New Delhi: After failing to make headway on opening the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims , despite positive signals from Pakistan government, the government of India has decided to install a high-powered telescope along the Indo-Pak border for devotees to view Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab, one of the holiest shrines of Sikhs.
The government Monday also announced that a commemorative coin and postage stamps will be released as part of a series of activities planned to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT will install a high-powered telescope in India for the devotees to view Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, while the Railways Ministry will run a train, which will pass through places associated with the Sikh guru, a Home Ministry statement said.
The issue of Kartarpur Sahib came into focus after Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu visited Pakistan in August to attend the oath-taking ceremony of his cricketer-turned-politician friend Imran Khan as prime minister of that country.
After his return, Sidhu claimed that Pakistan Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had told him that Pakistan may open a corridor to Kartarpur Sahib, which is located just across the International Border in Punjab.
Kartarpur Sahib is the final resting place of Guru Nanak.
The National Implementation Committee, chaired by Rajnath Singh, also launched events, including the release of commemorative coin and postage stamps.
Following this, it was decided that the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev will be commemorated through a series of activities, commencing in November, throughout the country and across the globe, the statement said.
“The year 2019 marks the 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the great saint and founder of the Sikh faith. Guru Nanak’s teachings of love, peace and brotherhood hold universal appeal,” it said.
The central ministries and departments and the Indian missions abroad will organise various activities as part of the celebrations.
The important highlights of the programme for commemoration are the following:
Sultanpur Lodhi, where Guru Nanak spent much of his life, will be developed as a heritage city, also incorporating Pind Babe Nanak Da, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs in collaboration with the Punjab government. The Railways Ministry will upgrade the Sultanpur Lodhi railway station with modern amenities.
A national institute of inter-faith studies will be set up by the Human Resource Development Ministry for which the Punjab government will provide land free of cost. A chair on Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji will be set up by the ministry in one university each in the UK and Canada.
An international seminar on the life and teachings of the Sikh guru will be organised in New Delhi by the Culture Ministry. States and Union territories will also be requested to celebrate the birth anniversary in a befitting manner.
The Indian missions abroad will organise a series of activities as part of the celebration. Religious activities like ‘kirtan’, ‘katha’, ‘prabhat pheri’, ‘langar’, etc. will be organised throughout the year both at national and international level and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will draw a calendar of activities and execute it.
Educational activities such as seminars, workshops, lectures, etc. shall be organised across the country by the HRD Ministry in association with SGPC.