by Zia Ur Rehman
September 30, 2018
Keen on being part of the global celebration of the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, the Sikh community living in the Sindh province has stepped up their preparations for the grand event.
In this regard, the Pakistan Sikh Council, the Guru Nanak Darbar Karachi and the Sarbat Da Bhala Jatha Pakistan have been making preparations for a Nagar Kirtan train procession from Karachi to the Nankana Sahib city via the Sikh Yatri Train.
Nagar Kirtan is a Sikh custom involving the processional singing of holy hymns throughout a community. The Gurdwara Nankana Sahib is the birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev in the Punjab province’s Nankana Sahib district.
Pakistan Sikh Council head Sardar Ramesh Singh said the Nagar Kirtan train procession is being organised in connection with the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev. “It is a historic day for the Sikh community. On the 550th birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, there can be no bigger happiness than this for the community members living across the world.”
Singh said that the main purpose of arranging Nagar Kirtan via train in mid-October is to spread the message of harmony as Guru Nanak Dev did his entire life, advocating for a society free of class and other discriminations.
Singh has already met with Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs & Inter-faith Harmony Noorul Haq Qadri and Pakistan Railways Karachi Divisional Superintendent Syed Mazhar Ali Shah. All of them are helping arrange the train procession, said the Pakistan Sikh Council head.
“In the past one year, several Nagar Kirtan processions, Sikh parades and other activities have been held across the world in connection with the global celebration of the birthday of Guru Nanak.”
Last month a Nagar Kirtan procession had reached India via the Wagah-Attari border from Nankana Sahib for the first time after Partition. Around 500 devotees were part of the procession.
Singh said the train procession will start from Karachi, stopping at Hyderabad, Shahdadpur, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Rohri, Pano Aqil, Ghotki and Daharki, to culminate at Nankana Sahib. He said that more than 800 people from various parts of the province will become part of the Nagar Kirtan procession, adding that the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee will welcome and host the procession.
The Pakistan Sikh Council head also said the train will be decorated with wallpapers containing teachings about Guru Nanak. “We also plan to install a religious set-up in one empty coach.”
A number of minority parliamentarians, including Jai Parkash, Anwar Lal Dean, Kheal Das Kohistani, Mangla Sharma, Dr Ashok Kumar and Dr Darshan will also join the procession, added Singh.