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9th Guru’s message of peace, tolerance most important in our times: Captain Amarinder Singh

The Chief Minister made the comments while delivering his speech in the special session which was especially attended by Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit and former Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Khehar.

Leading the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in paying tributes to the Ninth Sikh Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, in a special session to mark his 400th birth anniversary, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said the Guru’s message of peace and secularism was all the more important given the rise of sectarian powers especially the ill-treatment of Uyghur Muslims by China and the rise of a new power in Afghanistan which was intolerant of other religions.

The Chief Minister made the comments while delivering his speech in the special session which was especially attended by Punjab Governor Banwari Lal Purohit and former Chief Justice of India, Justice JS Khehar.

“His message was of religious tolerance and this message is not confined to Punjab. It goes across the nation and across oceans to other countries of this globe to understand the message given 400 years ago. Are they today following it…what is happening in the world? Look to the north of us. The Chinese are destroying the Uyghur nation because they are Islamic and they want to maintain their independence. Next to them is Afghanistan which is an emerging power which does not accept religious tolerance in any form. Go across to Africa and you see many countries there or in the Middle East where this message of love and understanding and tolerance does not exist,” he said.

Amarinder also referred to ancient Indian philosophical texts which have espoused the idea of “Vasudhaiva Kutambakam” — the world is one family.

“Similarly, in the Sikh faith, we have the concept of ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’ — welfare of the entire humanity by extending a helping hand to the people in the hour of distress.

He said the Sikh faith is distinguished by the tradition of martyrdom to uphold principles and righteousness given to us by our great Gurus. He said that the life and message of Guru Tegh Bahadur constitutes the essence of what we have come to regard as Punjabiyat. “It comprises our saanjhi tehzeeb, our ma-boli Punjabi, our close ties of amity and fraternity cutting across people, faiths, castes and communities. When we talk of Punjab and Punjabis, Punjabiyat must follow. This Punjabiyat embodied in the life and teachings of the Great Guru need to be understood, appreciated and nurtured carefully,” he said.

The Chief Minister further said that the spirit of Punjabiyat has been taken by our people to all corners of the globe where they have made a special place for themselves through dint of hard work, enterprise and sacrifice. “Punjabiyat often is tested by forces that represent a narrow and short-sighted perspective as against the broad all-embracing vision given by our Gurus, therefore, it is our bounden duty as representatives of the people to guard against such inimical forces very consciously and not to allow our competing political interests to ever undermine the strong foundations of this Punjabiyat,” Amarinder said.

The CM also said that the 400th Prakash Purb of the Ninth Guru should help us renew our pledge and to show the people the right path as their rightful leaders and representatives. “I trust through this august House we can once again reiterate this message of universal peace and brotherhood on this historic occasion,” said the CM.

He added: “The slogan that we often hear and talk about ‘unity in diversity’ is not a hollow or empty slogan. It carries a deep meaning which must be understood and internalised by all of us.”

Governor Banwari Lal Purohit described the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib as one of the most important turning points in the spiritual, religious and political history of India. “History of Punjab is full of selfless sacrifices made by the great gurus and martyrs who have always been a source of inspiration for all of us. Sikh Gurus inspired us in an era that was perhaps the most challenging phase of our history. No one can forget the contributions of the Sikh Gurus and their selfless sacrifices to strengthen the unity among different communities. Therefore, Sikh Gurus are respected not only by Sikhs, but also by people of all faiths across the world,” said Purohit.

Speaker Rana K P Singh said that the sacrifice of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur would always inspire mankind to imbibe the message of love, harmony and tolerance.

In his keynote address, former Chief Justice of India Justice J S Khehar emphasised the importance of ‘Ardas’ in the Sikh way of life across the globe.

Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema exhorted all to follow the path shown by Guru Tegh Bahadur. He also emphasised relevance of the Guru’s teachings in today’s troubled times. He also read out the messages sent by the Dalai Lama and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.

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