Guru Teg Bahadur 400th birth anniversary on track

Harjap Singh Aujla
A covid-19 pandemic of late is getting out of control in India. Its sudden spurt had seriously inhibited the preparations of the Central and the Punjab Government’s plans to celebrate the 400th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur, which otherwise would have been a massive celebration. Initially, even the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee Amritsar (SGPC) was in a state of confusion. The 9th Sikh Guru Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib was born in the Walled City of Amritsar in a place called Guru Ke Mahal, a spot where there is a Gurdwara now. The obvious venue should have been Amritsar and his place of birth. The Government of India was looking towards the programs of the Punjab Government and to some extent the SGPC programming too. That is why the central government’s plans were not finalized for a very long time and are still tentative. Their All India Radio and Doordarshan do have their definite plans of covering the event and they are going at full speed. The Punjab Government wanted to make it a worldwide event, with major functions in Patna Sahib, Sri Huzoor Sahib and the major capitals of the world but had no resources to finance the programs. They wanted to plant four hundred trees in every one of roughly thirteen thousand villages of the state. It is easy to plant trees, but impossible to nurse those in the absence of adequate resources. In view of the rising graph of Covid-19 infections, the Punjab Government first wanted to hold major celebrations close to the state capital of Chandigarh. For some time, they were toying with the idea of holding the major function at Virasat-E-Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib. But now they are reconciled to a low-key virtual celebration via Zoom App. The Punjab Minister of Tourism and Culture will read his message from home, so will the chief minister from his home. The Punjab Government has declared May 1, 2021, as a public holiday for all its employees. After dithering for a long time, the President of the SGPC Bibi Jagir Kaur did announce the schedule and the list of venues on April 29, 2021. One program will be held at the Gurdwara Guru Ke Mahal. It will be a small program. The Akhand Path will start on April 29 and its Bhog will be held on the 1 st of May followed by Shabad Kirtan. The regular daily schedule will not be disturbed at the Golden Temple. The main program will be held at a spacious Manji Sahib Diwan Hall near the Langar Hall of the Golden Temple and it will be a marathon program. All India Radio Jalandhar will carry the 7:00 am to 8:00 am slot from the Golden Temple live. They will present a feature on Guru Teg Bahadur from 9:00 am to 9:30 am. There will be special reports at 7:40 pm till the 1 st of May. Doordarshan Jalandhar will present Shabad Kirtan daily at 5:05 pm for 25 minutes till the 1 st of May. These are the details I gathered by 5:00 pm on April 29, 2021.