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Guru Nanak: A wandering religious preacher

All gurdwaras worship the holy book of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which is placed at the high pedestal of worship.

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Chandigarh, Nov 10 : “Good conduct is in itself the praise of God.” This is the teaching of the first Sikh master, Guru Nanak Dev, whose 550th Prakash Purb (birth anniversary) falls on November 12.

“The Guru is God, ineffable, unsearchable. He who follows the Guru, comprehends the nature of the universe,” one of his quotes say.

The three guiding principles of Guru Nanak Dev are: eNaam japana, kirat karni, vand chhakana’ i.e. to repeat God’s name, to be ready to engage in the labour of one’s hands and to be willing to share with others what one has gathered are said to be the three principles underlying Sikh ethics and way of life.

The 550th birth anniversary is being celebrated with great devotion and fervour since November 23, 2018, by the Punjab government.

The main function is being held at Sultanpur Lodhi town from November 1 to 12.

Various developmental works worth more than Rs 3,200 crore have been initiated across the state by the government led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Special projects are being undertaken in 70 villages and towns visited by Guru Nanak Dev, a spokesperson for the government told IANS.

Guru Nanak Dev was the first Guru and founder of Sikhism, a poet, a wandering religious teacher, a social reformer and a householder.

The experience of one God, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and beyond all form and name, determined every thought and deed of Guru Nanak.

According to state’s government official website dedicated to the celebrations, the social doctrine denying caste which Guru Nanak preached must be seen in the light of his experience of a God before whom all men are equal.

His wanderings should be acknowledged as an attempt to engage in dialogue with others and to spread his belief in one God who teaches tolerance.

Guru Nanak’s later life as a householder should be perceived as his compliance of God’s command to all men to act responsibly within the world.

Finally, the ebani’ Guru Nanak composed and the passing of his eGuruship’ to his successor can only be understood as devotional acts meant to instill among his followers a continued dedication to the God.

Guru Nanak Dev is one of the most travelled persons of his times.

He spent almost 20 years of his life in travelling.

The earliest accounts of Guru Nanak Dev’s travels are mentioned by Bhai Gurdas.

eJanamsakhis’ also provide information relating to his travels.

The ‘Udasis’ (travels) of Guru Nanak Dev began from Sultanpur Lodhi following the bestowal of the divine commission upon him.

In his first long journey, Guru Nanak Dev traversed Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha and Bangladesh.

In his second leg, he covered areas in the south up to Sri Lanka.

Some historians believe the east and south were covered in one eUdasi’ over an extended period of 12 years.

This appears to be more reasonable as a person who is to visit south need not come back to Punjab to resume his journey for South India.

Some important places associated with Guru Nanak Dev’s visit in Sri Lanka are Batticaloa (Mattiakullam), Kurukul, Madap, Katargama, Nuwara Eliya, Avisvella (Sitawaka), Anuradhapura and Mannar.

The third tour or eUdasi’ of Guru Nanak Dev was towards the interior of the Himalayan region where he visited the Kangra Valley, the Kulu Valley, Western Tibet, Ladakh, Kashmir and West Punjab (Pakistan).

After returning from the Himalayan tour, Guru Nanak Dev spent some time at Talwandi in Punjab and then decided to tour the countries of West Asia.

Wearing a dress of a Muslim devotee, he travelled to Sind, Baluchistan, Arabia, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

According to Janamsakhi of Meharban and Bhai Mani Singh, he also travelled to Palestine, Syria and Turkey.

Some writers extend the range of Guru’s travels to other countries of Central Asia as well.

Some prominent places connected with this tour of Guru Nanak Dev are Multan, Uch, Lakhpat, Hinglaj, Mecca, Medina, Baghdad, Mashad, Herat, Kandhar, Kabul, Parachinnar and Gorakhhatri (Peshawar).

With the completion of his western tour, Guru Nanak Dev finally settled down at Kartarpur Sahib (now in Pakistan).

From Kartarpur, Guru Nanak Dev occasionally undertook short tours within Punjab.

One of them, according to Bhai Gurdas, was to Achal Batala and another to Multan.

According to a post on the government website, the word eGurdwara’, which stands as the amalgamation of the words eGuru’ and eDwara’, has its literal meaning the eGateway to Guru’.

All gurdwaras worship the holy book of Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, which is placed at the high pedestal of worship.

Out of the many famous gurdwaras throughout the world, Gurdwara Janam Asthan, also referred to as Gurdwara Nankana Sahib, is a highly revered shrine that was built at the site where the Guru Nanak Dev was believed to be born.

The shrine is located in the city of Nankana Sahib, near the city of Lahore in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

Another highly revered shrine in Pakistan is Gurdwara Sri Darbar Sahib, also called Kartarpur Sahib.

It is situated at Kartarpur in Narowal district of Punjab province.

It is built on the historic site where Guru Nanak Dev settled after his eUdasian’ (missionary travels) and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.

The shrine is located along the Ravi river.

A corridor which will give round-the-year access to Indian pilgrims to the Kartarpur gurdwara was inaugurated on Saturday.

(Vishal Gulati can be reached at [email protected])

Lifestyle

Job offers to emotional blackmail, cyber criminals’ lockdown tactics

Political commentator and policy analyst Sanjaya Baru was cheated of Rs 24,000 on the pretext of online delivery of liquor in June. Baru was also the media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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New Delhi, July 7 : A criminal is a fast learner. He keeps upgrading his skills in line with his changing surroundings, making it difficult for the law enforcing agencies to keep pace. Those involved in white collar crimes are even harder to trace and arrest as unlike other criminals they can commit a crime without being physically present near the victim. Now it seems that cyber criminals have fast adapted to the country”s state of lockdown and evolved new tactics to dupe people.

From impersonating an identity on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram to luring people for jobs in the government sector; from emotional blackmail to pretending to be bank officials, they do it all. During the lockdown when many are working from home and spending more time on mobiles and computers, the cyber frauds seem to have taken this as an opportunity.

Recently, a man was arrested from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh for impersonating the identity of the victim”s senior on Facebook and asking him for Rs 60,000 for the treatment for his wife who he claimed was hospitalized. The victim, a Delhi resident, obliged and ended up transferring Rs 58,000 to the PayTm wallet of the accused. The matter came to light when the victim called his senior.

In another case, a woman was duped of Rs 34 lakhs as a man who developed a friendship with her on social media turned out to be a cheat. He not just emotionally blackmailed her on the promise of marriage but also went to Leh and Ladakh with her. The man was arrested from Vijayawada.

Political commentator and policy analyst Sanjaya Baru was cheated of Rs 24,000 on the pretext of online delivery of liquor in June. Baru was also the media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“The irony is people don”t divulge details to strangers in the real world but in the virtual world they trust easily and part with their personal details which are later misused by the cyber criminals. The key word is caution. One has to be cautious while interacting on social media, said Anyesh Roy, DCP Cyber crime.

During the lockdown, data released by Delhi police showed that 3,430 such complaints were received in May this year as compared to just 1,260 in January. This means the number of cases almost tripled during the lockdown.

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‘Covid caused students mental distress’: HC on plea for exam scrapping

The bench has also asked the varsity to state its preparedness of the website portal for handling of the traffic during examinations, keeping in mind the recent technical glitches faced by students during the mock exams.

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New Delhi, July 6 : The Delhi High Court on Monday, while seeking the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s stand on whether to cancel the final year examination of degree courses, said that holding exams is not just a technological issue but also needs to take in account the mental preparedness of students.

“…the UGC and the Central government, ought to also bear in mind that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in enormous mental distress and agony to students. There are families which are suffering medical illnesses and giving of examinations is not just a technological issue but the state of mental preparedness of the students also needs to be assessed,” said the court.

The observations by a single judge bench of Justice Pratibha M. Singh came in while it sought a response from the UGC and Centre over the cancellation of the examinations.

The bench said that the UGC and the HRD Ministry shall take a specific stand as to whether they recommend cancellation of final year examinations.

It has also asked responsible officials from the MHRD and the UGC to join the hearing on Tuesday.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Anupam and several students of the final year of the Delhi University seeking cancellation of the examinations in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plea sought quashing and withdrawal of the notifications May 14, May 30, and June 27 in respect of undergraduate and postgraduate students, including students of the School of Open Learning and Non-Collegiate Women Education Board.

During the course of hearing, the petitioner”s counsel submitted that the DU”s portal for conducting online open book examination is also not working properly, and the pandemic is at its height.

“Under such circumstances, permitting students to take examinations in community service centres also has a risk of Covid-19 spreading further,” said advocates Akash Sinha and Shubham Saket appearing for the petitioner.

Opposing the submissions, advocate Sachin Dutta, appearing for the varsity, submitted that though there were technical glitches faced on the first day of the mock test, on the second day, the mock tests were conducted smoothly.

On a query from the Court, as to whether the date sheet has been announced, the varsity submitted that though the dates are not readily available with them, these had been published on the website this morning.

Advocate Apurv Kurup, appearing for the UGC, submitted that its guidelines are advisory in nature and are not binding.

Agreeing that a large number of universities do go by the UGC”s guidelines, Kurup said: “Several universities have cancelled their exams and several other universities have also gone ahead and held their exams as per media reports.”

MHRD’s counsel Sunita Ojha told the bench that she does not have any instructions as of Monday and there is no decision which has been published by the Ministry on its website.

The court, noting that “it is clear that the online examination which the DU intends to conduct had various glitches during the mock tests”, has now asked the varsity to provide the data regarding number of students who are studying in the final year and the number of students who are registered for the final year examinations to be conducted through the online process.

The bench has also asked the varsity to state its preparedness of the website portal for handling of the traffic during examinations, keeping in mind the recent technical glitches faced by students during the mock exams.

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Dalai Lama marks 85th birthday with album of mantras

On a promotional video for the album, when asked why he had agreed to take part, the Dalai Lama answers: “The very purpose of my life is to serve as much as I can.”

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The Dalai Lama made a bid for music chart stardom on Monday, his 85th birthday, with the release of an album of mantras and teachings.

“Inner World” kicks off with the track “One Of My Favourite Prayers” and continues with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader reciting meditations and sayings with accompanying music.

The record came about when musician Junelle Kunin, a student of the Dalai Lama from New Zealand, contacted him in 2015 with the idea – and much to her surprise he said yes.

“I thought I’d have to try and convince him,” she told Reuters in an interview from her home in Auckland.

“That moment of recording him, my goodness I was shaking like a leaf before I went in there,” she said.

Kunin did the initial recordings at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala in India.

Once back home, she worked with her husband Abraham and other musicians to produce music for the tracks.

“It’s an incredible honour. But it was unbelievably, daunting like the trust and responsibility. It’s immense,” Abraham Kunin said.

On a promotional video for the album, when asked why he had agreed to take part, the Dalai Lama answers: “The very purpose of my life is to serve as much as I can.”

The release comes five years after Patti Smith led the crowd at Britain’s Glastonbury Festival singing Happy Birthday to him for his 80th.

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