Every evening at 8 pm the Last Post is sounded at the Menen Gate in Ieper. On special days like the 11th of November or bank holidays many will attend, on other days there might be only a few locals, but the Last Post is played and a minute silence is observed regardless.
As part of the special Sikh event on May 25 we were allowed to do a two minute prayer during this evening ceremony. I prepared and submitted a special Ardás, and supplied the organisers with a text.
I sang (with the Sangat) the original text of Tú Thakur Tum Pi Ardás, and gave the ‘Sikhí to the Max’ translation as underneath to the organisers. I recited the first part of the standard Ardás (text from SRM) in Panjabi, which I translated myself (see below). As there were many British people present and Sikhs from different European countries, I decided to do the part of the Ardás specific to the occasion in English. The full text (including translations) was available for interested members of the public.
Note that although I wrote the second part, I have followed the pattern of the standard Ardás. Please let me know what you think of our effort.
Tú Thakur Tum Pi Ardás : You are our Lord and Master; to You, I offer this prayer. This body and soul are all Your property. You are our mother and father; we are Your children. In Your Grace, there are so many joys ! No one knows Your limits. O Highest of the High, Most Generous God, the whole creation is strung on Your thread. That which has come from You is under Your Command. You alone know Your state and extent. Nanak, Your slave, is forever a sacrifice. ||8||4||
Ardás : The One All-Powerful and All-Pervading. The victory belongs to the Wonderful Enlightener. Respected adorable God help us ! Ode to the adorable God by the 10th Master. Remember the primal adorable God, then remember Guru Nanak. Then remember Guru Angad, Amardas and Ram Das, they will protect us. Remember Arjan, Hargobind and the respected Har Rai.
Remember respected Har Kishan, seeing whom all pain goes. Remember Teg Bahadur, and the nine treasures will rush to you. He will protect you everywhere. The Tenth Master, respected Guru Gobind Singh will protect you everywhere. Read, meditate on and get support from the light of the Ten Gurus, the respected Guru Granth Sahib. All say Vahiguru, Vahiguru [Wonderful Enlightener] !
Sadh Sangat Jio [Respected True Congregation], we have come together here in Ieper to remember our forefathers who gave their lives for the right of people here in Belgium and other European countries to live in peace, to enjoy freedom. They followed Guru’s teachings and the example set by so many others in our history. Vahiguru [Wonderful Enlightener] We ask you for the strength of your Nám, that we will always keep to your path ! All say : Vahiguru, Vahiguru. May we remain humble, and may God give us wisdom ! You are the honour of the honourless, you are the power of the powerless, the shelter of the shelterless, True Father Vahiguru. Fulfil the objectives of all. May we meet those beloveds that make us meditate on your Nám. Says Nanak, the Nám is the positive force, the welfare of all is in Your Will. Vahiguru Ji Ka Khalsa [The Khalsa is with Vahiguru]
Vahiguru Ji Ki Fateh