Bhubaneswar, Oct 26 (LocalWire) Odisha Forum, a Delhi-based Odia think tank, has urged the Odisha Government to create a Guru Nanak Chair at the Utkal University and revive the Jagannath Sadak with all its monuments and name it as Guru Nanak Marg.
Forum President Gokul Patnaik, a former Punjab cadres IAS Officer, while speaking at a seminar at India International Centre, New Delhi, ‘Guru Nanak ‘s Visit to Puri and the Spread of the Jagannath Culture’ said that the organisation would soon write the state government in this regard.
Anil Dhir, who has authored a book titled “Jagannath Sadak”, narrated his experience of a 14-day tour from Jagannath Haat at Hoogly in West Bengal to Puri by road under an INTACH project.
The book would be released next month as a tribute to the first Sikh Guru on the occasion of his 550th birthday on November 12, a statement issued by the forum said.
Dheer spoke about the oneness of the Jagannath culture and Sikhism. ‘The Odisha model of the composite culture of India” finds its truest reflection in Jagannnath Sadak. Besides Hindu shrines, there are Shaivite, Muslim, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist shrines all along the road, which was as popular with pilgrims as with plunderers, he said.
“There are 300 tangible monuments but a thousand have disappeared and for every one historical place that has been preserved ten have vanished, Out of the 512 kilometres from Hoogly to Puri, 300 kilometres of the Jagannath road have vanished”, he said.
Dheer expressed concern over the lost treasures including monuments, motifs, scripts and family heirlooms inherited by the progeny of those who originally came into contact with various saints, warriors and explorers. There are scores of places which, although in a decrepit state, are being preserved by the present owners, more for the spiritual than the heritage worth.
According to Dheer, there is a mafia in Odisha that goes about tricking the simple custodians of these old places into parting with precious heritage pieces, including scripts.
The black market for these antiques is worth billions of rupees, he said and stressed for a people’s movement for heritage conservation.
The visit of Guru Nanak and other saints to Puri and the places touched by them along the Jagannath Sadak continue to attract thousands of devotees but it is a part of history that has largely been ignored by historians.
While speaking about the Jagannath followers’ deep connection with Nanak, Patnaik, a former Punjab cadre IAS officer, said “The Sikh langars and Puri langars have a lot in common” . eom