- 23 Nov 2018
- 5 min read
The Union cabinet has approved the construction of a ‘corridor’ linking India with the historic Kartarpur gurdwara on the banks of the Ravi river, in Pakistan.
- Kartarpur gurudwara is the revered shrine across the border where Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism spent the last 18 years of his life.
- The corridor will connect the holy shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan.
- The length of the corridor is about 4 km (2 km on either side of the international border).
- The Pakistan government has also decided to open the corridor.
- The corridor will commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
- Pilgrimages between India and Pakistan are governed by the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, which includes a list of shrines in Pakistan and India open for visitors from the other country, and for which visas are required.
- The Kartarpur Corridor, which will provide visa-free access to the shrine when it becomes ready on both sides, may need a separate treaty.
- The Kartarpur Sahib corridor was first proposed in 1999 when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore.
- The Kartarpur corridor will be implemented as an integrated development project with Government of India funding. The development comes ahead of the 550th Prakash Purab or 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in 2019.
- It will allow Indian devotees to visit Kartarpur shrine located 2 km inside Pakistan in Narowal district.
- Until now, most Indian devotees have had to contend with a darshan using binoculars installed at Dera Baba Nanak Sahib.
- India has also asked Pakistan to develop the corridor with suitable facilities in its territory from the International Border to facilitate easier access of Indian pilgrims.
- The forward movement on the Kartarpur corridor can be considered a big development since despite the India-Pakistan deadlock in talks, both New Delhi and Islamabad have been able to form a consensus on the issue.
- Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti is observed on the full-moon day in the month of Katak to celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), who is the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus and the founder of Sikhism.
- He advocated the 'Nirguna' form of bhakti.
- He rejected sacrifices, ritual baths, image worship, austerities and the scriptures of both Hindus and Muslims.
- He organised his followers into a community. He set up rules for congregational worship (
sangat) involving collective recitation.
- He appointed one of his disciples, Angad, to succeed him as the preceptor (guru), and this practice was followed for nearly 200 years.
- The fifth preceptor, Guru Arjan, compiled Baba Guru Nanak’s hymns along with those of his four successors and other religious poets like Baba Farid, Ravidas (also known as Raidas) and Kabir in the Adi Granth Sahib.
- These hymns, called 'Gurbani', are composed in many languages.
- In the late seventeenth century the tenth preceptor, Guru Gobind Singh, included the compositions of the ninth guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur, and this scripture was called the Guru Granth Sahib.
- Guru Gobind Singh also laid the foundation of the Khalsa Panth (army of the pure) and defined its five symbols: uncut hair, a dagger, a pair of shorts, a comb and a steel bangle. Under him, the community got consolidated as a socio-religious and military force.