Historic visit to Pakistan and India to mark 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

A group photo outside Nankana Sahib Gurudwara

A group photo outside Nankana Sahib Gurudwara

On Friday 1st November 2019 Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh OBE KSG, accompanied by an internationl cohort of 650 members of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha decended on Lahore, Pakistan and made history. Never before had a group from so many countries, forming a single group, visited Pakistan with the sole purpose being to pay homage and obeisance to the blessed land where Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469 – 1539) had frequented centuries earlier.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji travelled far and wide, teaching people the message of one God, who dwells in every one of His creations and constitutes the eternal Truth.

“It was an honour and a humbling privilege to visit the holy, sacred shrines that we were able to in Pakistan and later in India. I would like to congratulate the whole of humanity on the 550th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj. We applaud the actions of the Indian and Pakistan Governments in the fantastic work done to establish the Kartarpur Corridor. I was honoured to be there for the formal opening on the 9th November 2019.”

“We should remember that all sacred shrines are precious. The sanctity of places of worship and the sacred revered

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh OBE KSG, continually works for more faith solidarity and better interfaith relations

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh OBE KSG, continually works for more faith solidarity and better interfaith relations

text of each faith are the responsibility of all faiths. We should respect and preserve the rich heritage of all faith traditions in the World. We have a duty of care for looking after each other – we cannot love God if we cannot love his creation.”

“The Sikh’s tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji clearly and emphatically stated that ‘saach keho sun laeho sabhay, jin prem keeo tin hee prabh paaeyo’ – ‘I speak the truth, listen everyone: Only the one who is absorbed in True Love shall attain the Lord’. Human beings must preserve the sanctity and sacredness of ALL religious texts. When we look around the world we see the desecreation of sacred shrines and this must stop. This cannot be in the name of faith or religion – these are barbaric acts of violence.” Recalled Bhai Sahib, Bhai Mohinder Singh.

Local sangat welcomed the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) pilgrims from around the world; U.K, Kenya, Botswana, India, U.S.A, Canada and beyond who had made the journey to Pakistan to partake in the celebrations.

Amrick Singh, Nishkam Centre Director, said how privileged he felt to have been on this sacred pilgrimage. “I remember the ecstatically warm, friendly, family welcome all the 650 guests got – it was like a home-coming as one of our Pakistan brothers put it. We could not have imagined the warmth that was portrayed toward the Sikh community right across the country. The passion that the local people had for greater faith solidarity was moving. You would continuously hear ‘may Allah bless you all and provide peace to us all’.”

“We must thank the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), Interior Minister and of course Prime Minister Imran Khan, for facilitating the possibility of such a large group to visit Pakistan. When you think of the logistics of a convoy of 16 coaches and two mini-buses being escorted from Gurudwara to Gurudwara and then returning to the hotel every evening, the magnitude of the task becomes apparent. A special vote of thanks must also go to the Pakistan Consul General, Ismail Ahmar, his team in Birmingham and Mr Ibrar at Gerry’s for the unrelenting support given to secure Pakistan Visas for the whole group. On the Indian side, Dr Aman Puri, Indian Consul General, Birmingham and his team were a great support, they facilitated the smooth issuance of the relevant documents to enable the congregation to move freely.”

Local community welcome the pilgrims with flowers

Local community welcome the pilgrims with flowers

The Sikh tradition informs us that the foundation of any faith is daya, which can be translated as compassion.  Our very existence on the planet is supported by daya, the bedrock of faith. Daya is not simply an obligation but an inherent quality of being. It is a powerful force that unfolds when we see the universal light of God in all creation. As humans, we walk upon the same earth, breathe the same air; share the same basic hopes and joys, whilst enduring the same suffering and pain. This acknowledgement demands a responsibility to share. Theses messages were epitomised by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and during this blessed anniversary period we should all take a long look within ourselves and calibrate our behaviour and conduct accordingly.

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh reiterated, “We are all part of the Lord’s infinite plan, creation and design, it is important that we understand each other. We all have multiple identities as individuals. We are mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers, sons and daughters, we belong to certain professions and our passports are reminders that we have certain national identities.  Our absolute identity however, is that of a human being.  We must remember that we are here on earth as mere travellers, this is not our permanent domicile. Remembering this, will encourage us to change the way in which we engage with the world and think about life in general.  Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikh’s Eternal Guru) reminds us that the temple of Mecca is within your soul, if you try to realise it.”

“Finally there is an increasing recognition that faith constitutes a vital part of our vibrant communities and that there is no singular secularism in our global world. The family of faiths, who are the backbone of civil society, must seriously reflect on their own traditions and collaborate with others to jointly harness spirituality and empower the mortal individual to achieve success in attaining a greater understanding of ‘the other’.

It would appear that despite Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s message to all humanity, we are facing a crisis of selfishness and spiritual poverty in the collective human psyche. Our secular efforts to achieve anything will remain impoverished until we harness the spiritual power that remains latent within us. Together, the spiritual and the secular are the beacons that will ensure that we can serve the Creator and creation, making this a better world for all.

After visiting many of the sacred shrines across Pakistan, the group then crossed the border into India, and carried on sacred anniversary celebrations in Sultanpur Lodhi, where Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent many years with his family. The group were able to take part in Langar Sewa and serve food to the many Sikhs and visitors that were travelling to blessed location from across India and the world. It was in Sultanpur Lodhi where Guru Nanak Dev Ji first conveyed the message of ‘Ik Onkar’ (One God) to the rest of the world.


For more information:

  1. Visit to Nankana Sahib, Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birthplace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQjveqFfgB8
  2. University Of Birmingham Mega Event for Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th Birth Anniversary: https://nishkammediacentre.com/2019/08/11/the-university-of-birmingham-to-celebrates-a-mega-event-in-sikh-history/

For more articles like the above please visit www.nishkammediacentre.com

%d bloggers like this: