July 11, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Amritsar, Punjab (July 11, 2013): As per information the “Amritsar Sthapana Diwas” (Amritsar Foundation Day) was celebrated with much enthusiasm over a three day period by Eco-Amritsar, an initiative of Washington-based EcoSikh, and its partner organizations. Hundreds of people participated in several separate events organized all over the city by various stakeholders, including religious programs, art shows by city artists, educational seminar and marches by Gurdwaras and several organizations. Many businesses sponsored billboards expressing congratulations for Amritsar’s birthday. The last major celebration of the founding of Amritsar was organized by the Akali Dal Government in 1977, when the city had celebrated its 400th anniversary.
The celebrations were supported wholeheartedly by SGPC and its President Avtar Singh Makkar, who directed that a plantation drive be carried out in 10 Gurdwaras and institutions under the SGPC.
The EcoSikh USA, initiated program for a greener and cleaner Amritsar received the blessings of Jathedar Sri Akaal Takht, Giani Gurbachan Singh. He planted 5 trees (Reetha, Imli, Amla, Amb and Neem) as these tree names appear in Gurbani, at Guru Ka Bagh, Harmandir Sahib, Sri Amritsar, kicking off a 50,000 tree plantation drive yesterday evening. Earlier Bhai Gur Iqbal Singh Ji blessed the Eco Amritsar Team and dedicated this week’s Samagams on Amritsar Sthapana Diwas and Katha on the need for a “Hari Bhari Guru Ki Nagri.”
SGPC organized a massive congregational program at Gurdwara Bibeksar Sahib, including hymns sung by various top kirtan singer and sermon by Singh Sahib Mal Singh and others on this day.
During the day, 22 artists displayed paintings at the Indian Academy of Fine Arts on the theme of the Darbar Sahib.
Despite heavy rain on the morning of July 6th, a procession of children and citizens of Amritsar was started from the Akaal Takht gate after prayers by the Jathedar of Akal Takht, the spiritual head of Sikhs. Watch the video from Foundation Day Procession here. The procession waded through two feet of water at places to reach Company Bagh where an Interfaith meeting of citizens was held. This event was presided over by the Deputy Commissioner, Rajat Agarwal. The unique feature of the procession was that dozens of NCC cadets marched with signs to save water and trees for the city. In addition, over 200 students especially came from Khadur Sahib from the institutions run by Baba Sewa Singh Kar Sewa Khadoor Sahib. Many other schools and colleges sent their students to join as well.
Gunbir Singh, Chairman of EcoAmritsar, said, “It could not have happened better than this! I feel that this beginning is a blessed one. Today we have the aims to achieve, asses and create an impact in the holy city till the next Foundation Day. The spirit-filled processions by the citizens of Amritsar have raised our confidence manifolds.”
“Within the three day programs that were held to commemorate the foundation day, the citizens of the city and social organizations all agreed to shoulder responsibility towards the city. The district administration through Rajat Agarwal has agreed to respond in equal measure. This is indeed a delightful day for Guru-Ki-Nagri (Guru’s town),” added Gunbir.
Three Zero Disposal Parks were inaugurated by Gunbir Singh, Chairman Eco Amritsar, at Green Avenue Blooming Dale, Green Avenue Main Park, Ranjit Avenue park. They will not throw out or burn any garbage in future but will make manure and compost. They will also not use chemical fertilizers or pesticides but only use organic and natural manures. This effort will be supported by local businesses and citizens.
Guru Nanak Dev University has also organized a seminar on the topic ‘Amritsar: My City, My Pride, My Responsibility’ at the Guru Ram Dass School of Planning. This was presided over by the Vice-Chancellor, A.S. Brar.
Two days before what will now be known as Amritsar Foundation Day, Bhai Guriqbal Singh and his organization had organized a major religious program attended by thousands of devotees and this program focused on the topic of saving water. (Watch: EcoSikh Ravneet Singh addressing the sangat at Ranjit Avenue) In addition, Ranjit Avenue Gurdwara took out a green procession to mark the day. Several children marched holding signs for saving the water and the environment.
“SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar set the ball rolling by blessing and fully supporting the Eco-Amritsar program. This gave us confidence and started the process of a grass roots based movement for Amritsar.” Said Dr. Rajwant Singh, President of EcoSikh from USA.
“Our steps are small, but we want to keep them firm. We target a change, which is not a one night game”, said Ravneet Singh, EcoSikh Project Manager.
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