Prabhjot Singh, Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 18. If assurances by Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to Dubai-based businessman Surinderpal Singh Oberoi at a meeting in Katmandu yesterday are any indication, the historic Gurdwara Nanak Math will soon become operational in a new building.
Guru Nanak Math, on the banks of the Vishnu Mati river, is a part of the 200-acres of land donated by the King of Nepal, Jaya Prakash Malla, to Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikhism, during his month-long stay in Kathmandu in 1516.
Though most of the land, registered in the name of Guru Nanak Dev, has been developed for commercial and residential purposes, a piece of five acres still remains in possession of the gurdwara run by a mahant. The immediate need is to post a granthi (priest) there and restore Rehat Maryada.
“There are three volumes of Guru Granth Sahib at Gurdwara Guru Nanak Math. One of is handwritten and has 1,565 aangs (pages). It is in good shape,” claims Oberoi.
Accompanied by Indian Ambassador to Nepal Jayant Prasad, Oberoi told Dr Baburam Bhattarai, an alumnus of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, about the historic Guru Nanak Math. He carried with him the relevant documents, including the original land transfer and registration deed with signatures of crown prince Jaya Jagat Malla as witness.
Oberoi told the Nepalese Prime Minister of plans for a new gurdwara building, a langar hall and a 100-room serai that would be run by a committee with a nominee from the Nepalese Government besides representatives of the Sikh community from Nepal and outside.
The Nepalese Prime Minister reportedly assured Oberoi and Jayant Prasad that the Nepalese Government would do whatever required to stop the auction/allotment of land that belonged to the Sikh shrine.
The Nepalese Government had given a public notice for auctioning the Sikh shrine land last month before Oberoi and Pritam Singh, president of the Gurdwara Management Committee of Nepal, moved the Supreme Court in Kathmandu and got an interim injunction. The next date of hearing is December 8.
There are three gurdwaras in Nepal, all in Kathmandu and run by mahants, mostly from Varanasi or Punjab. But the Sikh Rehat Maryada is not being followed in any of the Sikh shrines. For Oberoi, the discovery of the shrine during his visit to Nepal, to oversee the formation of Nepalese Gatka Federation, was accidental.
“At one of the gurdwaras is a well with hymns in Gurmukhi inscribed on its walls. We have started work on cleaning the well and restoring this historic monument to its original shape,” said Oberoi, who is also managing trustee of the Sarbat Da Bhala Trust that has been working for the release of several Indian youths languishing in various UAE jails.
Guru Nanak Dev is believed to have visited Kathmandu in 1516 AD. The gurdwara was earlier known as Charbaksh Sthan, Sangat Bari and Sankha Bari and Guru. Oberoi took up the matter the Union Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur who evinced a keen interest in the restoration of the gurdwara. She spoke with the Indian Ambassador.
About the shrine…
Guru Nanak Math is on the banks of the Vishnu Mati river
It is a part of the 200-acres of land donated by the King of Nepal, Jaya Prakash Malla, to Guru Nanak during his visit to Kathmandu in 1516
Most of the land, registered in the name of Guru Nanak Dev, has been developed for commercial and residential purposes
But a piece of land measuring five acres remains in possession of the gurdwara run by a mahant