New Delhi: Hailing the contribution of the Indian sages and gurus in enriching the country’s heritage and traditions through their penance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur, who became “Hind ki chadar” and stood like a rock in front of Aurangzeb’s tyrannical thinking, has inspired many generations to live and die to protect the dignity of their culture, for its honour and respect.
Asserting that the nation was following the ideals of Sikh gurus, Mr Modi said India had never posed a threat to any country or society and even today amid global conflicts it thinks of the welfare of the entire world.
In a historic event to mark the 400 Parkash Purab of the ninth guru, a ceremony was held at Delhi’s historic Red Fort after sunset for the first time in independent India. The Red Fort is just 600 meters away from Sis Ganj Gurdwara, where the Sikh guru was martyred. The fort was chosen as the venue as it was from here that Aurangzeb had given orders for the execution of Guru Teg Bahadur in 1675.
“India has never posed a threat to any country or society. Even today we think of the welfare of the whole world. When we talk about a self-reliant India, we keep the progress of the whole world in front of that goal,” the PM said.
Mr Modi reached out to the Sikh community, who gathered at the venue, and all those following the event across the world over, and listed various initiatives by his government for the Sikh community and Sikhism. He noted how the Indian government brought Afghan Sikhs and swaroops of the Guru Granth Sahib after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.
The PM also released a commemorative coin and a postage stamp on the occasion. The Modi government and the BJP has been reaching out to the Sikh community, which dominates Punjab, a state where the BJP has been desperately trying to increase its organisational strength, especially after its ally, Akali Dal, snapped ties over the now-repealed farm laws.
Noting Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib is a symbol of the immortal sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Mr Modi said: “This holy gurdwara reminds us how great was the sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji to protect our great culture. At that time there was a storm of religious fanaticism in the country. India, which considered religion as a matter of philosophy, science and self-reflection, was facing people who committed violence and atrocities in the name of religion.” The PM said the Red Fort is a witness that Aurangzeb and tyrants like him might have beheaded many people but “our faith could not be separated from us”. He added: “Big powers have disappeared, big storms have calmed down but India still stands immortal and is moving ahead.”
Guru Tegh Bahadur's death anniversary is marked as “Shaheedi Divas” every year on November 24. The event saw performances by 400 Sikh musicians and a langar was also organised....