Celebrate with 550 hospitals, schools

Gursharan Singh

I live in Ludhiana, and on many occasions have visited the Christian Medical College & Hospital (CMC&H) for treatment of self or attending to a relative or friend. One thought always comes to mind, what made Edith Mary Brown come here and alleviate the miseries of people by establishing a hospital — over 125 years ago! CMC&H has remained a premier medical institution, not only in Punjab, but also the entire North. No doctor is allowed private practice, and only the committed ones serve the institution.

Though there has been a landmark progress in the development of infrastructure, in the form of buildings and equipment, not a single brick was added to the church building, which continues to serve the purpose well.

As we celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, immaculate planning and arrangements are being made for nagar kirtan, langar, shabad kirtan, etc. Quintals of flowers will be used during various ceremonies, apart from impressive decorations involving huge expenditure. All political parties, and also religious bodies, are set to take credit for various events, including the opening of the Kartarpur corridor. There is nothing wrong in doing so, but somewhere we seem to have forgotten the real message of the Guru.

Guru Nanak preached simplicity and laid emphasis on observing honesty in whatever one does. He was not in favour of any ostentatious show. He worked for the poor and underprivileged. He was all for education, which he thought would help one to be of some use to others (vidya veechari tan parupkari). Can our leaders, both political and religious, think of doing something more meaningful for humankind? Can we think of opening 550 hospitals, 550 schools and colleges, and an equal number of de-addiction centres to save our youth and guide them to live a purposeful life? Akal Takht is the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, and any verdict issued from there is binding on the Sikh community. It should issue certain diktats to take society out of perennial social evils.

Punjabis, including Sikhs, are known to organise lavish parties on weddings, where liquor flows like water and non-vegetarian food is served. It has become a status symbol. There are some who can afford this lavish and avoidable expenditure; many more are compelled to do it under pressure, as a face-saving exercise. It is not uncommon that sometimes they may have to part with a precious piece of agricultural land or take substantial loans. Subsequently, this financial burden emerges as a major reason for farm suicides.

A message from Akal Takht to ban lavish parties, serving of liquor and non-vegetarian food, and to restrict the number of baratis to, say, 20, may save many lives. Will it not be the best way to celebrate the Guru’s birth anniversary?

Source Link: https://www.tribuneindia.com

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