Describing Guru Tegh Bahadur as “Hind di Chadar” who stood “like a rock” in front of “Aurangzeb’s tyrannical thinking,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday that religious fanaticism and atrocities and violence perpetrated then in the name of religion could not separate the people from their faith, and while “big powers have disappeared, big storms have passed, India stands immortal, moving forward”.
In his address from the Red Fort to mark the 400th birth anniversary of the ninth Sikh Guru, the Prime Minister said: “Today, once again, the world is looking towards India with hope and expectation. We feel the blessings of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji everywhere in the aura of new India.”
Recalling the sacrifice of Guru Tegh Bahadur — he was beheaded on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb at the site where Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib stands opposite the Red Fort — Modi said: “At that time, a great hope for India to save its identity emerged in the form of Guru Tegh Bahadur ji. His sacrifice has inspired many generations to live and die to protect the dignity of their culture and for the country’s honour.” The Red Fort, he said, “has seen Guru Tegh Bahadur’s shahadat as well as many others during the freedom struggle” and “we are here today because of freedom fighters”.
Underlining that the country is following the ideals of the Sikh Gurus, he said India has never posed a threat to any country or society and it thinks for the welfare of the entire world even today amid global conflicts.
He made special mention of the Citizenship Amendment Act “which has cleared the path of citizenship for persecuted minorities, including Sikhs, coming from neighbouring countries”.
“For us, Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is a guide of self-realisation as well as a living form of India’s unity and diversity. Therefore, the government left no stone unturned when the crisis arose in Afghanistan and the holy swaroop of Guru Granth Sahib was brought back with all respect… we also saved our Sikh brothers in danger,” he said, referring to the evacuation exercise from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover last year.
He said India’s freedom from years of slavery and the country’s independence cannot be separated from its spiritual and cultural journey. “That is why the country is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and 400th Parkash Purab of Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji together, with identical resolve,” he said, adding, “Our Gurus always took social and cultural responsibility along with that of imparting knowledge and spirituality.”
Before his address, the Prime Minister sat in prayer while 400 ragis recited shabad kirtan. He also released a commemorative coin and postage stamp on the occasion.
“By the grace of the Gurus, the country is going ahead as per the teachings of the revered Gurus… India has been nourished by our sages, Gurus with hundreds of thousands of years of tapasya and enrichment of its thoughts,” he said.