Govt asks Sikhs in Punjab, Delhi to loan relics

The government of India has requested Sikh families in Punjab and Delhi to loan the priceless relics of the Sikh Gurus owned by them for display during the “Gurtagaddi” Diwas celebrations.

The relics will include rare copies of the birs of the Guru Granth Sahib. Some of these relics were on display during the tercentenary of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1999.

Harmohinder Singh, the Delhi-based convener for the museum sub-committee for “Gurtagaddi” celebrations set up by the union home ministry, said a formal request has been made to the families that have a rich legacy of relics. This includes more than 100 relics now owned by families spread across Punjab and Delhi.

Proper Sikh maryada will be maintained when the birs are displayed at the museum and also in Delhi. The museum will be set up in Hazoor Sahib but all items will be displayed in Delhi too, Harmohinder Singh said.

Since the relics of the Gurus are priceless, we will just be seeking these for a short period for display in the museum when the celebrations are on, he added.

Families that have been approached are in Bathinda, Moga and Damdama Sahib. The family of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also has a few relics and he will also be requested. The same had been displayed in 1999 also.

The celebrations for the “Gurtagaddi” divas have come about as 300 years have passed since Guru Gobind Singh conferred the “Gurgaddi” on Guru Granth Sahib at Hazoor Sahib in Nanded, Maharashtra.

Among the birs of the Guru Granth Sahib that may be displayed include two rare birs that are with a family in Chandigarh. Another bir is at the Bhai Veer Singh Sahitya Sadan, Delhi.

Rare birs from Nepal, Ayodhya, Pakistan and Bangladesh are being digitised under the national manuscript mission. Also the “Vilayat Wali Bir” that is in England will be digitised and a copy will be on display.

The committee will also hold five regional seminars on the importance of the Guru Granth Sahib. These seminars will be held in Kolkata, Mumbai, Madurai, Patiala/Chandigarh and Varanasi. The culminating seminar will be an international event at Delhi in October.

Apart from this, the committee is working to provide a rich historical experience to the Sikhs who will come visiting from all over the globe to participate in the celebrations. The museum and seminars will go a long way in this endeavour, said Harmohinder Singh.

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