Deepa H. Ramakrishnan
538th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak
PUDUCHERRY: Vahe Guruji Ka Khalsa, Vahe Guruji Ki Fateh ... chants that one normally hears at Gurudwaras and Sikh prayer sessions.
The JIPMER Community hall here turned into a Gurudwara on Sunday as a small gathering of Sikhs from Puducherry, Neyveli, Chidambaram and Chennai came together to celebrate the 538th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru.
The celebration, called Gurupurab, was organised by the Pondicherry Sri Sukhmani Saheb Sabha.
The day started with a reading from the Guru Granth Saheb, the holy book of the Sikhs, placed on a grand pedestal. Gyani Sathpal Singh, the main preacher from the Gurudwara at the Gurunanak College in Chennai, presided over the entire session. Towards the end, he performed the Ardas, similar to an Aarthi, and devotees uttered the chants.
There are about 50 Sikh families in Puducherry. People from neighbouring districts also come here for the four major celebrations that the Sukhmani Saheb Sabha organises annually.
They have been organising such functions for the past 9 years here. Every Sunday, they have a reading of the Guru Granth Saheb in the homes of people of the community.
According to Sabha president B.D. Toora, "We have functions to celebrate the birth anniversaries of the first guru - Guru Nanakji and the tenth guru - Guru Gobind Singh and cultural programmes for Lodhi, which falls in January and also for Bhaisaki. But we don't have a proper place for our celebrations. We have been regularly requesting the Government of Puducherry to grant us a piece of land to build a Gurudwara here. We have requested to Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and to the Lt. Governor but of no avail. If we are given land we will be able to raise funds to construct the place of worship." The nearest Gurudwara is located in Tambaram in Chennai, a good two and half hours away.
The community in Puducherry also wants to add more celebrations to its calendar and celebrate the birthday of the 5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev.
The day ended with a simple lunch at the Guru Ka Langar, cooked and served entirely by the members of the community. The lunch consisted of roti, dhal, sabji, chaaval and kheer.