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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Guru Nanak De Vadiyaee....

Congratulations to all on Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib jee's 538th Parkash Utsav. Following is some interesting information that I found on the net.

Blessed by Guru Nanak Dev jee, the Bhatti family of Talwandi (now Nankana Sahib in Pakistan) has been a shining example of Muslim-Sikh brotherhood for over half a millennium. Rai Bular Bhatti, a contemporary of Guru Nanak Dev jee and a devout Muslim, became Guru Nanak’s second disciple. After Bibi Nanki, Guru Nanak Dev jee’s sister, he was the second person to recognise that Guru Nanak was no ordinary mortal and that he was a divine soul.

Rai Bular Bhatti’s haveli in Nankana Sahib (Pakistan) was frequented by Guru Nanak Dev jee during his childhood.

According to historians, originally, the Rais were Bhatti Rajputs and Rai Bular, a contemporary of Guru Nanak Dev jee, was the ruler of Rai Bhoe di Talwandi where Nankana Sahib is now located (in Pakistan). Mehta Kalyan Das (Kalu), a well-read person of Bedi caste, was an employee of Rai Bular. Guru Nanak Dev Sahib jee was born to Mehta Kalu and his wife Mata Tripta in 1469, at a place now known as Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib town, which is now also a district. Sakhis, pertaining to the life of Guru Nanak, feature Rai Bular repeatedly. In the sakhi where villagers are furious about Nanak's cattle eating their crop, it is Rai Bular who got the crop surveyed and found it to be undamaged. In yet another sakhi, Rai Bular is said to have spotted a hooded cobra providing shade to the sleeping Guru Nanak. This strengthened his belief that Guru Nanak was no ordinary mortal. The blessings the Bhatti family received have seen them prosper through 19 generations in five centuries.

Rai Saleem Bhatti (left, 19th generation) with his father Rai Akram Bhatti (18th generation) at their home in Nankana Sahib. Both have strong faith in Sikhism and regulary participate in Sikh congregations.

According to the ancient revenue records in possession of the family, Rai Bular gave 247 murabas of land to Gurdwara Janam Asthan along with an annual jagir of Rs 9996. He also gave another 220 murabas to Gurdwara Bal Lila and extended an annual jagir of Rs 31 and another 290 muraba and annual grant of Rs 50 to Gurdwara Mal Sahib. This entire land of Nanakana Sahib given to Guru Nanak by Rai Bular amounts to 757 murabas (approx. 18,750 acres) and is now controlled by the Evacuee Trust Property Board of Pakistan and leased out to the people of Nankana Sahib.Today the Nankana Sahib Estate consists of about 16,962 acres, mainly leased to farmers and residents of Nankana Sahib. Almost all houses in Nankana Sahib are built on the property donated by the Bhatti family. "Babaji" (as Guru Nanak is affectionately called by the Bhatti family), says Rai Mohammad Saleem Akram Bhatti, the 19th generation descendant of Rai Bular, "is revered by all of us as our father."

Rai Hadayat Bhatti (top), the 17th descendent of Rai Bular, lead a Sikh procession to mark Guru Nanak's 500th parkash utsav. Rai Hussain Bhatti (bottom) escorted 1000 sikhs to safety during India's partition.

Though all members of the family have always been close to the Sikh community, Rai Hadayat Khan Bhatti, the 17th descendant of Rai Bular, deserves a special mention as he devoted a lot of time to strengthening Sikh-Muslim relations. He led the Sikh procession on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Guru Nanak. He inculcated the spirit of service in his two sons, Rai Aslam Bhatti and Rai Akram Bhatti (pictured in second photo from the top), who conducted Sikh pilgrims to the gurdwara and invited them for food at their house.

Rai Akram Bhatti, a practising lawyer at Nankana Sahib welcomes Sikh pilgrims with open arms to his house. His faith in Sikhism is so strong that he says that he owes the birth of his elder son Rai Mohammad Saleem Akram Bhatti to the blessings of Baba Nanak. Saleem, a young criminal lawyer at the Lahore High Court, says: "It is because of Baba Nanak that I am in this world. For us Babaji has a special place in our lives and our family is blessed because of the grace bestowed upon us by Baba Nanak."

Maharaja Ranjit Singh, too, had acknowledged the role of this extraordinary family and its immense contribution to Sikhsm. Ranjit Singh bestowed upon Rai Issa Khan (15th generation) the title of Rai Bhadur and he was made the in charge of a sub-jail in Thatta Issa village. He was also appointed honorary magistrate and given the duty to collect the revenue.

"Militancy in Punjab in the 1980s had a direct impact on the pilgrim flow to Nankana Sahib. We are happy that with the return of peace, the number of pilgrims has risen, giving the Bhattis an opportunity to serve them," says Rai Akram Bhatti.

Source : Article edited from Tribune.

Also, The Gurpurbs "Jyoti Jot Guru TegBahadur" and "Guru Gaddi Guru Gobind Rai" falls today.


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