Govt to set up a National Institute of Inter-Faith Studies in Punjab
The Centre will set up a first-of-its-kind institute of Inter-Faith Studies in Punjab to promote brotherhood and diversity as part of the year-long activities to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, Union minister Mahesh Sharma said Monday.
The activities will begin from November 23 and go on for a year, the Union Culture minister said, adding the decision was taken at a meeting of the National Implementation Committee (NIC) headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier this month. The government will also develop Sultanpur Lodhi in Punjab where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, is believed to have spent most of his life.
The area will be developed as a heritage city incorporating 'Pind Babe Nanak Da'. A high powered telescope will be installed in Indian territory to view Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan where the first Sikh guru spent his last days, Sharma said.
"We will set up an institute for inter-faith studies in Punjab on the lines of the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev ji who preached the qualities of brotherhood, diversity and the concept of unity in diversity. This will be the first-of-its-kind centre in the country," he said. He said the government will engage experts and form committees to oversee and finalise the concept of this institute.
"We will also work closely with the Ministry of Human Resource Development. A detailed project report is yet to be finalised," Sharma said at a press briefing. The year-long event will also include religious activities like kirtan, katha, prabhat pheri, langar and educational activities such as seminars, workshops and lectures. The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, which is the apex religious body of the Sikhs, will be the knowledge partner for the event, he said.
Chairs in the name of Guru Nanak will be set up in the UK and Canada. An international seminar will also be organised in Delhi. Commemorative coin and postage stamps will be released by the Department of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Department of Posts.
"On November 23, when we begin the commemorations in Sultanpur Lodhi, we are expecting three to four lakh pilgrims to attend the event." Through the telescope pilgrims on the Indian border will be able to see Kartarpur Sahib across the border in Pakistan.
"We will also run a train specially for this occasion which will pas through places associated with Guru Nanak ji," Sharma said, adding the Sultanpur Lodhi Railway Station will be upgraded. Television channels Doordarshan, Rajya Sabha TV and Lok Sabha TV will live telecast programmes on Guru Nanak and Gurubani, his teachings will be published in different Indian and world languages.