PM thanks Imran Khan for appreciating India's sentiments on Kartarpur Corridor
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday thanked his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan for appreciating India's sentiment on the issue of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, to the Dera Baba Nanak shrine here.
"I thank Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi. He understood India's feelings on the Kartarpur corridor issue, gave respect (to it) and, worked keeping in view those feelings," the prime minister told a gathering at the BSF camp in Shikhaar Masiahan, about eight kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak gurdwara. The prime minister also thanked the Pakistani workers involved in building the corridor.
"I also want to thank the workers of Pakistan who worked at a fast pace to help in building the corridor on their side," he said. Donning a saffron turban on the occasion, PM Modi said he felt blessed to be on the holy land here to dedicate the Kartarpur corridor to the country.
The opening of the corridor and the integrated check post would bring "double happiness" to the people, he added. "I feel blessed that I am dedicating the Kartarpur corridor to the country. At the moment, I am getting the same feeling which you get at the time of doing Kar Sewa (religious service)", he said.
This corridor and Integrated Check Post will serve thousands of devotees each day, and take them to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, he said. The prime minister also congratulated the countrymen and Sikhs across the world, while inaugurating the corridor.
He also flagged off the first batch of over 500 Indian pilgrims who will travel to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province through the Kartarpur corridor, thrown open days ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 12. "Paying obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib will become easier now due to the corridor. I express gratitude to the Punjab government, SGPC and all the workers who were involved in building this Corridor," the prime minister said.
The Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, the apex religious body of the Sikhs also honoured the prime minister with 'Kaumi Sewa Award' on the occasion. "The SGPC bestowed me with Kaumi Sewa award, which I dedicate at the feet of Guru Nanak Dev," he said.
"Guru Nanak is not a legacy of Sikhs alone, but an inspiration for the entire humanity," said the prime minister, adding, "He is not only a Guru, but a thought." "When Guru Nanak Dev set out on his 'udasis' or long travels from Sultanpur Lodhi, who knew what changes they would usher?" he said.
The prime minister said the Guru himself had proclaimed that the purpose of his 'yatras', were to "pull the society out of injustice, darkness and inequalities". He gave message of unity and brotherhood, said Modi, adding he also gave society the gift of "an economic system, based on truth, honesty and self-respect".
"Guru Nanak Dev taught us that when development is undertaken with truth and honesty, it leads to the opening up of paths of progress and prosperity," said Modi. He taught us that the wealth would come and go, but true values would always remain intact, the prime minister added.
"He also taught us that when we work sticking to our values, it gives permanent prosperity," he said. The prime minister also touched upon the final years of Guru Nanak's life in Kartarpur.
Guru Nanak also taught us to consider "air as Guru, speech as father and earth as mother", he said. "Only Guru Nanak's teachings could show us the path to move ahead when there is exploitation of nature, leading to environmental problem and pollution," he said.
The prime minister also referred to various ongoing Sikhism-related work across the world. "I am grateful to UNESCO for its help in translation of Guru Nanak's Gurbani in different languages," he said, adding a university in Britain has set up a chair after Guru Nanak's name.
Similar efforts are being made in Canada, he said, adding an interfaith university is being set up in Amritsar too, while Sultanpur Lodhi is being developed as a heritage town. He also referred to the Indian Railways plan to link places, concerned with Guru Nanak's life, by a special weekly train.
The Centre government has worked on improving rail and air connectivity among religious places of Sikhs, including Akal Takhat, Damdama Sahib, Kesgarh Sahib, Patna Sahib and Huzoor Sahib, he said. On the issue of scrapping of a Centre's 'black list', having names of 321 foreigner Sikhs, who were allegedly involved in anti-India activities, the prime minister said this decision has benefitted Sikhs world over.
"Many families can apply for visa no, can meet their relatives easily in India and perform prayers at places of worship of the Gurus," he said. Mentioning the nullification of then Article 370 and the Citizen Amendment Bill, the prime minister said the Sikh community would get direct benefits by two decisions of the Central government.
The decision to annul Article 370 would enable Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to avail all the rights enjoyed by other people of the country, said the prime minister, adding the Citizen Amendment Bill would benefit Sikhs also as they can get country's citizenship easily. The prime minister also urged people to "take a pledge to remain alert to forces inimical to India" and keep away from habit of drugs and keep future generations away from it.
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