Sikh pilgrims bid adieu with moist eyes

Body of a pilgrim who succumbed to heart attack handed over to Indian authorities

Asif Mehmood April 23, 2024


Indian Sikh pilgrims on Monday bid adieu after wrapping up their 10-day spiritual journey, praising the Pakistani government for rolling out the red carpet during their visit.

Approximately 2,500 Sikh pilgrims arrived in Pakistan on April 13 to partake in the celebrations of Baisakhi Mela and Khalsa Janam Din. Completing their spiritual sojourn, they crossed the Wagah border back into India on Monday.

The pilgrims set their sights homeward, carrying with them cherished memories of their time in the Guru's land. Many departed carrying the soil of their guru and ancestors as a precious memento of their journey.

At the Wagah border, Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora, chairman of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and provincial minister for minority affairs, alongside Rana Shahid Saleem, additional secretary of shrines at the evacuee trust property board, bid a warm farewell to the departing pilgrims.

Expressing their heartfelt appreciation, the Indian Sikh pilgrims extended their thanks to the Pakistani government, particularly the evacuee trust property board, for the exceptional arrangements made throughout their stay in Pakistan.

However, amid the expressions of gratitude, bittersweet emotions hung in the air as the body of a 67-year-old Indian national, who succumbed to a heart attack during the pilgrimage, was transferred and subsequently handed over to Indian authorities for repatriation.

‘Home for ten days’

Simranjit Kaur, a native of Haryana, India, journeyed to Pakistan for the very first time.

As she reached the Wagah border to return home after her ten-day pilgrimage, a sombre expression adorned her face.

Reflecting on her journey, Simranjit Kaur expressed that upon her initial arrival in Pakistan, she had a few concerns, reservations, and fears.

However, now as she prepared to depart, it felt as though “I am fleeing from my own self,” leaving behind a part of her soul in the land she briefly called home.

Contrary to what she had seen portrayed in the Indian media, she discovered a starkly different reality upon her arrival.


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