PM Modi to address nation from Red Fort to mark birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation from the Red Fort on Thursday to mark the 401st birth anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh guru who stood up against forcible conversions by the Mughals.

Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, “At 9:15 PM tomorrow, 21st April, he will have the honor of taking part in the 400th Parkash Purab celebrations of Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji. The program will be held at the iconic Red Fort. A commemorative coin and postage stamp will also be released.”

The PM’s address will mark the culmination of a two-day mega event being organized by the ministry at Red Fort, in collaboration with the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy said. In his speech, which is expected around 9:30 pm after ‘shabad kirtan’ by 400 ragis (Sikh musicians), the PM is likely to focus on relaying a message of interfaith peace, said sources.

Ministry officials said the Red Fort was chosen as the venue for two reasons. “First, it was the place from where Mughal ruler Aurangzeb gave orders for the execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1675. Second, the ramparts of Red Fort is from where the PM addresses the nation on Independence Day, so it’s an ideal place to reach out to the people with a message of interfaith peace,” said an official.

The inaugural program will include a laser light show. There will also be an exhibition on the life and times of the Sikh guru at the Red Fort forecourt for two days. After his address, the PM will release a postal stamp and a commemorative coin on the Sikh guru, to be followed by a langar (community kitchen).

the BJP has been trying to reach out to the Sikh community ever since it decided to go it alone in the Punjab Assembly elections following the breakdown of the old alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal over the three farm laws. The PM had chosen to announce the repeal of the laws on Guru Nanak Jayanti last November.

In neighboring Haryana, the party has planned a series of events to mark the occasion, including a grand event in Panipat on April 24.

Meanwhile, union Home Minister Amit Shah Wednesday paid glowing tributes to Sikh Guru Tegh Bahadur and said that he sacrificed his life to protect the Hindu dharma.

Addressing a function, Shah said the Sikh Guru’s sacrifice sowed the seeds for India’s Independence. “Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed himself to protect the Hindu dharma. When Kashmiri Pandits narrated to him about the atrocities being committed on them by the Mughals, he said, go and tell Aurangzeb after they convert me, they can convert others,” Shah said.

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