—After celebrating 550 Parkash Gurpurb of Sikh religion’s founder Guru Nanak Sahib, Pakistan is set to mark the centenary of Saka Nankana Sahib, a golden chapter of Sikh history related to the martyrdom of Sikhs, at the birthplace of Guru Nanak Sahib, where it took place, in February 2021. The Pakistan government has offered the Sikhs, especially those who live in east Punjab and other states of India, 10,000 visas inviting them to the centenary functions.
Saka Nankana Sahib is the massacre that took place in Gurdwara Janam Asthan at Nankana Sahib on 20 February 1921, at that time of British India, in modern-day Pakistan. More than 260 Sikhs were killed, the youngest of them being a little short of eight years, Sardar Darbara Singh, son of Sardar Kehar Singh, by the Mahant and his mercenaries. The event forms an important part of Sikh history. In political significance, it comes next only to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of April 1919. The saga constitutes the core of the Gurdwara Reform Movement started by the Sikhs in the early twentieth century.
A spokesperson of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), which is the government body constituted to oversee the Hindu and Sikh shrines in Pakistan, told that the country was again keen to host the Sikh sangat on the centenary which would be observed with Sikh zeal to pay tribute to the Sikhs who attained martyrdom while fighting the corrupt Mahants during the British regime.
Speaking on this, the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) president Satwant Singh, “The martyrdom attained by the hundreds of the Sikhs in Saka Nankana Sahib was unprecedented in history. So, the PSGPC with the cooperation of the ETPB and other departments of the Pakistan government has resolved to observe this centenary on a large scale and wants the Sikh sangat to ensure its participation in it with a large number.”
“We have started the planning for marking the centenary”, he added. Inderjit Singh, another member of the PSGPC, said, “Our efforts of marking this centenary will be successful only if a maximum number of the Sikh devotees visit Nankana Sahib on the historic occasion and becomes its part. We especially appeal to the Indian government to allow the Sikhs to take part in the centenary functions. On our end, we will leave no stone unturned to host the Sikh sangat”.
Notably, the PSGPC is also celebrating Jyoti Jot Gurpurb of Guru Nanak at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur Sahib, in Pakistan from September 20 to 22 this year. This will be first Jyoti Jot Gurpurb at the Sikh shrine, last resting place of the first Sikh Guru, after the opening of the corridor, visa-free access provided to Sikhs living in India to the shrine which is only four kilometers away from the international border. The gurdwara body urged the Indian government to allow the Indian devotees to visit Kartarpur Sahib from September 20 to 22.