Kartarpur to Sharda — Binoculars to On the Sites
From Kartarpur Corridor to Maa Sharda Peeth’s Darshans
Tejinder Singh Bedi
What a journey from Binocular sights to Vivid Spectacles, on way!
Close on heels of the decision to open a dedicated corridor for Indian devouts desirous of visiting Kartarpur Sahib, Pakistan government’s latest news to establish another corridor that would offer similar opportunities for our Hindu brethren to visit Sharda Peeth, an ancient Hindu temple and cultural site in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) deserves all praise.
One hopes these two Divine connects will help gradually cleanse pollution of all evil-thoughts often sprouted by a politically driven enmity for sharing independent thrones for power from governance, from whatever few fixed minds among general public still exist after having tasted fruits of over 70 years of independence on either side. All credit for this change goes to our government too, which has pursued its dialogue on such long pending opportunities of closer proximity between the two nations to a decisive direction finally, even if in ‘isolation’ of what is generally referred to as ‘peace talks’.
As history sheets indicate, established in 237 BC during the reign of Ashoka the Great, the 5,000-year-old Sharada Peeth has been an abandoned temple and ancient center of learning dedicated to Maa Sharda; the Goddess of learning, though between the 6th and 12th centuries CE, the sacred Peeth had also become one of the foremost temple universities of the Indian subcontinent. The temple is also one of the three famous holy sites for Kashmiri Pandits, the other two being the Martand Sun Temple in Anantnag and the Amarnath temple.
The demands for opening access to Kartarpur Sahib and the Sharda Peeth both going over to POK after the 1947 division had been lingering on for long. Going by the concurrent media reports, it seems sure that this should also fructify within 2019 itself now, alongside the completion of the corridor connecting mother India’s Dera Baba Nanak’s shrine in Gurdaspur district back with the Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur at Shakargarh in Narowal district of Pakistan.
While both the moves hold immense potential to change history and the future course of the relationship between the two neighboring nations, the Pakistan Government needs to take complete charge of any divisive forces on its side repeatedly violating or espousing breach of cease-fire across borders, killing our innocent citizens besides demonstrating to the entire international community at large of its firm intentions and resolve to eliminate all terrorist activities, outfits and camps from within its geographical boundaries — to ensure that any positive moves as such the incumbent Pakistan government wishes to conclude do not get hijacked or thwarted by the very few limited minds & skeptics opposing such connects on one or the other pretext.
And we must not forget that any such move can never progress without the tacit or formal concurrence of the Prime Ministers of both the countries, who have been handed over the reins by their individual republics to guide the destinies of their respective people.
Although the recent dastardly terrorist-act of Pulwama killing 41 of our young CRPF soldiers and the events that followed it and quite naturally so, in quick succession threatened all probability of nipping the dream project of the Kartarpur corridor in the bud again — it is nothing but the resolution of both our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pak’s Imran Khan in “the hope to search for normalcy amid continuing clarion calls for hitting back each other with equal or greater prowess” that has prevented the same from being consigned to paper-projects once yet again. In this context, it is pertinent to recall our PM Modi ji’s statement of this initiative as akin to the fall of the Berlin wall, when it was first announced by Imran Khan.
While the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor had been laid down on our side on Nov 26 last year, Pak followed it up two days later on its side. If all goes well, the corridor is slated to be commissioned well before the ensuing; the 550th birth anniversary of SatGuru Nanak Dev ji this year. Thanks to the farsight & vision of both the current premiers, this journey of 125 kilometers by our pilgrims to Kartarpur Sahib; (the final resting place SatGuru Nanak Dev Ji) via Lahore now seems all set to get shrunk to just 4 kilometers as also the Binocular sights of the shrine from our borders to our naked eyes’ darshans from the first day of free access through individual permits, as soon as launched. For Guru Nanak’s disciples — the over seven-decade wait finally covering a visa-restricted disconnect formally caused on 15th August 1947 to our five-century-old Shrine established by SatGuru Nanak Devji in 1522, is the best lifetime gift they would have aspired for in their current life-spans.