Celebration Of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th Parkash Purb Held At #5 Road Gurdwara

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By Balwant Sanghera

India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, 8600 #5 Road, Richmond, BC, Canada celebrated  Guru Nanak Dev ji’s Parkash Purb (Birth Anniversary) on Tuesday, November 12 with a great deal of enthusiasm. The Sangat started pouring into the Gurdwara from early morning and kept the pace throughout the day. As the evening arrived the Langar Hall and the Diwan Hall were overflowing with devotees. After the Bhog of the Akhand Paath the congregation enjoyed melodius kirtan by Giani Tarlochan Singh and his Jatha. As part of this celebration, a number of dignitaries including BC Premier Honourable John Horgan ,Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan,BC’s Minister of Labour Harry Bains and  Deputy Speaker Raj Chouhan arrived at the Guedwara in early evening. They were joined by  MLAs Jinny Sims, Rachna Singh, Jagrup Brar, Anne Kang, Linda Reid and Jas Johal . Members of the congregation were very excited to see and meet with the dignitaries. A lot of group picture , selfies and photos with VIPs kept the Sangat very busy in the lobby and the Langar Hall .

Premier John Horgan and some of the MLAs met with members of the Gurdwara Management brieflydownstairs to discuss issues of mutual concern. In the meantime,upstairs, in the Diwan Hall,  Dr. Gurnam Singh Sanghera introduced the soon to be released book by several scholars and edited by him. Dr. Sanghera gave a brief talk about Guru Nanak ji and the book and then introduced keynote speaker Anupreet Kaur Bal. Anupreet is a teacher at Tamanawis Secondary School in Surrey and also actively involved with the Sikh Research Institute. She gave an impressive insight into Guru Nanak Dev ji’s philosophy, mission and message. Devotees in the overflowing Diwan Hall were very impressed with Anupreet’s talk about Guru ji.

Back on the  stage in the Diwan Hall, Secretary Balwant  Singh Sanghera read a message of greetings from Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie who was unable to attend due to a prior commitment. He also recognized special guests and invitees to this celebration. Sanghera then introduced premier John Horgan . Horgan thanked the Gurdwara management for the invitation, conveyed his greetings and best wishes to the audience and briefly talked about Guru Nanak Dev ji’s contribution to the entire humanity. Harjit Singh Sajjan paid a very fitting tribute to Guru ji and related his own experience as a military officer in Afghanistan where Guru Nanak Dev is revered. Jas Johal and Sgt Jet Sunner also conveyed their greetings and best wishes to the congregation on this special occasion.

The Gurdwara Management Committee, with help from some scholars, has prepared a special edition book for this occasion. Titled “Guru Nanak :  Revealer of Truth” is a compilation of article/essays by prominent Sikh scholars about Guru ji’s  philosophy, mission and message. The Gurdwara Management is very thankful to Richmond based Dr. Satnam Singh Gandham and his family for sponsoring the book. Also, it would like to thank other generous donors like Kush Panach for providing the Guru Nanak memorial lapel pins . On behalf of Asa Singh Johal , his wife Mrs. Kashmir Kaur Johal, along with Premier Horgan, Minister Sajjan and others released the book.

A number of volunteers , who help at the Gurdwara on a fairly regular basis were honoured. Also, a plaque was presented to Premier John Horgan for his participation in the celebration at the Gurdwara. Saropas were presented to Minister Sajjan as well as to the contributors to the book –Dr. Gurnam Singh Sanghera, Dr. Kala Singh and Satnam Singh Johal.

On behalf of the Gurdwara management I would like to thank all of the participants including members from the Highway to Heaven Group consisting of people of all faiths-Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Jewish, Bahais and others, volunteers and everyone else who contributed to the success of this historic celebration. It was truly a multicultural gathering which had come to-gether to appreciate Guru Nanak’s message of universal brotherhood , equality, justice and love.Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the South Asian media-both electronic and print- for their on-going support and assistance. The huge line ups for langar in the Langar Hall downstairs till late evening on Tuesday, November 12 ,reflected the huge success of this historic celebration. Thanks everyone!

BalwantSingh Sanghera is the Secretary, India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas 8600 #5 Road, Richmond, BC