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Afghan Sikhs bring three hand-written Swaroops of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Union Minister pays respect: Why they were moved to India

There are several protocols that Sikhs follow while taking care of Shri Guru Granth Sahib. As per the rules set by the spiritual leaders of Sikhism, Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji should not be left behind alone if the caretakers are shifting to another place. In such a case, the Swaroop must be either taken by caretakers with them or shifted to a nearby Gurudwara.

On August 24, Afghan Sikhs brought three hand-written Swaroop of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from Afghanistan to India. Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister of State and V Muraleedharan, Ministry of External Affairs were at the airport to receive them. Puri respectfully carried one of the Swaroops and led the Afghan Sikhs to the room where all three Swaroops are being kept before shifting them to Gurudwara. Reportedly, only three such Swaroops are left in Afghanistan, which would be brought to India soon.

Before leaving Afghanistan, Sikhs thanked PM Modi and the Government of India for their support.

Puri and others shared videos of Swaroop reaching Delhi

Union Minister Puri shared a video of himself carrying Swaroop of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on Twitter and said, “Deeply privileged & fortunate to welcome the three holy Swaroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from Kabul at Delhi Airport along with Shri V Muraleedharan and Dushyantt Gautam Ji & members of Sikh Sangat.”

Puri also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making it possible to carry out rescue operations. He said, “I want to start by thanking PM, who made it possible to carry out these rescue ops to bring our brethren who are in difficult circumstances there (Afghanistan). Arrangements are also being put in place for the remaining people. We’re in constant touch with them.”

Puri’s wife said on Twitter, “This holy & poignant privilege of गुरु दी सेवा, comes as a once in a lifetime moment to cherish, so special & proud that could bring a tear to anyone’s eye. Heartening to see the holy scriptures in a safe haven now.”

V Muraleedharan, MOS MEA, wrote, “Feel blessed to have joined Shri Hardeep Singh Puri to receive the Swaroops of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, brought from Kabul at New Delhi Airport today.”

Others praised Union Minister for his devotion and dedication to serve and ensure Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s safe arrival in the country and thanked PM Modi for the safe evacuation process.

Seven Swaroop were shifted to India last year

Reports suggest that earlier, there were a total of 13 Swaroop of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in Afghanistan. After the attack at Gurudwara Har Rai Sahib in Kabul on March 25, 2020, in which 25 Sikhs were killed by terrorists of Islamic State, seven Swaroop were shifted from different Gurudwaras to India. At present, there are three more Swaroops in Afghanistan.

Chhabol Singh, a member Karte Parwan Gurdwara committee, said that the remaining three Swaroop would be soon shifted to India. He said, “There were 13 Swaroops of Guru Granth Sahib in Afghanistan, of which seven were already shifted to India earlier. Three have been shifted today, and now just three more remain in Afghanistan. Those too will be shifted soon.”

Importance of Guru Granth Sahib

Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is considered the Supreme Spiritual Authority and Head of the Sikh religion. It is the only scripture in this world that not only has works of the founders but also writings from spiritual leaders of other faiths. Considered to be the “living Guru” of the Sikhs, Granth Sahib Ji is treated with the utmost respect by all Sikhs. Guru Granth Sahib Ji has a collection of devotional hymns and poems that emphasises the importance of meditation on the True Guru or God. The book contains moral and ethical rules for the spiritual salvation of the soul and its unity with God.

Why did Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s Swaroops shift to India?

There are several protocols that Sikhs follow while taking care of Shri Guru Granth Sahib. As per the rules set by the spiritual leaders of Sikhism, Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji should not be left behind alone if the caretakers are shifting to another place. In such a case, the Swaroop must be either taken by caretakers with them or shifted to a nearby Gurudwara. In this case, to ensure the safety of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the three Swaroops have been shifted to India with Afghan Sikhs.

While talking to OpIndia, Impreet Singh Bakshi, Secretary BJP Delhi, said that these Swaroops are hand-written thus hold historical importance for Sikhs around the world. He said, “As Taliban now controls Afghanistan and there was a possibility of an attack on places of worship of other religions including Gurudwaras, three Guru Granth Sahib Ji’s Swaroops have been shifted to India. Mahavir Nagar Gurudwara will take care of the three Swaroops of Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.”

Bakshi added that there are few Sikhs left in Afghanistan to protect Gurudwaras. If and when they request Indian authorities for evacuation, they would be brought to India. Bakshi had went to airport to pay respect to the Swaroops.

Sikhism and Afghanistan

Afghanistan has a long history associated with Sikhism. Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji went to Afghanistan to spread the message of brotherhood, tolerance and peace in the early 16th century. His visit laid the foundation of Sikhism in the country. Based on his recorded travel history, he went to Afghanistan during his fourth ‘Udaasi’ (travel) from 1519-1521. Bhai Mardana accompanied him during his journey. He visited present-day Kabul, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Sultanpur. At present, all these places have historic Gurudwaras.

The heartbreaking situation for Afghan Sikhs to leave their homeland

Indian Express quoted one of the 46 Sikhs who came to India, saying, “We are also carrying three Swaroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib with us. We cannot leave our Guru behind when all of us are leaving the country. It is heartbreaking to see the end of Sikhism in our country, but we have no other option. We can’t leave behind the Swaroops as there would be no one left to do their sewa. We have packed them safely in suitcases.”

 Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, SAD (Delhi), said in a tweet that it is the end of Sikhi in Afghanistan. He said, “End of an era of #Sikhi in #Afghanistan. Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has forced Sikhs to flee their homes. Saroop of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji from the Kabul, Ghazni and Jalalabad Gurdwaras leave for India with a heavy heart by our #Sikh minority brothers in order to preserve it for future generations. This marks the end of Sikhi in Afghanistan but also a new beginning for our Sikh brothers in India.”

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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