Search This Blog

Friday, July 07, 2006

Pakistan Visit (Part 6)

Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia was the man who founded 'The Tribune' a hundred and twenty five years ago. The Dyal Singh Research & Cultural Forum and the Dyal SinghTrust Library are named after him and are located at Nisbet road, Lahore.

I came across, at the Dera Sahib Gurdwara, Lahore, a nice little Guide Book published by the Forum, for the benefit of Sikh pilgrims. It details the Sikh Gurdwaras located in Pakistan and also provides an overview of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), besides providing some basic instructions for those visiting Pakistan for the first time.

An interesting fact about the Forum that I can not help mentioning here is that presently its director is Dr. Zafar Cheema, a jatt! Another jatt Muslim name mentioned in the Guide Book is that of Chaudhry Shahid Akram Bhinder, a member of Pakistan's National Assembly, who is on the PSGPC's liaison committee.

I visited quite a few of the Gurdwaras mentioned in the Guide Book. However, the most moving experience for me was when I visited the one at Kartarpur, located quite close to the Indo-Pak border, where Guru Nanak Dev spent the final 18 years of his life.

When the Guru left for his heavenly abode, an argument arose between the Hindus and Muslims among his followers about the manner in which the last rites were to be performed. The Hindus wanted to cremate the Guru's mortal remains while the Muslims were in favour of a burial.

It is said that while such an argument was on, the dead body disappeared from under the shroud and in its place were left a few flower petals. The Guru's Hindu and Muslim followers then proceeded to divide these, as well as the shroud, among themselves.

The Hindus cremated their half of the shroud and the Muslims buried theirs. Thus, within the premises of the Gurdwara at Kartarpur, within a few metres of each other, exist the Guru's samaadhi and his mazaar.

To me, this is among the ultimate symbols of Hindu-Muslim-Sikh amity.

No comments: