After 90 years of safekeeping, a Sufi organisation in Pakistan has transferred over 110-year old copies of rare Sikh manuscripts to the administration of a gurdwara in Sialkot in Punjab province to strengthen Muslim-Sikh brotherhood, according to a media report.
The two manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib had long been in the safekeeping of Pir Syed Munir Naqshbandi, a revered Sufi elder from a village of Gujarat, the Sufi organisation’s head, Iftikhar Warraich Kalravi, told The Express Tribune.
Known to be an advocate for interfaith harmony, Naqshbandi had offered asylum at his residence to a few Sikh families trying to escape ethnic violence before partition, the daily said.
“Apart from sheltering some Sikh families, he had also salvaged some of their religious scriptures and kept them from being desecrated. Among them were the two manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib.
“When the Sufi elder passed away in the year 1950, he had left the scriptures in the safekeeping of his children and since then they have remained with the family,” said Kakravi.
Kalravi said that Pir Naqshbandi had always campaigned for Muslim-Sikh brotherhood, while also campaigning for interfaith harmony in general.
“He was known for his kindness and this led to the revered Sikh manuscripts coming into his possession. After over 90 years of safekeeping within the Pir’s family, we have now decided that the manuscripts should now be rightfully transferred to the Gurdwara Sahib. This is a great example of Muslim-Sikh friendship and will help further strengthen our relationships,” Kalravi said.
The 500-year-old Baba Di Beri Gurdwara in Sialkot, about 140 kms from here, last year in July opened its doors for Indian Sikh pilgrims. Earlier, Indians were not allowed to visit the gurdwara.
According to the Sikh tradition, when Guru Nanak — the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus, arrived in Sialkot from Kashmir in the 16th Century, he stayed under the tree of Beri. Sardar Natha Singh then built a gurdwara in his remembrance at the site.