The High Commissioner of India, Shri Thakur said that the celebration, which was held every Nov.8 was a most sacred festival for Indians all over the world.
” I extend a very warm welcome to all our guests, on this very special occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji Gurupurab, and the first celebration in the premises of the High Commission of India.
“Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru and founder of Sikhism, was born in 1469 on the Puranmashi, or full moon day, of the Indian lunar month of Kartik, in Nankana Sahib, which now falls in Pakistan.
“It is the most sacred festival for Sikhs, seeing the significance and relevance of Guru Nanak’s teachings in the contemporary world, Government of India has attached high importance and has decided to organise the festival in a befitting manner both in India and abroad.
“I am glad that despite small numbers of Sikhs in Nigeria, and Abuja in particular, the interest and enthusiasm not only among our Sikh brothers and sisters, but also among all other members of Indian community, from other faiths and religions, is high.
“This shows the true nature and image of our rich and diverse culture, based on peaceful co-existence, harmony and tolerance,” he said.
According to him, the Akhand Path, a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs, and the Langar, a special community service meal by volunteers, are highly symbolic.
Thakur said that Sikh temples are famous for the social service they provide to needy communities in India and beyond.
“On this occasion, I must acknowledge the immense contribution made by our Sikh brothers and sisters in the development, prosperity and security of India.
“Though, Sikhs are barely 1.7per cent of India’s population, their contribution to India as farmers, soldiers, industrialists and sportsmen has been immense and on a lighter note, one can say that north Indian Punjabi food, the Chicken Tikka Masala, is synonymous with Indian food the world over.
” We have taken a proactive approach towards opening of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, which will be opened today to mark the 550th birth celebrations of Guru Nanak.
“This will allow 5,000 Indian pilgrims daily to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the shrine in Pakistan where Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life, the corridor will connect the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Punjab with Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur.
“So on this holy occasion today, let us all reaffirm our determination to do everything we can, individually and collectively, to follow ourselves and spread the message of peace, harmony and tolerance.
“These are values that also bind India, the largest democracy in the world and Nigeria, the largest democracy in Africa.”
Thakur said that both India and Nigeria are multi-ethnic diverse countries, which are faced with similar internal conflicts and challenges,
The envoy noted that the citizen should seek the blessings of Guru Nanak Dev ji to move forward on the path of development and progress.
Edited by Felix Ajide