Chandigarh: Sikh Sewak Sabha, a group of eminent Sikhs, interacted with media at the Chandigarh Press Club on Thursday to highlight the need to reconstruct the historic Gurdwara Gyan Godri, at Haridwar, Uttarakhand. At this press meet the Sikhs emphasised the importance of early action for reconstruction of the Gurdwara Gyan Godri in view of the ongoing 550th Birth Anniversary celebrations of the Guru when consolidation of his historic footprint is of prime importance. It was also proposed to create a petition campaign to register involvement of the people.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first master of the Sikh religion, during his lifetime, travelled across the known world of the time extensively to spread his message of universal brotherhood of mankind and the need to shed unnecessary rituals in the worship of the one and only God.
These travels of the Guru are called Udasis. In the early stages of his first Udasi, Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Haridwar, a town situated on the banks of the holy River Ganga and of great religious significance to the Hindus. The various Janamsakhis record his interaction with the Hindu priests in Haridwar sometime around the festival of Baishakhi in 1504.
Since times immemorial, the site of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s visit to Haridwar had been marked by a historic Gurdwara named Gurdwara Gyan Godri (Treasure of Knowledge) Sahib. The Gurdwara was located at Har Ki Pauri, (Landhaura House) on the banks of the River Ganga, in Haridwar. This was exactly the place where Guru Nanak Dev Ji gave his important message. It is also believed Raja Narinder Singh of Landhaura state and owner of Landhaura House donated the premises to Gurudwara Gyan Godri Sahib in 1980.
After the Kumbh Mela stampede in 1966, Haridwar administration acquired Landhaura House to widen Har Ki Pauri and demolished a part of the Gurdwara. Another ancient Gurdwara called Gurdwara Nanakwara, located 200 metres from the said spot was also demolished. Later there was forcible destruction of the Gurdwara premises during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
As things stand today, the Gurdwara building is no longer in existence except for the round Mehrabs (pillars) that constituted the front entrance of Gurdwara building and a small room where the Guru Granth Sahib Prakash is situated. The remainder is a market.
The group has resolved to take up the case for immediate reconstruction of the Gurdwara at its original site. In this context the group has drafted an appeal to the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand with a copy to the President of India, Prime Minister of India and working president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Sikh Sewak Sabha was represented in the Press Conference by MPS Aulakh, former DGP (intelligence) Punjab, Iqbal Singh Lalpura and Jaibans Singh, who is a famous author and geo-strategy expert, among others.