Research should be done to document links of Sikhism with Nepal: Manmohan Singh

New Delhi [India], Feb 26 (ANI): Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Wednesday that Guru Nanak Dev travelled extensively in all four directions even beyond the borders of India and suggested that academic research should be undertaken by scholars to verify and document incredible links of Sikhism and Guru Nanak with Nepal.

Speaking at 'Sikh Heritage of Nepal' event here, Manmohan Singh said that Guru Nanak Dev does not belong only to Sikhs but to the world and the entire human race.

He lauded Manjeev Puri, who till recently was India's Ambassador in Kathmandu and his colleagues at the embassy for the research in the book on Sikh heritage in the Himalayan nation.

He said India-Nepal ties are about the richest links between nations anywhere in the world.

"Indeed, it can be said that our two countries are bound by nature, God and the strongest possible links among the people. I am very happy that today we have heard of yet another facet of these rich civilisational ties, this time covering the Sikh Heritage of Nepal," he said.

The former Prime Minister said that Sikhs were known throughout India and now even in other parts of the world, as champions of the transport business.

"I am, therefore, happy, though not surprised, that they pioneered the commercialisation of the road links, as they developed, between India and Nepal," he said.

Noting that the importance of both the Sikhs and the Gurkhas in the Indian Army is well known, he said there has not been the focus on the implication of bringing the two together.

"It has been fascinating to learn of the origins of the connection and that even now Nepalese soldiers going overseas are known as 'Lahures', a reference to the Court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Lahore," he said.

"Guru Nanak Devji travelled extensively, even beyond the limits of India, in all four directions. He went westwards beyond Indian borders to Mecca and Medina. He went as far east as Bangladesh and Assam and as far south as Sri Lanka. Today, we learnt that possibly during his 3rd Udasi, which famously covered Tibet, he had also visited Nepal. The connection with Nepal is thus rich and very auspicious for the Sikhs," he said.

Noting that Puri had drawn attention to the shrines dedicated to Guru Nanak in Nepal, he said, "It would be good if there was academic research undertaken by scholars to verify and document these incredible links of Sikhism and Guru Nanak with Nepal".

He noted that Nepal government issued three commemorative coins to mark the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak.

"While this certainly symbolises the close ties that bind India and Nepal, this is also a tribute to the efforts of the Sikh community in the economic development of Nepal," he said.

He said Puri had drawn attention to another remnant of history, the flight of Rani Jindan to Nepal "resulting in a small group of Sikhs who remained in Nepal but have kept up their faith over more than a century in trying circumstances".

"I am aware of other such examples of `lost' Sikh communities, most notably in the North East of India. I think these lost communities are also another subject fit for academic research, apart from extending to these communities the benefits of economic development," he said.

"I must say that Guru Nanak Devji does not belong only to Sikhs. He belongs to the world, the entire human race," he said. (ANI)