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200 Sikhs leave for Pakistan for Guru Arjun Dev martyrdom anniversary
by Ravinder Singh Robin

     Amritsar: Nearly 200 Sikh pilgrims left for Pakistan on Tuesday from the Golden Temple in Amritsar to mark the 403rd martyrdom anniversary of fifth guru of Sikhs, Guru Arjun Dev. The group led by Baldev Singh, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), will also visit various holy Sikh shrines situated in Pakistan, including Nankana Sahib, birthplace of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hassan Abdal and Gurdwara Sacha Sauda in Farooqabad. "We are going to observe the martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev," said Baldev Singh. This year the number of devotees who applied for visa to Pakistan for the pilgrimage was 240, much lower compared to previous years. Trip organisers blamed the ongoing turmoil in Pakistan for the fall in numbers. However, even the ongoing strife in Pakistan has failed to dent the spirits of those on the trip to Lahore. "I'm not afraid of going to Pakistan. Death will come only when and where it is meant to be. My god is with me and I have nothing to fear," said Manmohan Singh, a devotee. The youngest son of, Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev was born in 1563 A.D. He was the founder-builder of the Golden Temple. Guru Arjun Dev expanded the city of Amritsar and Kartarpur and founded the city of Tarn Taran. Guru Arjun Dev was arrested and brought to Delhi where he was tortured for five days prior to his execution on the orders of Mughal Emperor Jehangir, who believed the Guru had conspired against him. Guru Arjun Dev was barely 43 years old at the time of his martyrdom.
-June 9, 2009


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