Dubai: The celebration of the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikh religion at the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara in Jebel Ali was a show of interfaith tolerance and mutual respect of the cosmopolitan community of UAE on Tuesday with thousands of people from all religions attending the grand event.
On day two of the three-day Guru Parab (Guru’s festival) being held from November 12-15, Shaikha Lubna Al Qassimi formally inaugurated a painting exhibition on the life and teachings on Guru Nanak which was presented in collaboration by the World Punjabi Organisation.
Surinder Singh Kandhari, founder-chairman of Guru Nanak Darbar welcomed the dignitaries, who also included Vipul, consul general of India. The exhibition provided a graphic narration of the life of Guru Nanak, his enlightenment, travels to unite humanity and his main teachings.
Al Qassimi told Gulf News: “This celebration is a reflection of the affinity of all religions which subscribe to humanity. We are in the Year of Tolerance and the Sikh religion’s principles espoused by its founder preach this. The commemoration is also a reflection of the culture of humanity and tolerance we believe in here in the UAE.”
Vipul said in the present world, the teachings of Guru Nanak are very relevant. “Guru Nanak’s basic teaching - of Ek Onkar- which means One humanity, one divinity, is an eternal principle which binds us all. The other two principles of the Sikh religion that he taught the world was to work hard and make an honest living and share one’s life and food with the community. He was a visionary who talked about protecting the environment and women. All his teachings can be applied to our life and community. These teachings are very relevant in the UAE’s Year of Tolerance that we are observing. We are grateful to the wise rulers of the UAE who donated space to build this place of worship and allow thousands of people to congregate, worship and celebrate their faith. The Gurudwara feeds thousands of people every day with free meals for all humanity, irrespective of faith and religion.”
Kandhari presented a shawl and commemorative gift to the guests on the occasion. Vipul also mentioned the historic opening of the Kartarpur corridor which provided free passage to thousands of Sikhs to visit the holy shrine in Pakistan. He presented a copy of the commemorative stamps released by the Government of India to mark the birth anniversary to Al Qassimi.
Who was Guru Nanak ?
The full moon of the Kartik month (as per the Hindu lunar calendar) is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak who was the founder of the Sikh religion and is considered the the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His teachings can be found in the 974 couplets that he created and are enshrined in the Holy book of Sikhsim – the Guru Granth Sahib. The teachings are a simple, yet deeply philosophical reflection on life and the principles of Sikhism which resonated with simple village folk in the 15th century and continue to guide believers today.