New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said by giving citizenship to persecuted Sikh families from abroad in Gujarat recently, it has been underlined that no matter where the Sikhs may be, India is their home.
Addressing a gathering at a function held here to celebrate the 553rd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev that will be marked on Tuesday, PM Modi said inspired by the Guru's thoughts, the country is moving ahead with the spirit of welfare of 130 crore Indians.
The teachings of Sikh Gurus and the life of Guru Nanak are like a beacon of light showing the way to the world which is passing through instability and a difficult phase, he said at the event held at National Commission for Minorities chairperson Iqbal Singh Lalpura's residence.
Underlining the eternal relevance of the Gurus' teachings, the prime minister said the "glory of the 'Amrit' that we have in the form of Guru Granth Sahib", its significance is beyond the limits of time and geography.
"We also see that when the crisis gets bigger, the relevance of these solutions increases even more. In times of unrest and instability in the world, the teachings of Guru Sahib, Gurus and the life of Guru Nanak Dev ji are showing the direction to the world like a beacon of light," he said.
In the memory of the sacrifices made by the people of Punjab in the Partition, the country started the Partition Horrors Remembrance Day on August 14, Modi said.
"We have also tried to create a way to give citizenship to the Hindu-Sikh families affected by the Partition by bringing in the CAA," he said.
Recently in Gujarat by giving citizenship to Sikh families facing persecution abroad, it has been emphasised on them that Sikhs may be anywhere, but India is their home, Prime Minister Modi said.
His remarks came days after the Centre decided to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and currently living in two districts of Gujarat under the Citizenship Act, 1955.
The move to grant citizenship was under the Citizenship Act, 1955, and not the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).
The CAA also provides for granting Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, but as the rules under the Act have not been framed by the government yet, no one so far could be granted citizenship under it.
Speaking at the event, the prime minister recalled Guru Nanak Dev's teaching for spiritual enlightenment, worldly prosperity and social harmony.
Modi said in the "Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal (75 years of India's independence)", the country has rekindled the sense of pride in the nation's glory and spiritual identity.
In order to encourage the supreme sense of duty, the country has decided to celebrate this phase as 'Kartavya Kaal', he said.
"During this phase of Azadi Ka Amrit Kaal, work of equality, harmony, social justice and unity is undergoing with Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas," he said.
"Direction that we received from Gurbani is tradition, faith as well as vision of a developed India," Modi said.
The prime minister said that through the blessings of Guru Nanak Dev, his government got the opportunity to serve the great Sikh heritage during the last eight years.
In this context, he recalled laying the foundation stone of the ropeway from Gobind Ghat to Hemkunt Sahib and the Delhi-Una Vande Bharat Express for the convenience of pilgrims.
"Electrification of places related with Guru Gobind Singh ji and Delhi Katra Amritsar expressway will also add to the convenience. The government is spending more than Rs 35,000 crore on this," he said.
The prime minister said these efforts go beyond amenities and tourism potential, and are about the energy of places of faith, Sikh heritage, service, love and devotion.
He also talked about steps such as opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, bringing back the holy forms of Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan and declaring December 26 as Veer Bal Diwas in the honour of the supreme sacrifice of the "Sahibzaades (four sons of Guru Gobind Singh)".
Modi also offered prayers at the celebrations of the 553rd Prakash Parv of Shri Guru Nanak Dev and was felicitated with shawl, siropa and sword.
Modi expressed his happiness for having the opportunity to celebrate key Prakash Parvs such as 350th Prakash Parv of Guru Gobind Singh, 400th Prakash Parv of Guru Teg Bahadur and 550th Prakashotsav of Guru Nanak Dev.
"The inspiration and blessings of these auspicious occasions is enhancing the energy of New India…Light of every Prakash Parv is acting as a source of light for the country," the prime minister said.
"I have full faith that, with Gurus' blessings, India will keep enhancing the glory of its Sikh tradition and will keep moving on the path of progress," he said.
Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and John Barla also attended the function.