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'The Biggest gift to Sikhs'

Rhonita Patnaik
Filed on November 10, 2019
Surender Singh Kandhari, Chairman of Gurunanak Darbar in Jebel Ali

(KT Photo: Dhes Handumon)

Surender Singh Kandhari, Chairman of Gurunanak Darbar in Jebel Ali, shares the values of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and how the Kartarpur Corridor will help improve relations between India and Pakistan

The landmark inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor, connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Punjab with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur shrine in Pakistan, on the eve of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev Ji's 550th birth anniversary is a historic occasion for Sikhs across the world.

In the midst of the busy preparations of the 550th celebrations in Dubai, Khaleej Times caught up with Surender Singh Kandhari, Chairman of Guru Nanak Darbar in Jebel Ali, for an interview.

Exuding exuberance, Kandhari said he is blessed to be a witness to the momentous occasion for his community.

Kandhari, who is also the Chairman of the UAE-based Al Dobowi Group, has more reasons to rejoice.  He is among the fortunate few to travel to the historic town for the ceremony.

Speaking to KT, an elated Kandhari said that the timing couldn't have come at a more opportune time as the UAE celebrates its Year of Tolerance. A resident of the UAE since 1976, Kandhari said that he is grateful to the UAE Rulers, especially His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as well as the Indian government for their support to the Sikh community in the UAE.

Commenting on the significance of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, Kandhari said that Kartarpur to Sikhs is what Mecca and Madina are to Muslims. The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan, also called Kartarpur Sahib, is built on the historic site where  Guru Nanak settled and assembled the Sikh commune until his death in 1539.

Commemorating 550 years of Guru Nanak Dev ji in Dubai

The Gurunanak Darbar in Dubai will be celebrating the 550th birth anniversary with grandeur starting November 12. The four-day celebration at Jebel Ali gurdwara has garnered a huge support from the UAE and the Indian government who is helping the gurdwaras across the world spread Guru Nanak's message promoting humanity and love for all human beings.

Quoting Guru Nanak, Kandhari said, "Before you're a good Muslim or a good Hindu, be a good human being." He added that the Sikh guru travelled over 28,000 kilometres on foot, promoting human values and love for one another.

Kandhari also lauded Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan whose efforts led to the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor for all the Sikh pilgrims to visit the holy site without any fee or even a passport. He said this is the biggest gift the Sikh community could receive on the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak.

Congratulating the Indian government again who encouraged this initiative from the Pakistani counterpart and allow the Indian citizens to go to Pakistan and pay their respects at the shrine in Kartarpur, he maintained that these efforts were important to promote the values of Guru Nanak to all.

Expressing his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, for providing the land generously in 2008 to build the gurdwara - the UAE's first - in Jebel Ali, Kandhari added that this generous offer has today allowed the community to experience tolerance and worship beyond their homeland. He also thanked the Indian Ambassador and the Indian Consul-General for the support that the gurdwara and the Sikh community has needed in the country.

"Even during the days leading to the preparations, the Ambassador and the Consul-General have been fully involved in every step of our celebration."


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