Monday, March 02, 2009

Hazi Rattan Dargah and Gurudwara, a symbol of communal harmony in Bathinda Fort

Punjab is also known as the land of Sufi saints and Gurus who always spread the message of communal harmony. A visit to the mausoleum devoted to Muslim Saint Haji Rattan in Bathinda Fort confirms the message.People of different castes, creed and religion visit Saint Haji Rattan's Dargah from far off places. Also located adjacent to the mausoleum is a gurudwara devoted to the same saint.

It is said while on his way to Talwandi Sabo, the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh camped here for the night outside the mausoleum of the saint Haji Rattan. The tomb's keepers tried to dissuade the Guru from sleeping here saying that the place was haunted.Since Sikhs don't build tombs and the Guru like other Sikhs didn't believe in ghosts. So Guru Gobind Singh spent the night at the place to show the people that such superstitions had no ground.

Later, marking this visit, a gurudwara was built near the mausoleum of the saint and today Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus pay obeisance at both the spots.

The gurudwara and mausoleum have helped unite the local residents who share their problems and celebrate religious occasions.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Devotees offer toy plane at Gurudwara Talhan to go abroad

A large number of devotees, seeking greener pastures abroad, head towards a Gurudwara devoted to Sant Baba Nihal Singh Shaheedan in Village Talhan of Punjab's Doaba region. Thousands of individuals in Doaba region hold this holy shrine in high-esteem. And, these devotees include many of those who have long been nurturing a dream to get a visa to go abroad but couldn't get it. The popular feeling about this Gurudwara is that anyone offering a toy plane here can have his or her wish to go abroad fulfilled. Hence a lot of people visit this holy shrine and make a wish to go abroad. For this, the devotees make an offering of toy planes; inscribed with names of different carriers. Devotees buy these toy planes from the shops outside this Gurudwara and they offer it to Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

It all started a few months back, when the word spread that wishes of settling abroad would be fulfilled if one offered a toy plane at the shrine. On Sundays, about 40-50 planes are offered. In most cases, devotees who wish to fly to a particular country offer a toy plane of the airline of that country.

In Doaba region, where going abroad is dream of most people, a large number of people have an unshakable faith in the Gurudwara.

It has become a difficult task for the Gurudwara authorities to store so many toy planes. Punjabi youth, who dream of greener pastures abroad, come in large numbers after they hear stories of wishes of their friends to settle abroad being fulfilled after they offered planes at the Talhan Gurudwara.

"Whenever somebody's wish of going abroad is fulfilled, they come here at the Gurudwara to offer a plane. Punjabis from all parts of the world - England, America, Canada and many other countries come here," said one young devotee.

For the Punjabi youth, spending three to 10 dollars in buying a toy airplane hardly matters, if it increases the possibility of ultimately realizing a million-dollar dream.