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The Kartarpur Corridor is more than a symbol of new peace

The legend of Guru Nanak’s samadhi and grave is one of the most popularly known stories about him in Pakistan.

The legend of Guru Nanak’s samadhi and grave is one of the most popularly known stories about him in Pakistan.

At Kartarpur Sahib, outside the main shrine which contains Guru Nanak’s samadhi, is his grave. He might be one of the only people in history to have both a samadhi and a grave. Legend has it that when Guru Nanak passed away, an argument ensued among his Muslim and Hindu followers if he should be buried or cremated.

He was born into a Hindu family but his philosophy had a strong tinge of Islamic monotheism...

...In fact, even when the gurdwara was abandoned at the time of Partition, it was these Muslim devotees of Nanak that continued coming here.

It seemed as if Nanak’s legacy of drawing followers from across the religious divide was still alive.

Harish Dhillon in his book on Guru Nanak writes that when Nanak decided to undertake his spiritual journey, he deliberately took up garb that diluted his religious identity — a loose choga similar to Muslim dervishes, but of reddish ochre, preferred by Hindu ascetics, with a white cloth belt around his waist, similar to fakirs and a cap on his head like the Sufi qalandars.

In his poetry, he refers to God with multiple names, including Allah. When asked by his Hindu and Muslim devotees what religion they should follow to become his Sikhs, he replied that if one is a Muslim then one should strive to be a good Muslim, and if one is a Hindu then one should try to be a good Hindu...

...What is even more remarkable is that the site chosen is Kartarpur, where physical traces of this syncretism in the form of a grave and a samadhi are still present. The sanctity of the shrine was upheld by Nanak’s Muslim devotees when it was abandoned and in ruins, while today it has emerged as the ultimate symbol of peace...

...I am delighted that thousands of Nanak’s devotees who have been catching sight of the shrine from afar will finally be able to visit it.

On the other hand, my thoughts go to the local Muslim devotees of Nanak who have upheld the sanctity of the shrine when there was no other.

This shrine belongs to them as much, as it does, to any other religious community. This is what Nanak envisaged...

 

 

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