FROM EP FEATURE SERVICE, GUWAHATI
GUWAHATI: Jathedar Avtar Singh, President of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC), apex body of Sikhs from all over the world during his two day long maiden visit to the city lauded the effort made by the Sikhs of northeast for preserving their religious values and also becoming part of social cultural and economic part of the local community.
Jathedar Avtar Singh accompanied by his dynamic assistant Paramjit Singh who arrived here amidst a rousing reception by hundreds of Sikhs including P P Singh Senior Advisor Sikh Pratinidhi Board Eastern Zone and its President Satnam Singh Khalsa, Vice President Devinder Singh, Jt Secretary Ravinder Singh Oberoi besides all the Presidents of local Gurdwaras at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, was moved by the welcome given by the Sikhs thousand of miles away from Punjab as he said, "I never accept garlands as a rule but seeing the enthusiasm amongst the people I had to bend my rule and let them have their way of receiving me"
On his arrival the SGPC Chief visited a local Gurdwara where he was presented with a Siropa by the Sikh Sangat and later in the day he had a meeting with the members of the Sikh Pratinidhi Board Eastern Zone where the Sardar P P Singh Senior Advisor to the Board apprised the SGPC Chief about the need fr setting up a high class post graduation facility college on the name of 9th Guru Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Saheb near Guwahati to commemorate his visit to the state and also help spread education in the region.
Sardar Satnam Singh Khalsa President Sikh Pratinidhi Board Eastern Zone urged the SGPC President to help the local Sikhs especially those from rural areas of Nagao district of Assam like those living in Lanka, Hojai, Borkhala, Hathipara and Chaparmukh areas by not only sending teachers to teach Punjabi language but also send preachers in the region as there is acute shortage of the same here.
Sardar Devinder Singh Vice President Sikh Pratinidhi Board Eastern Zone requested the SGPC Chief to visit other areas of the region also specially Nagaon district where thousands of Sikhs who had come to the state hundreds of years ago are still keeping Sikhism alive even though living in bad economic conditions.
P P Singh requested the SGPC Chief to sponsor a Jatha (group) of 150 Sikhs from northeast to visit Golden Temple every year so that those who have not visited the sacred temple can do so.
The SGPC assured the Board members that he agrees to the proposal of the college but he will have to send Director of the Education SGPC to do the fact finding so that it can be finally cleared by the SGPC officially. He also promised to send Punjabi teachers and preachers to the region for spreading the language and religious preaching's amidst the Sikhs of the region.
On the request of the Board members to take representation of Sikhs from northeast in the SGPC Committee, the SGPC Chief assured that after the next election of SGPC they will be given due consideration.
Later in the day the SGPC Chief met large number of delegations from different parts of Assam including Sikhs of Nagaon district and listened to their problems and assured them full support and help.
Jathedar Avtar Singh While addressing a massive gathering of Sikhs from northeast at Beltola Gurdwara during the celebration of Guru Nanak Dev Jee's birthday declared that the SGPC will fund a group of 150 Sikhs from the northeast every year to Golden Temple, Amritsar and the arrangements for the same will be made by the Sikh Pratinidhi Board Eastern Zone in association with the SGPC.
Jathedar Avtar Singh while launching the website of Gurdwara Dhubri Saheb (www.dhubrisaheb.org) and Sikh Pratinidhi Board Eastern Zone during the function lauded the effort made by the Board in reaching out to far flung areas of the region through the website and also education the Sikhs in other parts of the world about the history of this region associated with the Sikhs.
The SGPC Chief also assured the Sikhs of the region that this time he could not visit other parts of the northeast specially Nagaon district but promised to return next year in the month of April for at least 5 days and then visit various other parts of the region where Sikhs are living in harmony with local population.
Earlier in the day Jathedar Avtar Singh also met an Assamese writer Dr. Sulekha Bhattacharjee who has done research work on Assamese Saint Srimanta Shankar Dev and Shri Guru Nanak Dev Jee for over five years in Assam and Punjab. He assured her that the SGPC will help her publish her works if they are found authentic historically, thus encouraging Assamese writers and scholars.