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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
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In The Guru’s Footsteps

Big plans for 400th birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur

In The Guru’s Footsteps
Photograph by Prabhjot Singh Gill
In The Guru’s Footsteps
outlookindia.com
2021-04-03T14:01:53+05:30

Banners, buntings and posters announce the importance of an event on May 1—Labour Day internationally, but much more significant in Sikh-majority Punjab. The day marks the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth in the Sikh pantheon of gurus. The Congress government in the state is sparing no effort to make the guru’s Prakash Purb a mega-event, with yearlong celebrations, although a global pandemic lurks in the background.  

Functions will be held across the state and lakhs of devotees are ­expected to turn up, keeping with the spirit of Sikh camaraderie and kinship. The government has drafted a detailed programme—a chunk of which ­involves logistics in the time of Covid. Social distancing and masks et al. Religious gatherings are known to be cavalier in their attitude towards Covid protocols. Will the Captain Amarinder Singh administration be able to stop people from discarding the discomfort of masking the airways and facial expressions? The answer is not easy to find, although the ­government’s PR machinery has left enough bread crumbs to pick. The hoardings speak for themselves—the larger-than-life image of the CM with the Ninth Guru’s portrait.

It’s not for nothing that Punjabis swear by the “donaali”—the ­double-barreled shotgun. The Guru’s 400th birth anniversary is more like it, especially at a time when Punjab will be voting a new assembly next year. The Congress is playing the religion card to the hilt since the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has floundered on several ­occasions during its rule when multiple cases of blasphemous acts such as ­miscreants burning Sikh religious texts were reported. The Akali Dal-BJP ­coalition government was accused of lethargy in catching and punishing the culprits. Memory is a...

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