Stuti Malhotra | CPS Member | Speaking Tree, July 28, 2019
Guru Nanak chose Kartarpur to practise his philosophy of equality, simplicity and righteousness, writes STUTI MALHOTRA
Guru Nanak wanted to free our society from disparities based on caste, creed and colour. For this, he chose Kartarpur as the centre of his activities. During the last 18 years of his life he stayed in Kartarpur, except for a few brief journeys in Punjab.
Nanak invited his followers to come and settle in the new village — that he called Kartarpur (the word kartar means creator in Punjabi) — apportioning the farming land among his followers and reserving a few acres for himself to plough the fields for his family. He had now decided to lead the life of a farmer. These 18 years were important because he put into practise what he preached.
Nanak believed in the affirmation of life, that is, one should live life while fulfilling one’s responsibilities towards family and society. He disfavoured renunciation and monasticism, espousing the idea of living in this world, performing one’s duties and remembering the Creator. And it was at Kartarpur that he implemented his philosophy of life.
Guru Nanak brought his family and parents — father Mehta Kalu and mother Tripta — from Talwandi to reside in Kartarpur. Nanak’s presence in Kartarpur drew many people to the city to seek his blessings. They came to listen to his sermons, participate in singing hymns and find answers to their doubts and questions. Everyday new people from all walks of life visited Kartarpur, and they all would return happy and contented. Besides, there were people who actually came to settle in Kartarpur and become new members of the brotherhood. Many people visited Kartarpur in pursuit of peace and solace.
The year 1532 brought an important visitor, who went on to become the next guru of the Sikh Panth. His name was Lehna. When he joined the fraternity, there was no task which was low for him, for he was ever-ready to serve the guru in every possible way. The humbler the task, the more zeal he would show to complete it. Lehna was in constant companionship of Guru Nanak and was continually willing to serve the community. The passion to work infused in him by the guru intensified as years passed by.
After the guru had tested Lehna on several occasions and realised that he was devoted to God and the principles expounded by the guru, Nanak finally bestowed Lehna with guruship and said to him, “You have become part of me and so you will be called Angad. My spirit shall reside in you and you will be called my successor”; the word angad means part of oneself.
On June 14, 1539, in the presence of the Sangat, a ceremony of installing Lehna as Guru Angad was performed. Guru Nanak placed five paise and a coconut before Guru Angad and bowed before him, implying that he had become the head of the Sikh faith.
Nearly three months later, Nanak informed his disciples that it was time for him to return to his eternal home. While nearing his end in Kartarpur, all his disciples including Hindus and Muslims, sat around him and sang the praises of Lord, while Guru Nanak drifted off into eternal sleep.
Kartarpur plays a significant role in the history of Sikhs. Moreover, since Guru Nanak was teacher and guru for the entire world, the Kartarpur Corridor — a proposed border corridor between the neighbouring nations of India and Pakistan, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (located in Punjab, India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (in Punjab, Pakistan) — will revive and strengthen relationship between Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and people belonging to other communities.
Every day, hundreds of devotees go to Gurdaspur for a binocular darshan of the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, in Pakistan. India’s BSF has built a darshan sthal and installed a binocular for devotees to have a closer view of the gurdwara from the Indian side of the international border.
In 1504, Guru Nanak found- ed Kartarpur on the right bank of the Ravi. When he died in 1539, Hindus and Muslims both claimed him as their own, and raised mausoleums in his honour with a common wall between them. The changing course of the Ravi washed away the mausoleums. Nanak’s son saved the urn containing his ashes and reburied it on the left bank of the Ravi, where a new habitation was formed, which is the present day Dera Baba Nanak Sahib. ■