Mark the date: 9th November, 2019.
In the modern history of India, there is no other date which has drastically impacted scores of Indians, within India, and abroad. Till yesterday evening, 9th November was seen to be a momentous day for the sole fact that the Kartarpur Corridor would be thrown open for the devotees of Guru Nanak. However, around 9 pm last night, things took a palpitating turn.
Last night, around 9 pm, a notice went up on the Supreme Court’s website which stated that the verdict on the much-awaited Ram Janmabhoomi title dispute would be pronounced today. It is safe to say, panic let loose thereafter. Twitter trends were occupied by Ram Bhakts. People were rampantly tweeting how they were unable to gather sleep in anticipation of the historic verdict. Intuitively, almost every Hindu knew that Shri Ram would emerge victorious in the case.
Here’s why 9th November 2019 is a hallmark day, witness to historic events which would be cherished for ages to come. While the Hindus finally saw a settlement to the dispute, the Sikhs were gifted with the Kartarpur Corridor. The Hindus will soon have a grand Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, while the Sikhs will be paying on science at Kartarpur Sahib, the land on which Guru Nanak Dev Ji spent the last 18 years of his mortal life. Incidentally, both these historic events were happening simultaneously.
It was more than evident how the news channels were struggling to give both events equal coverage. While PM Modi was addressing the gathering at Dera Baba Nanak, and when he paid on science at Gurudwara Ber Sahib, Sultanpur Lodhi, channels were quick enough to cover the events. Some channels divided their screens, and while they were discussing the Ram Janmbhoomi verdict on one side, they were also showing visuals of Sultanpur Lodhi and Dera Baba Nanak. It is a rarity, but the media deserves credit for their coverage of both the events today.
For Ram Bhakts around the world, today’s verdict opens the doors for paying homage at a grand Ram Temple, which every Hindu has long dreamt of. The most revered ‘Maryada Purshottam’, thus far, did not have a temple to his credit at his birthplace. Today marks the end of occupation, and the beginning of reclamation. Same is the case with the Sikh Sangat.
Pakistan is in possession of many historical gurudwaras, Nanakana Sahib, Panja Sahib, Guru Ramdas’ birthplace at Chuna Mandi, Lahore to name a few. For 75 long years, Sikhs have been praying daily for these gurdwaras in their Ardaas. Today marks the commencement of perhaps, the fulfilment of such ‘ardaas’ and prayers. Together, this day marks the fulfilment of the Hindu and Sikh dreams. In a way, Indic religions have seen a momentous day, and a spirit of collective joy is being shared.
Sikhs and Hindus share a common culture. However, the Sikh community also has deep connections with Ayodhya. It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh, all visited the city. On the banks of the river Saryu, three shrines are located in their remembrance.
Moreover, Guru Granth Sahib has over two thousand references of Ram. While the references cannot be directly linked to Lord Ram, the Gurus realised that the most revered god in the subcontinent was Lord Ram, who people looked up to as ‘Maryada Purushottam’.
Therefore, to build a connect with the large masses, the word Ram was used at most places to describe the almighty. It is noteworthy, that Guru Nanak Dev Ji also finds mention in the judgement passed today, wherein the incident of him visiting the Ram Janbhoomi in Ayodhya makes the case stronger for the Hindu side. In a post on Facebook by Francois Gautier where this was revealed, people commented calling it a great coincidence and a divine intervention of sorts from Guru Nanak.
On 12th November, the world will be celebrating Guru Nanak’s 550th Prakash Utsav. On the day, one can visit any Gurdwara to easily find an equal number of Hindus paying homage and performing Sewa across India. I have seen many Hindu homes where pictures of Guru Nanak and other Gurus are placed and revered, and I have also seen most Sikhs worshipping Maa Bhawani, like I do. Today was yet another reminder to both the communities to continue living in harmony with each other and collectively work towards the building of a strong society.