BBC News – Guru Nanak: Sikh founder’s 550th birthday celebrated

Celebrations have taken place in India and Pakistan to mark the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak – the founder of Sikhism.

The anniversary comes just a few days after the historic opening of the Kartarpur corridor, which allows Indians access to one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines in Pakistan without having to apply for a visa.

Tensions between the neighbours have made it difficult for Indian pilgrims to visit the site in Pakistan in recent years. But an agreement reached last month allows Indians to make the 4km (2.5-mile) crossing to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life.

On Tuesday, Sikh pilgrims in Pakistan gathered at Nankana Sahib, the birth place of Guru Nanak, which is about 80km (50 miles) from the city of Lahore.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the nation on the occasion, saying it was “a day to rededicate ourselves” to Guru Nanak’s “dream of a just, inclusive and harmonious society”.

Though Guru Nanak’s anniversary is an important event for Sikhs annually, this time the celebrations were more special due to the opening of the Kartarpur corridor.

Devotees from across the world visit the Kartarpur shrine every year to commemorate his birth. Indian Sikhs will now be able to visit with just their passports, but they will not be allowed to leave the site or stay overnight.

The Golden Temple [Harmandr Sahib] in Amritsar, in north-western India, is the holiest Gurdwara (where Sikhs worship). On the eve of the anniversary, it was lit up to host processions as Sikh worshippers took part in the three-day celebration of Guru Nanak’s birth.

On the first day of the celebrations, Sikhs read the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, from beginning to end*.

As is the tradition on the second day, the holy book was paraded through the streets of Amritsar on Monday in a hand-held carriage [palki sahib].

The procession was led by five people representing the original Panj Pyare, the Five Beloved Ones, who helped shape the religion.

*The non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib takes 48 hours. The reporting is misleading (due to ignorance), the author also shows that she/he does not quite know what the Panj Piare are about. – Janam Sakhi does illustrate Guru Nanak Sahib’s visit to Ayodhya but not to Ram Mandir, says Dr. Harpal Singh Pannu

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 11 November 2019. Although the Supreme Court of India has cited Guru Nanak Sahib’s visit to Ayodhya to favor the claims of Hindu community over the 2.77 acres disputed land of Babri Masjid, Sikh intellectuals don’t hold the same opinion as of Supreme Court’s judges.

Notably, the Supreme Court judges have given reference to several Janam Sakhis to back their verdict in the favor of Hindus.

Speaking to Sikh24, Sikh intellectual Dr Harpal Singh Pannu said that there is an illustration about Guru Nanak Sahib’s visit to Ayodhya in the Bhai Bale Wali Janam Sakhi but it has not been written anywhere that Guru Nanak Sahib went to a Ram Mandir.

It is pertinent to note here that the authenticity of Bhai Bale Wali Janam Sakhi has always remained under questions and it has never been accepted by all the sections Sikh Panth.

Dr Harpal Singh Pannu is currently serving as a Chair Professor of Guru Gobind Singh Chair at the Central University Punjab (Bathinda).

Disagreeing with the lines written in the Supreme Court’s verdict that Guru Nanak Sahib went to Ayodhya to have darshan of Ram Janam Bhumi, he said that Guru Nanak Sahib also went to several prominent cities like Banaras, Kashi, Mecca etc. and everywhere he taught the humanity to get rid of superstitions.

It is noteworthy here that the five member SC bench delivered its verdict in favor of Hindus by citing Guru Nanak Sahib’s visit to Ayodhya in 1510-11 while the Babri Masjid came into existence in 1528-29.

Earlier, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had told the Supreme Court of India that the mosque was constructed on pre-existing structure which was not Islamic. However, the ASI also didn’t say that this structure matched to Hindu architecture.

“Janma Sakhies, which have been brought on the record contains a description of visit of Guru Nanak Devji to Ayodhya, where he had darshan of birthplace of Lord Ram. It is true that from the extracts of Janma Sakhies, which have been brought on the record, there is no material to identify the exact place of Ram Janma Bhumi but the visit of Guru Nanak Devji to Ayodhya for darshan of Janma Bhumi of Ram is an event, which depicted that pilgrims were visiting Ayodhya and were having darshan of Janma Bhumi even before 1528 A.D.
The visit of Guru Nanak Devji in 1510-11 A.D. and to have darshan of Janma Bhumi of Lord Ram do support the faith and beliefs of the Hindus,” reads the point no. 71 of verdict’s addenda.

Janam Sakhi does illustrate Guru Nanak Sahib’s visit to Ayodhya but not to Ram Mandir, says Dr. Harpal Singh Pannu

Gent: Graslei – Korenlei – Burgstraat

Graslei, Korenlei, Burgstraat
07 November 2019



Korenlei – De Leie – Graslei

Graslei – tourist boats

Korenlei – Jan Breydelstraat


More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Express Tribune – Babri Mosque, Lahore Gurdwara: Legal parallels, different outcome

Anadolu Agency

Karachi – Sindh – Pakistan, 09 November 2019. As Indian Supreme Court on Saturday handed over the site of 16th century Babri Mosque to Hindus for the construction of a temple, the Sikh community in Pakistan feels that the verdict should have taken a queue from Lahore’s Shahid Ganj Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) case.

The two cases bear striking resemblance in terms of claims and litigation.

They also termed the timing of the verdict “surprising”, as it coincided with the opening of Kartarpur border between India and Pakistan to facilitate Sikh pilgrims to visit their places of worship.

“The two sites (Babri Mosque and Shahid Ganj Gurdwara) share a close resemblance in terms of litigation, but not in terms of the outcome,” Sardar Ramesh Singh, the chairman of Pakistan Sikh Council, told Anadolu Agency.

Ramesh gave credit to the Muslim community for conserving Shahid Ganj Gurdwara and not converting it into a mosque after the creation of Pakistan.

“The land of Babri Mosque has been taken away from Muslim minority in India, whereas the Gurdwara of the minority Sikh community still stands at the same site in Muslim-majority Pakistan,” he said.

The history of the building known as Shahid Ganj Gurdwara, also called Bhai Taru Singh (a Sikh religious scholar) Gurdwara, has striking resemblance with the dispute of Babri Mosque, demolished by a frenzied Hindu mob on 06 December 1992 and now its site has been handed over to Hindus for the construction of a mandir.

Constructed by Kotwal (Chief Police Officer) of Lahore Abdullah Khan, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653, Shahid Ganj was a mosque till 1799, till the Sikh Army under Maharaja Ranjit Singh captured the city by defeating Afghans. They converted it into a gurdwara and barred entry of Muslims.

In 1849, when British took control of Lahore by defeating the Sikh Empire, Muslims pleaded for the return of the mosque and knocked the court. But the court using law of limitations, rejected the plea and questioned the delay of 51 years for claiming the mosque.

The London-based Privy Council, the highest court of appeal during British era also rejected Muslim claim on May 2, 1940.

Gurdwara protected by local Muslims

“Only a few Sikhs were left in the surroundings of Gurdwara, following the huge Sikh exodus in 1947. If the local community had insisted its conversion into mosque, nobody would have stopped them”, said Ramesh.

Sardar Charanjeet Singh, a Sikh community leader in Peshawar said India should learn from Pakistan in terms of protecting places of worship for minorities.

“Another Gurdwara was also re-opened in Peshawar five years ago, with the assistance of local Muslims”, Charanjeet, who also runs a facebook page “Peshawari Singh”, told Anadolu Agency.

He was referring to Gurdwara Baba Biba Singh, named after a 17th century Sikh religious scholar.

The Gurdawra had been closed following migration of Sikhs from Peshawar to India in 1947.

Currently, Peshawar hosts the largest population of Sikhs in Pakistan, who started settling down here from adjoining tribal areas and other parts of the country in 1960s for businesses and jobs.

The number of Sikhs in Pakistan is estimated between 30,000-40,000 out of some 200 million population of this South Asian Muslim country.

Apart from Peshawar, he said, two other Gurdwaras had recently been re-opened in Mandi Bahauddin and Gujrat districts of Punjab with the help of local Muslims.

Both Ramesh and Charanjeet termed timing of the verdict as “surprising” and “unfortunate”, when Sikhs were celebrating 550th anniversary of their founder Baba Guru Nanak and the opening of pilgrim corridor, along Kartarpur border between India and Pakistan.

“The judgment had been pending for over a long time. The Supreme Court could have waited a bit more. But it chose to announce the verdict on this occasion, which could have been taken as a point for inter-communal harmony in both countries,” he said.

The Print – Sikhs third most targeted religious group in USA after Jews and Muslims: FBI report

In 2018, the FBI received 7,120 reports of hate crimes, of which around 835 were against Jews, 188 were against Muslims, and 60 were against Sikhs.

Washington DC – USA, 13 November 2019. Around 60 incidents of hate crimes against Sikhs were reported to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2018, making the community the third most commonly targeted religious group after Jews and Muslims in the US, according to an annual report released by the FBI on Tuesday.

A total of 7,120 hate crimes were reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies around the country last year, slightly down from 7,175 in 2017, the FBI said, adding that this involved 8,496 offenses.

The largest number of hate crimes based on religion were reported against Jews (835), followed by Muslims (188) and Sikhs (60). According to the FBI report, 91 hate crimes were reported against other religions, including 12 against Hindus and ten anti-Buddhist crimes.

Of the 4,047 hate crimes based on ethnicity, the maximum 1943 hate crime incidents were against anti-Black or African Americans, followed by anti-White (762) and anti-Hispanic or Latino (485).

The FBI reports as many as 148 hate crimes against Asians in 2018, while those against Arabs were 82, anti-American Indian or Alaska Native (194).

The Sikh Coalition in a statement said it is “disheartening” that hate crimes remain systematically “under-reported” across the United States.

According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, Americans experience an average of 250,000 hate crimes per year; this latest FBI data, by contrast, only managed to document 7,120 incidents, with less than 13 per cent of law enforcement affirmatively providing reports of hate crimes, it said.

“While hate crimes remained relatively steady nationally, reported anti-Sikh hate crimes rose by 200 percent since 2017, making Sikhs the third most commonly targeted religious group in the dataset,” it said.

At the end of the day, this data simply isn’t giving us the accurate information we need to effectively counteract hate against targeted communities, said Sim J. Singh, Sikh Coalition senior manager of Policy and Advocacy.

It’s past time for action. Congress must pass the next generation of common-sense legislation that equips law enforcement to better identify and track hate incidents,” he said.

Sikhs third most targeted religious group in US after Jews and Muslims: FBI report