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Amarinder launches year-long celebrations of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Photograph:( Facebook )

PTI Sultanpur Lodhi, Punjab, India Nov 23, 2018, 09.00 PM (IST)

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday launched year-long celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, and called upon people to set aside their religious and political differences to join his government in making it memorable.

Addressing a large gathering in Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district, where Nanak Dev spent over 14 years of his early life, Singh exhorted the people to reconnect with his teachings, principles and ideals.

Greeting people on the occasion of 'Gurpurab', he invited people from across the world to participate in the celebrations.

As part of the celebrations, Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore inaugurated an exhibition, 'From Rabab to Nagara', curated by historian Mohinder Singh, the director of Delhi-based National Institute of Punjab Studies.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and many senior Congress leaders, including Asha Kumari and Sunil Jakhar, were present on the occasion.

Manmohan Singh, Badnore and the chief minister laid the foundation stones of 26 development projects worth Rs 150 crore on the occasion.

The projects included upgrade of infrastructure in the historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Dera Baba Nanak and Batala.

The chief minister also announced projects and welfare schemes to the tune of Rs 3,312 crore to help pilgrims and to commemorate the historic occasion.

Guru Nanak Dev was born in 1469. His 549th birth anniversary falls on Friday.

Noting that considerations of caste, creed and inequality are again rampant in the society, he said, "We need to rise above these on the path shown by Guru Sahib. If Punjab has to regain its number one position in the country, we need to maintain 'bhai-chara' (brotherhood) and 'saanjh' (amity) and not get divided on different lines."

"The Punjab government will observe the event as a non-political and bi-partisan affair," the chief minister said.

He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union government for acceding to various requests of the state government with regard to the celebrations.

He hailed the Centre's decision to develop the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from Punjab's Gurdaspur district to the International Border to facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan.

He said a long-pending demand of Punjab was on the verge of fulfilment and on November 26, he would join the President to lay the foundation stone of the corridor.

He also thanked the Government of Pakistan for reciprocating on the issue and said his government would also contribute, as may be required, to ensure timely completion of the project.

Addressing the gathering, former prime minister Manmohan Singh expressed gratitude to Amarinder Singh and his government for giving him the opportunity to be part of this special moment.

He expressed hope that all would rise above petty considerations of communalism and hatred to celebrate the event in a befitting manner.
The former prime minister exhorted the people to participate in the year-long celebrations with full enthusiasm and gaiety, regardless of caste, colour, creed and religion.

Governor Badnore said it was a matter of pride for him to be part of the auspicious occasion. He called for universal brotherhood as the key message of the commemorative events.

Badnore said the Railway Ministry would run special trains on the religious circuit relating to the life of Guru Nanak Dev for the convenience of the pilgrims.

Former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, who was also present, presented a book, 'We the Sikhs around the world', relating to 100 Gurdwaras across the globe, to Manmohan Singh, Badnore and Amarinder Singh.

Earlier, Manmohan Singh, along with his wife Gursharan Kaur, Badnore and Amarinder Singh paid obeisance at the historic Gurdwara Ber Sahib here.
Former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal also paid obeisance at Gurdwara Ber Sahib.

Story highlights

Addressing a large gathering in Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district, where Nanak Dev spent over 14 years of his early life, Singh exhorted the people to reconnect with his teachings, principles and ideals.