Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday attended the 400th Parkash Purab celebrations of Sikh guru Tegh Bahadur at the Red Fort. Welcoming one and all to the event, Prime Minister Modi said the shabad kirtan performance had given him immense peace. “Wahe guru ji da khalsa, wahe guru ji di fateh. We bow to Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur ji on his Parkash Purab. I salute and bow to all the 10 Sikh gurus, and extend my greetings on this occasion to the Sikh community across the world,” he added.
“The peace I got by listening to shabad kirtan now is difficult to express in words. Today, I have also had the privilege of releasing a commemorative postage stamp and coin dedicated to the guru. I consider it a special grace of our gurus,” the prime minister said.
Mentioning Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, he said the celebrations at Red Fort had assumed a special significance. “I am happy that today our country is moving forward with full devotion on the ideals of our gurus. This Red Fort has been witness to many important periods. This fort has also seen the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur and has also tested the courage of those who died for the country,” PM Modi said.
Going back to Mughal ruler Aurangzeb’s tyrannical rule, PM Modi said back then India had great hope to save its identity in the form of Guru Tegh Bahadur. “In front of Aurangzeb’s tyrannical thinking, at that time Guru Tegh Bahadur becoming ‘Hind di chadar’, stood like a rock. At that time there was a storm of religious fanaticism in the country. There were people in front of our India who considered religion as the subject of philosophy, science and self-research, who had committed violence and atrocities in the name of religion,” he added.
Hailing India’s atmanirbharta, PM Modi ended his address to the nation by saying: “India has never posed a threat to any country or society. Even today, we think for the welfare of the whole world. When we talk of self-reliant India, we put the progress of the whole world in front of it.”
The programme is focused on highlighting the teachings of Guru Tegh Bahadur, who sacrificed his life to protect religion and human values, ideals and principles in world history. He was executed for supporting the religious freedom of Kashmiri Pandits on the orders of Aurangzeb.
His death anniversary is commemorated as ‘Shaheedi Divas’ on November 24, every year. Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, built at the spot where he was beheaded, and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, the site of his cremation, in Delhi are associated with his sacrifice. His legacy serves as a great unifying force for the nation, said the prime minister’s office.
The BJP noted that the Modi government has commemorated events related to Sikh gurus in a big way, with union minister Anurag Thakur adding that nothing could have been a more appropriate venue than the Red Fort for the grand exercise to remember the ninth Sikh guru.
The Red Fort was chosen as the venue as it was from here that Aurangzeb gave orders for the execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1675, as per the ministry of culture.
Four hundred ‘ragis’ (Sikh musicians) performed shabad kirtan to mark the occasion. There will also be a grand light and sound show depicting the life of the ninth Sikh guru. Apart from this, gatka, the traditional martial art of Sikhs, will also take place. The programme has been organised by the ministry of culture in collaboration with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
Heavy security at Red Fort
A multi-layered security ring comprising over 1,000 Delhi Police personnel and those from different agencies was deployed at the Red Fort. More than 100 CCTV cameras were set up inside the compound, officials said.
According to officials, the security ring included NSG snipers, SWAT commandos, kite hunters, canine units and sharpshooters on high-rise buildings.
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the capital, social distancing rules were deemed mandatory.
(With PTI inputs)