History, Politics, Controversies: Kartarpur Corridor Explained

Questions about Indo-Pak relations have made the upcoming inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor a political spectacle.

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Will the seven kilometre long Kartarpur Corridor be able to end a 70-year-old animosity? Will devotees’ faith counter the hate?

These questions about Indo-Pak relations have made the upcoming inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor a political spectacle.

It’s said that Kartarpur Corridor, stretching from Dera Baba Nanak Gurudwara in Gurdaspur district in India to Darbar Sahib Gurudwara in Narowal district in Pakistan is a positive development in Indo-Pak relations. The distance between the Indian border and Kartarpur Corridor is only three-four kilometres. However, it’s taken very long to take steps enough to cover it.

Ahead of the inauguration, an official song has been released by Pakistani government, which got embroiled in a dispute immediately after its release. In the video, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Major Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa are being shown demanding a separate Khalistan. The three Khalistan supporters were shot dead by the Indian Army during Operation Blue Star at the Golden Temple in June 1984.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has called the Kartarpur Corridor Pakistan’s hidden agenda.

“Indian security agencies have been anticipating that pilgrims from far-flung countries may also come here. They may be influenced by pro-Khalistan propaganda.”
Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab

Confusion Over PM Imran Khan’s Tweet

On 1 November, Pakistan PM Imran Khan announced in a tweet:

  • Devotees coming to Kartarpur from India would not require a passport. Any one valid identity card would suffice for entry in Pakistan.
  • Registration 10 days in advance would not be required.
  • No fee will be charged on day of inauguration and on Guruji’s 550th birthday.

However, the MoU signed between India and Pakistan regarding Kartarpur Corridor states that a passport would indeed be required. In some media reports, government sources have been quoted as saying that even after five days of Imran Khan’s tweet, no change was made in the MoU which has created a lot of confusion among devotees.

Kartarpur Corridor’s Significance

Kartarpur Gurudwara is not just a sacred place for Sikhs but for people from other communities as well. It is said that Saint Nanak Shah is ‘guru’ to a Hindu and a ‘peer’ to a Muslim.

It is believed that Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru, started living with his family in Kartapur in 1522 after completing the four trips. It was here where he explained the importance of prayer, hard-work and sharing.

He spent the last 7 years, 5 months and 9 days of his life there. In the 1947 Indo-Pak Partition, the holy place was made a part of Pakistan.

Peer-Fakeer, Guru, Mahatma... people like these have always been the flag-bearers of brotherhood and harmony. It is a coincidence that on the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, two arch-enemies are coming together for reasons other than ceasefire, violence and Kashmir.

This page was originally published on Quint Hindi

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