Washington DC, January 30, 2012: Washington-based EcoSikh is appealing to Sikhs around the world to celebrate March 14, 2012 as Sikh Environment Day for the second year. March 14th is the day when Guru Har Rai, a famous nature and animal lover, became the seventh Sikh Guru in 1644. EcoSikh has set the goal of enrolling more than 700 Sikh institutions and Gurdwaras all over the world to celebrate this day in March up from 450 who celebrated last year. EcoSikh is urging them to start the signing up on January 31, the birth date of Guru Har Rai. This year it also plans to approach Sikh-owned businesses to join in this endeavor.
According to Dr. Rajwant Singh, President of EcoSikh: “This will be perhaps the largest direct action event by the Sikhs worldwide to help preserve the natural environment of Mother Earth. It’s great to start this campaign on the auspicious day of Guru Har Rai’s birthday. Last year over 450 Sikh bodies all over the world marked the day with various thoughtful actions and celebrations and this year we are audaciously setting the goal of 700.”
EcoSikh has already received confirmation of participation from many Sikh institutions, gurdwaras and Sikh-run schools and colleges in India and abroad. EcoSikh has a website for gurdwaras and Sikh institutions to register their participation internationally.
Last year participants included the highest Sikh institutions. Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and Takhat Hazur Sahib in Nanded, Maharasthra, the SGPC, Gurdwaras, Khalsa schools, youth groups from India, USA, Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Argentina, Nigeria, Kenya, UK etc celebrated the first Sikh Environment Day as a tribute to Guru Har Rai ji.
The Sikhs remember Guru Har Rai ji for his sensitivity to nature and his passion for preserving it. The Seventh Guru was instrumental in developing Kiratpur Sahib on the banks of tributary of the river Sutlej in Punjab as a town of parks and gardens: he planted flowers and fruit bearing trees all over the area, as well as medicinal herbs and wildlife sanctuaries for the benefit of the masses in the 17th century making him perhaps the earliest environmentalist in the Indian Subcontinent. According to Sikh history this created a salubrious environment, attracting birds and animals to the town and turning it into an idyllic place to live.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of the Washington based Sikh Council on Religion and Education and President of EcoSikh, said: “Guru Har Rai ji inspired Sikhs to care for nature and his life lifts us towards ecological consciousness precisely when earth is facing dire circumstances due to human carelessness. We have no choice but to walk on the footsteps of this great man and leave minimum footprints.”
Bandana Kaur, New York based Program Director of EcoSikh in North America, said: This is a positive way to connect Sikhs in the diaspora to be aware of environmental issues facing in their own localities but also be conscious of challenging state of ecology in their own spiritual homeland.”
Ravneet Singh, Indian Project Manager in Ludhiana, Punjab, said, “Our message is simple: wherever you are, plan to inspire others with what Guruji taught us. Whatever you do, plan to plant a tree and save water, clear up rubbish in your neighbourhood and talk to a child about nature preservation.”
Link here for information and ideas about how your gurdwara, school, business or family can celebrate Sikh Environment Day.
Link here to register.
Press coverage IANS, PTI