Establish Kartarpur Sahib as an Ecological Heritage Village of Baba Nanak
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A Petition from Sikh Sangat from all over the World to the
Prime Minister of Pakistan for Historic Heritage Work on Kartarpur Sahib
Mr. Imran Khan
Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Islamabad, P A K I S T A N
We, the humble lovers and followers of Baba Nanak want to thank Government of Pakistan for moving towards opening up of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. With the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor opening, comes a huge opportunity and responsibility for Pakistan to set a shining example for the entire world by recreating Kartarpur Sahib, the way Baba Nanak established and envisioned it for humanity.
Kartarpur Sahib - the last abode of Baba Nanak can be a place of inspiration so that the present and future generations of entire human race can make a pilgrimage to this sacred space, paying tribute to the messenger of oneness of humanity — whose message is so needed in this war-torn world — and once there, be able to transport themselves back into history, feel the sanctity of the space there and go back inspired to make this world a better place.
We, the of lovers and followers of Baba Nanak earnestly appeal to the Government of Pakistan that while taking forward this noble cause, the following may kindly be kept in view, and adhered to:
1. Heritage Village
- Baba Nanak spent over 18 years at Kartarpur Sahib – the longest ever, at any one place. The heritage of Kartarpur Sahib are the fields that our wondrous ‘Guru’ tilled with his own hands, the place where he lived, the trees he sat under, the place where he passed his legacy to Guru Angad and everything that he used and touched. The Sangat world-over longs to feel and touch their forehead on the same dusty soil that our ‘Guru’ walked on. Every effort should be made to set up the last abode of Guru Nanak as it would have been in his time. So, Kartarpur Sahib should be planned as a heritage village, a ‘village’ of Guru Nanak as envisioned and established by him and not as a town with modern aesthetics incongruent with the spirit of the holy place.
- Exploration work should be done to rebuild more heritage sites associated with Baba Nanak in Kartarpur (such as his ex-home), as would have existed in his period and connect them via a walking trail surrounded by nature.
- Maximum use of existing physical features such as trees, vegetation, dirt roads, water bodies, slopes etc. should be incorporated in the plans.
- At Kartarpur Sahib, Baba Nanak adopted agriculture as his profession and set up a thriving community as a living example of the three core principles of Sikhi - concept of Kirat Karna (Honest labor), Nam Japna (Being immersed in the love of Divine) and Vand Shakna (Sharing the fruit of labor). And, an effort should be made to create a model community that reflects the spirit and execution of these principles.
2. Village Planning & Architecture
- The existing complex to be the focal point of the heritage village, while ensuring that the architecture of the current building and premises (including the well) remains untouched.
- Any new construction should be outside of the current complex and at a considerable distance from the current complex. The wall that separates the Guru’s fields from the Gurdwara should be demolished. The openness of the existing complex should be left intact. Under construction accommodation units should be relocated outside the complex.
- New buildings may include sarais comprising single rooms with attached toilets; museum & auditorium for digital presentations; library and a health-care facility. Number of such new buildings may be kept to the minimum.
- Architecture of all new buildings should reflect the Guru period architecture of the Punjab, and it should be uniform throughout Kartarpur Sahib. It can be ensured through a comprehensive, well thought-out prior-approved Master Plan.
- Buildings should not be more than two storey-high, and there should be no building higher than that of Gurudwara Sahib. Buildings with one or more underground levels should be preferred. Generous separations between each block of building be planned and the space between planted with trees.
- Use of local building materials such as Nanakshai bricks, mud, wood with minimum use of concrete.
- National College of Arts, Lahore and other excellent institutions of Pakistan can work with the Department of Planning and Architecture, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar which specializes in Guru period architecture for preparation of the Master Plan. Master Plan should also include work on Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side, as they will work in conjunction with each other, receiving the visitors from India and regulating their flow to Kartarpur Sahib.
- It is imperative that Kar-Seva groups if allowed to work on Kartapur Sahib be made to comply with the architecture and heritage planning approved by the Preservation Bodies / approved in the Master Plan.
3. The Farms and the Forests
- Hundred acres of land surrounding the Gurdwara should be dedicated to nature — leaving half to forest area to keep the air clean and encourage the native flora and fauna, as it existed in Baba Nanak’s time.
- The other half should be farmland that continues to practice Desi Kheti (Organic Farming). The farmland should be cultivated traditionally by growing crops and fruit trees that were grown during Guru Period. The farms can be set up as models and teaching centers for revival of traditional agricultural practices and food processing.
4. Environment, Access & Facilities
- Number of visitors per day should be regulated.
- To prevent Kartarpur Sahib from being overloaded with trash from the visitors, use of single-use plastic bags, bottles, Styrofoam, and packaged foods should be prohibited in the area.
- No personal transport should be allowed in the Kartarpur village from either side. Foot traffic should be encouraged, and pedestrians from the border be provided a safe walking trail surrounded by lush vegetation to make the journey spiritual in nature. Electric trams should transport only the disabled and elderly visitors.
- Parking should be set up at a distance from the Village, beyond which no outside vehicle should be allowed.
5. Cultural and Commercial Activity
- Village shops or bazaar should be set up in the new complex to encourage commerce as would have existed in the Guru period. Only traditional artifacts, handlooms, and foods prepared by local artisans and vendors should be allowed in the bazaar. Modern day commercial souvenirs should not be allowed.
- Art of traditional musicians, rababis, and folklorists paying tribute to Baba Nanak and his boli should be encouraged.
- Schools teaching sustainable agricultural practices in the memory of Baba Nanak, music in the memory of Bhai Mardana, traditional arts in the name of Bebe Nanaki should be established around the village to create an engaging economy for the locals and sustainable tourism for new generation of Baba Nanak lovers from around the world.
We, the Sikh Sangat from all over the world assure the Government of Pakistan of their utmost support and cooperation, in taking forward this noble cause along the lines delineated above.
Gurmeet Kaur & Sangat at
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