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Day to forget rifts & fissures
- Sikhs mark Guru Nanak birth anniversary

Nov. 28: This morning was different than usual; people woke up to the soothing sound of devotees singing asa-di-vars or morning hymns in the city gurdwaras.

A holy and festive atmosphere prevailed everywhere with people from the Sikh community coming to the gurdwaras to offer their prayers on the occasion of Guru Nanak Gurupurab, the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak who founded Sikhism.

The festivities that started early in the morning from about 4am continued till late into the night. The hymns were followed by reading of scriptures from the Holy Guru Granth Sahib and singing kirtans by different groups. However, the most important aspect of today’s celebrations was the akhand path, a 40-hourlong reading of the Guru Granth Sahib that began on Monday and ended this morning. After the conclusion of the various rituals, people could be seen busy lighting the gurdwaras and their residences with colourful lights and bursting firecrackers in the evening. They visited friends and relatives to exchange best wishes.

“Guru Nanak Gurupurab is a very auspicious occasion when people gather to offer prayers before the Lord and reflect on the noble teachings of Guru Nanak Devji. The celebrations for this day began 10 days ago. During this period, kirtans were sung in the gurdwaras every morning on all days. We also took out the nagarkirtan, a procession in the city on Sunday. During this procession, devotees walked through the city carrying a palanquin that held the Holy Guru Granth Sahib and as they marched ahead they recited the Gurbani, teachings and writings of Guru Nanak,” said P.P. Singh, adviser to the Sikh Pratinidhi Board, eastern zone.

The turnout of participants in the procession this time was much more than previous years and even people from other communities offered tea and snacks to the participants as they walked.

The Guru Nanak Gurpurab celebrations also turned to be an occasion that fostered brotherhood among all when people of different castes and creed chose to have lunch together during langar, a community feast organised at the gurdwaras on such auspicious occasions.

“The teachings of Guru Nanak about peace and brotherhood hold much significance in the context of the present day, especially if we take into consideration the unrest and violence taking place in society. In fact, the teachings of Guru Nanak bear similarity to the teachings of Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankardev. The holy Guru Nanak Gurupurab is one occasion when people of all communities arrive at the gurdwara to pray and take part in the langar, which will continue the whole day,” said Singh.