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Gurupurab Proposed to be Declared “World Pedestrian Day”

  • Category
    History & Culture
  • Published
    8th Nov, 2021

Context

Proposals have been put forward to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that the birth anniversary (Gurpurab) of Guru Nanak Dev be declared as ‘World Pedestrian Day’ to spread awareness on road safety.

  • Guru Nanak’s 552nd Gurpurab is going to be celebrated on 19th November, 2021.
  • The proposal highlights the government’s commitment towards “Right to walk” or pedestrian rights.

About

About Guru Nanak

  • He was born in 1459 in the village of Talwandi Rai Bhoe near Lahore.
  • Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak and later led in succession to nine other Gurus.
  • His teachings are based on the fact that there is only one God, and that all people can have direct access to God without rituals or priesthood.
  • His teachings condemn the system of segregation and teach that all are equal, regardless of race or gender.
  • He introduced the concept of a god - namely 'Vahiguru', an entity that is shapeless, timeless, omnipresent and invisible.. Other names for God in Sikh religion are Akal Purakh and Nirankar. He promoted the form of 'Nirguna' (devotion to and worship of formless divine) form of bhakti.
  • He died in 1539 in Kartarpur, Punjab (now Pakistan).
  • Guru Granth Sahib, a Sikh holy book, contains 974 poetic hymns composed by Guru Nanak.

Guru Nanak’s Journey (by foot)

  • To spread the message of unity and breaking up religious barriers by engaging in spiritual dialogues, Guru Nanak Dev travelled far and wide during the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • It is believed that in those days, when the early modes of transport were limited and were mostly restricted to boats, animals (horses, mules, camels, bullock carts), Guru Nanak Dev, along with his companion Bhai Mardana, undertook most part of his journeys on foot.

Traveled locations

  • From Mecca to Haridwar, from Sylhet to Mount Kailash, he visited hundreds of interfaith sites related to Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Jainism during his journey (also called udaasis).
  • In some places, gurdwaras are built to commemorate his visit.
  • His journey was later recorded in inscriptions called 'janamsakhis'.
  • These sites are now spread across nine countries as per current geographical divisions - India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, China (Tibet), Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.
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