta region in Bangladesh and mapped all four directions in India”.
The couple will now be releasing online a 24-episode docuseries that chronicles this vast expanse of sites that were visited by Guru Nanak during his lifetime. The couple will release the weekly episodes of the docuseries — Allegory, A Tapestry of Guru Nanak’s Travels — at no cost on the website TheGuruNanak.com. It will also be available for download.
Over 550 years ago, Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, had travelled across Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Tibet, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka for over two decades to spread the message of the oneness of creation.
“To relate with people of diverse cultures and belief systems, Guru Nanak engaged in philosophical and social dialogue, and through the medium of words and music, he gracefully imparted experiential and spiritual insights, fearlessly challenged the binary constructs of society, and relentlessly opposed gender, religious, racial and class inequalities,” said Amardeep.
In the 21st century, geopolitical restrictions and cultural mandates impose immense challenges to trace Guru Nanak’s extensive travels as approximately 70 per cent of the places he travelled to fall in geographies where filming is difficult, he said adding he formed the with members from India, Pakistan and several other countries to complete the documentary.
Amardeep and his wife began travelling and shooting for the documentary in January 2019.
“This herculean task, extending far beyond personal ambition, is aimed with a passion to preserve Guru Nanak’s teachings that perceives no borders or human divisions,” he added.
Aided with the analytical study of the oldest ‘Janamsakhis’ (biographies of Guru Nanak) and supported by the allegorical messages in Guru Nanak’s verses, the team spent over three years filming all the geographies and multi-faith sites visited by Guru Nanak to present his life events in the form of the 24-episode docuseries.
Commenting on the docuseries, Dr. Mohammad H. Qayoumi, President Emeritus, San Jose State University, said, “As a practising Muslim, I have found this docuseries filled with symbolic spiritual messages of Guru Nanak which will be enjoyable for everyone who has a curious mind. I highly recommend them to all viewers.”
For Amardeep and Vininder, “every moment in Guru Nanak’s footsteps was philosophically liberating”. It encouraged them to challenge their own conditioning, unlearn, relearn and assimilate the beauty of unity in diversity. “In a world that is so fragile and volatile, there has never been a better time to understand why Guru Nanak travelled for 22 years to share his experiential wisdom and propagate the oneness of humankind,” said Amardeep.
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