New Delhi, Nov 12 : Members of Sikh community took out a procession in New Delhi on Wednesday on the eve of the 540th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.
In New Delhi, a procession was taken out from Gurudwara Sisganj in the centre of the city.
"On this occasion we take out Nagar Kirtan. The religious processions are meant to spread the teachings of Guru Nanak. Therefore, we are taking out this procession to proliferate the wisdom contained in the words of Guru Nanak to the people," said Kulbir Singh Garewal, manager of the Sisganj Gurudwara.
The colourful procession was led by five priests, also known as "Panj Piaras".
The devotees carried the Adi Granth Sahib, the first sacred book of the Sikhs in the procession. The book was compiled by the fifth Guru of the community, Guru Arjan Dev (1581-1606).
Devotees carrying brooms swept the roads along the route of the procession. They believe that it amounts to offering themselves at the service of the God and it will help them rid of their sins.
In the city various Gurudwaras also organized community kitchens where a large number of people came to take food on this occasion.
"People of all faiths come together to celebrate the festivities of the occasion. On this day people participate in the procession. Community kitchens are also organized and people come to take food there," said Devender Singh Sodhi, a devotee.
Hundreds of school children who took part in the procession displayed their martial arts skill to the accompaniment of school bands.
Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in the then Punjab region of undivided Indian subcontinent. Troubled by the frequent conflicts between Hindu and Muslim communities, he tried to work out a synthesis of the two religions. His mission gained popularity among the masses and eventually evolved into the Sikh religion.
After his death in 1539, he was succeeded by his disciples, who became Gurus in their turn. The tenth and last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, converted the Sikhs into a militant community to combat the then Muslim rulers of the country.
Members of the then Sikh community were baptised in water stirred by a dagger. Those baptised were known as "Khalsa" with the designation of Singh. All of them had to wear or possess the five K's: Kachacha (underwear), Kesh (long Hair), Kangha (comb), Kara (iron bangles) and Kripan (dagger) to maintain their distinct identity.
Majority of India's Sikhs, who form two per cent of the country's more than a billion population, reside in northern India particularly in the state of Punjab and in the city of Delhi.