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April - June 2004

April - June 2004

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Published by IOSSChandigarh

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Published by: IOSSChandigarh on Sep 15, 2010
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Sikhs all over the world are celebrating the 500
birth anniversaryof Guru Angad Dev
. Special functions will be organised on the 18
April, 2004, in every gurdwara and by all Sikh organisations, to payhomage to the Guru and to recall the debt we owe to him. The SGPChas drawn up an elaborate year-long programme of activities to highlightthe Guru’s unique contribution to the advancement of the Sikhmovement. The nucleus of celebrations will rightly be Khadur Sahib,where the Guru stayed practically for the entire period of his guruship.Guru Angad who succeeded Guru Nanak, was born at Matte diSarai, now known as Sarai Nanga, in the present day district of Faridkot,about 16 km. from Muktsar. His father, Phiria Mal or Bhai Pheru, aTrehan Khatri, and his mother, variously known as Sabhirai, Ramo,Daya Kaur and Mansa Devi, gave him the name Lahina. The nameAngad was given to him by Guru Nanak later, implying that he hadbecome a part or limb of his own body.Lahina was married to Khivi, daughter of Devi Chand, a MarvahKhatri of Sanghar village in Amritsar district. The couple had twosons, Datu and Dasu, and a daughter, Amaro. It was through hisdaughter, that later the third Sikh Guru, Amar Das came in contact withGuru Angad Dev ji.Initially a petty trader, in his village, Bhai Pheru became a money-lender in the area in his later life. After his death, Bhai Lahina shiftedfirst to Hari Ke and then to Khadur Sahib, where he settled.Like the rest of his village folk, Lahina worshipped goddessDurga, and as
he annually organised a pilgrimage to Jvalamukhitemple. Kartarpur, where Guru Nanak lived, was on the way. TheGuru’s reputation had spread in the area, and it seems that Lahina hadheard a lot about him from one Bhai Jetha, the sole Sikh in KhadurSahib.During one of the pilgrimages to Jvalamukhi, Lahina decided to
II : G
visit Kartarpur. When he met the Guru, he was virtually charmed byhis personality and talk, and was instantly converted. He felt that hehad realised what he had sought in vain in pilgrimages. He decided tostay at Kartarpur in the service of the Guru for the rest of his life.During this period, with his unquestioning loyalty, limitless patience,unparalleled devotion, and thorough understanding of his philosophyof life, he made a deep impression on the Guru’s mind. The Guru,bestowed upon him the name Angad, and appointed him as his successorin 1539 CE even in his life time, to continue the mission of organisingthe Panth based on his philosophy, bypassing his own sons.While the same divine light passed from one Guru to his successor,and all of them carried forward the same mission, there are certainoutstanding facts and historical events associated with Guru Angad’slife and pontificate, which need to be remembered and highlighted,particularly when we celebrate the 5
centennial of his birthday. Someof these are reproduced below:a)Gurbani Scribal Tradition : It seems Gurmukhi script had taken itsfinal shape during the life time of Guru Nanak, as is clear from his
recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib. Presumably, the Guru’s
was recorded in this script. It was left to Guru Angad,however, to establish the tradition by introducing its teaching amongthe Sikhs in regular classes. In fact, according to I B Banerjee,“The credit for initiating the work that finally led to the compilationof (Guru) Granth Sahib, is also due to Guru Angad.”b)Succession of Guruship : It was through Guru Angad, that thesystem of succession materialised. He demonstrated that a Sikhcould, through devotion and loyalty, earn the grace of the Guru,and title to Guruship. It also established the tradition of determiningsuccession based on merit and not on heredity.c)A Written Language : According to Khushwant Singh, Guru Angadprovided the Sikhs with their own written language which wasdistinct from the script of the
and the
. It provided adistinct identity to the Sikhs as a separate community from bothHindus and the Muslims. (
 A History of the Sikhs
, Vol. I, p. 52).d)Unity of Guruship : Guru Angad introduced the practice of composing the
under the name of Nanak, which was followedby all succeeding Gurus. This underlined the unity and continuityof guruship.e)
Kirt Karo
Vand Chhako
 Naam Japo
: There was no dearth of money received through offerings. But Guru Angad lived on simple
: A
2004 / 536 NS
coarse meals earned through twisting strings of 
(reed fibre).Side by side he ran a
and institutionalised it. And withequal emphasis on
, his life was a practical demonstration of Guru Nanak’s doctrine of 
Kirt karo
vand chhako
 Naam japo
among Sikhs.f)Balanced Development : The Guru rejected the prevailing practiceof lopsided development of individual with emphasis on mind orspirit alone. He believed that a sound mind could exist in a soundbody only. He, therefore, preached, practised and introducedprogrammes of all-round development of the individual as well associety. He laid emphasis on physical fitness through sports,particularly wrestling, which appeared to be his favourite. Agurdwara
 Mall Akhada
at Khadur Sahib where training in wrestlingwas imparted and competitions were held regularly during theGuru’s time, stands testimony to his keen interest in sports. Asstated earlier, the Guru organised classes and personally taughtPunjabi and Gurmukhi script to his Sikhs. Thus, the Guru ensuredtotal development of the personality of his Sikhs, and health of the society. Human Resource Development is a new concept of the modern times. It is amazing that the Guru introduced andpractised it 500 years ago.g)Guru Angad did not itinerate, unlike his predecessor. It was, infact, necessary, since the gains from Guru Nanak’s itineraries hadto be consolidated. Guru Nanak had instructed him to organisethe Panth –
Purkha, Panth Kar 
 g[ oyk, gz E eo 
). A large number of 
had been created, which had to be knitted together undera single organisation. It was necessary to prepare individualsthrough education for taking up this responsibility. This requiredhis full time presence at Khadur Sahib, which had become a nucleusand a rallying point for all Sikhs. Because of this programme, itbecame possible for Guru Amar Das to introduce the
systemand to man the
with Sikhs competent to handle theresponsibilities involved.h)Guru Angad introduced the practice of assigning important rolesto women in organisational affairs. Mata Khivi
, the Guru’s wife,held charge of the
, and won the praise of all for hergenerosity and efficient management, which is recorded in the
of Satta
and Balwand. This was an important step towardsgender equality, preached by Guru Nanak.

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