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Ecosikh want Hola Mohalla and Anandpur Sahib be declared plastic free

March 13, 2011 | By

Ludhiana (March 13, 2011): A Washington based international Sikh Group EcoSikh has appealed to Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar of Takhat Keshgarh to persuade authorities and the pilgrims coming to Anandpur Sahib to not use plastic bags and plastic products and to ban these items from this sacred Sikh site. The opening of three day Holla Mohalla festival at Anandpur sahib starts on March 14th, which is the Gurgaddi (enthronement day) Diwas of Guru Har Rai ji, the 7th Guru of the Sikhs who became Guru in 1644. Guru Har Rai was a great humanitarian who had special sensitivity towards nature preservation and the wellbeing of animals. He maintained an extensive herbal garden for medicinal purposes in Kiratpur Sahib few miles from Anandpur Sahib in Punjab.

A press statement sent by Ravneet Singh (dated: March 8, 2011) says “This year March 14th is being celebrated as Sikh Environment Day by Sikhs all over the world. In an appeal to Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar, Dr. Rajwant Singh, convener of EcoSikh in Washington, said, “Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib should be preserved as our natural heritage and their original and tranquil atmosphere should be protected for coming generations. This can only happen if this appeal and persuasion comes from the Takht authority in combination with SGPC. Jathedar of Akal Takht has already declared March 14th as Sikh Environment Day and if Hola Mohalla is starting on March 14th than it is important we start preaching on this concept and have it implemented. All political parties should be emphatically persuaded to clean up the mess after their political conventions. Plastic, styrofoam and chemicals leaching out of these petroleum based products is detrimental to the ecosystem of this sacred location.”

In addition EcoSikh has also included political leadership of the state by saying, “ We would like to appeal to Punjab Government to declare Environment Day on March 14th in honor of Guru Har Rai ji. He is an unparalleled personality of Punjab who specifically raised the consciousness of humans to preserve nature and environment. In addition, Punjab Government should declare Anandpur Sahib plastic free and this declaration should happen before March 14th in honor of Guru Har Rai ji. All governmental agencies should enforce this rule just as it is regulated in Chandigarh and neighboring state of Himachal Pradesh. Why can we not have similar initiatives in Punjab? At least one city in Punjab should become plastic free and it is the only hilly and serene sacred site we have in Punjab.”

EcoSikh further added, “In addition, we would like to appeal to all deras to serve langar in biodegradable products such as pattal, paper or kasore and not use plastic. They should also clean the area after the langar just as enthusiastically as they serve the langar. Cleaning and preserving nature is also a great sewa for many generations to come.

Nihangs and others who practice the Sikh tradition of gatka remind us that we must stand up the vulnerable in society. In the modern context, the earth and our water, air, and land are in a very desperate and degraded condition. Sikhs as followers of Guru Har Rai Ji should recognize this and stand up for the rights of future generations who are going to inherit earth.” The Holla Mohalla is a festival of rich Sikh tradition, which displays a blend of joy and gallantry; Sikhs have preserved as martial tradition to stand up for the weak and the oppressed since the times of the Tenth Master, Guru Gobind Singh ji. Today the festival reminds of the tremendous valour of Sikh men and women in defending and protecting society, especially in a times of need.

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