Sunday, May 9

West Bengal: Kirtans, sky lanterns light up Guru Parab

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Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary, Guru Parab, was observed with much reverence by Sikhs as well as members of other communities across the city on Tuesday. Following tradition, prayers started early in every Sikh home and at gurdwaras, where families later met to pray and exchange greetings.

The special prayers chanted on Guru Parab from the holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, is called Jap Ji Sahib. “Almost every Sikh takes an early-morning shower and then prepares himself/herself to pray. Later in the day, they visit different gurdwaras time to meet friends and families. On Guru Parab, Sikhs usually meet others at gurdwaras, rather than visit their homes,” said Ranbir Singh, who owns a hotel chain in the city. “At home, families prepare the Kara Prasad, a special halwa made with ghee, and distribute it among people.” Diyas and candles were also lit to make the day-also known as Guru Purnima as it coincides with a full-moon day-memorable.

The popular gurdwaras at Behala, Kalighat, Sant Kutiya, Burrabazar and Dunlop saw day-long kirtan, paath and spiritual discourses. The city-based IHA Foundation, under the leadership of its chairman Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, had organized yearlong celebrations for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, which included planting of 5,500 trees at Sri Darbar Sahib-Golden Temple Amritsar and also, across different states of India, culminating in Kolkata. The sapling planting was carried out with the support of Earth Day Network.

Nanik Sambtani, an elderly member of the Sindhi community, which also took part in the festivities, said, “We had the Nagar Kirtan from 4.30am to 7.30am, when around 1,000 people travelled through the streets of Kolkata. After that, we had Asadivar and Kirtan, following which we had the langar prasad distribution between 11am and 2.30pm. Around 8,000 people from all walks of life participated in it. Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born between 1.20am and 2am, and we chant Dhuni during that period in the pandal.” He said their community had been celebrating the day at Ramlila Park since 1992.

“Guru Nanak taught us about environment 500 years ago, when he said, ‘Pavan Guru paani pita, mata dharat mahat/Divas raat doe daai daaiaa, khelai sagal jagat (Air is the Guru, water the father and the earth is the mother. They give us life, we sleep in their laps night and day).’ To spread this message, we had presented 550 potted saplings to people, requesting them to grow and nurture the plants as a contribution to a greener environment and as a homage to the Guru. A special homemade Panjiri (unique to Punjabi tradition and also used as prasad) was also given out,” Ahluwalia said.

His foundation had urged people not to burst fire-crackers to avoid adding to the pollution. Instead, the foundation, along with the Gurdwara Behala, lit 550 sky lanterns from 3pm onwards. The event was participated by people from all walks of life, including politicians Sadhan Pande, Subrata Mukherjee, Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, Arup Biswas, and Debashish Kumar.


Source: Times of India

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