Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, December 4
A saffron flag over a bicycle decked with flowers bears a sign – ‘Ýatra, Sachkhand Shri Hazoor Sahib’. Being ridden by a wrinkled and white-bearded man dressed in saffron robes and a blue turban, it is an unusual sight on a chilly day on the Kapurthala highway.
Decked with flowers, garlands and a picture bearing portraits of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh to guide his path, an 80-year-old man is visiting historic gurdwaras across the country.
Septugenarian Ranjit Singh is visiting all historic gurdwaras in the country.
Miraculously revived from a severe illness, he was keeping a promise to God, he alleged. A native of Gurdaspur district, the elderly man – recently decided to undertake the journey after he allegedly healed from an illness, which doctors had previously termed as fatal.
From Marhianwala village in Gurdaspur district, Singh has plans to visit ‘Panj Takht’ — all historic gurdwaras of the state — as well as other Sikh shrines in the country.
Starting from Shri Hargobindpur Sahib, he stopped over at Ber Sahib Gurdwara after making a brief stop at Khojewal Gurdwara, from where he will be visiting gurdwaras in Batala, Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib, Damdama Sahib, Hazoor Sahib and Patna Sahib.
On why he started the journey, Ranjit Singh says: “Doctoran ne jawab de diitta si (doctors had given up on me”). I couldn’t get up. I didn’t have money, didn’t know I would survive. I said Maharaj, tandrusti bakshio, darshan nu aunga. Maharaj ne sun lai (I said God cure me and I will come to pay obeisance. God listened to me). I am only fulfilling the promise made to him.”
When asked about his family, Ranjit, who was a sevadar with a religious organisation in Gurdaspur, nods sombrely and says: “Mera koi nahi” (I have no no).
A celibate, he served as a panth member with Nihangs at the Guru Nanak Dal, Marhianwala (Gurdaspur). After he fell sick, with no one in his family, local do-gooders took care of him. Ranjit, who gets teary eyed speaking about his illness, credits Jathedaar Baba Maan Singh and Jathedar Waryam Singh for helping him out in his treatment when he was not well.
Undertaking a self-funded trip (with the little money that he has), with donated groceries, a decorated bicycle and a bedding strapped in the back, he survives on food and help provided by do-gooders on the path. Dressed in a traditional Sikh attire, he moves on his cycle having a signage bearing Sikh tenets.
On his return, he plans to visit Kartarpur Sahib.
Speaking on the message of Guru Nanak Dev, he says: “I will only tell everyone to live life in maryada. (Sikh discipline). Amrit Chako, Kirat Karo, Singh Sajjo.”
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