22 November, the birthday of the first and founder Guru of Sikhism, Nanakdevji will have great importance in 2019, when it will be his 550th Birth Anniversary. However, this years anniversary will also be nothing short of special. On the eve of Prakash Parva this year, Central Government has given a big gift to Sikh community to the effect that a corridor shall be built in Gurdaspur district of Punjab to facilitate entry into Pakistan from Indian side through Dera Baba Nanak village to Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib lying on the bank of river Ravi in Pakistan. Distance from international border is just four and half kilometers. A bloated controversy erupted few months ago, when cricketer turned politician and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu hugged Pakistan Army chief General Bajwa in Islamabad during oath taking ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
It is obvious that Sikh community would be happy over the decision to build Kartarpur Corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur to Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. As reports suggest, Central Government will incur all expenditure on the project. This has been a long outstanding demand to create corridor and easy access to Gurudwara Kartarpur sahib. On the issue, there have been assurances and offers from Pak side also that they would allow entry without any visa formality. However, the issue remained unaddressed due to uneasy calm and strained relation between two countries.There has always been apprehension that a move to create easy and smooth pass into Pakistan would be hazardous and can lead to promoting terrorism and also attempts can be made for revival of the dormant Khalistan movement.
However, Sikhism point of view Shri Karupur Sahib Gurudwara is considered to be prominent place of worship, which is commemorated in honour of Guru Nanakdevji. At present, Indian devotees do Darshan of Gurudwara from a telescope at Dera Baba Nanak Border outpost in Gurdaspur, Punjab. I was lucky to get an opportunity to get the darshan from this border post just two months ago.
As per Sikh history, the first Guru, Guru Nanak DevJi, had spent last 18 years of his life in Dera Baba Nanak and breathed his last on the land of Kartarpur, where a beautiful Gurudwara was built and named as Kartarpur Sahib. While cultivating himself as a peasant here, he gave the message of ‘Kirat Karo, Vand Chhko and Naam Jopo’ to mankind. The great tradition of langar began here. Let us hope that the move would fulfill the long outstanding desire of devotees and at the same time a step towards normalcy of relations between two neighbors which are at its low after 2016 terror attacks in India.