19 June, 2021

In The Guru’s Footsteps

Big plans for 400th birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur

Photograph by Prabhjot Singh Gill
In The Guru’s Footsteps

Banners, buntings and posters announce the importance of an event on May 1—Labour Day internationally, but much more significant in Sikh-majority Punjab. The day marks the 400th birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth in the Sikh pantheon of gurus. The Congress government in the state is sparing no effort to make the guru’s Prakash Purb a mega-event, with yearlong celebrations, although a global pandemic lurks in the background.  

Functions will be held across the state and lakhs of devotees are ­expected to turn up, keeping with the spirit of Sikh camaraderie and kinship. The government has drafted a detailed programme—a chunk of which ­involves logistics in the time of Covid. Social distancing and masks et al. Religious gatherings are known to be cavalier in their attitude towards Covid protocols. Will the Captain Amarinder Singh administration be able to stop people from discarding the discomfort of masking the airways and facial expressions? The answer is not easy to find, although the ­government’s PR machinery has...

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