Washington, Dec 1: US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have greeted the Sikh community on the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, emphasising that the timeless and universal message of compassion and unity from the founder of Sikhism can inspire and help Americans heal as people and as a nation.
In a joint statement issued by the offices of Biden and Harris, the two leaders said that for more than five centuries, Guru Nanak's teachings on spiritual enlightenment, service to humanity and moral integrity have endured and embodied each day by Sikhs in America and around the world.
“For more than five centuries, Guru Nanak's teachings on spiritual enlightenment, service to humanity, and moral integrity have endured and are embodied each day by Sikhs in America and around the world, as we have seen during this challenging year,” Biden and Harris said. Gurpurab 2020, PM Narendra Modi Releases Book on Life of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
“We are grateful to all of the Sikh Americans who continue to stand by their neighbours as essential workers of the pandemic, and who open their hearts and community kitchens in their gurdwaras to prepare, serve, and deliver countless meals for people most in need,” they said.
The two top Democratic leaders said Sikhs have always stood for gender equality.
“And during the summer of protest, we saw Sikhs of all ages marching peacefully for racial and gender equality, religious pluralism, and fidelity to truth and justice — core tenets of the Sikh faith and central to who we all are as Americans,” Biden and Harris said in their joint statement.
In a separate tweet, Harris also said Guru Nanak's message should be used to inspire and help people as a nation.
“Let us use Guru Nanak's timeless message of compassion and unity to inspire and help us heal as a nation,” she said.
“To our Sikh friends across the US and around the world, Biden and I send our warmest wishes as you observe the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji,” she said hours after she and the president-elect issued a joint statement on the occasion.
Biden and Harris were joined by over a dozen influential lawmakers and eminent Indian-Americans to greet the Sikh community on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
For 551 years, Sikhs have celebrated Guru Nanak's birth on this day, said Senator Pat Toomey.
“Happy Gurpurab to all in Pennsylvania's vibrant Sikh community and Sikhs around the world. While the celebration may be different this year, the ability to appreciate Guru Nanak's teachings remain unchanged,” Toomey said.
“As a proud member of the Congressional Sikh Caucus, I'm sending my warmest wishes to everyone celebrating the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith,” Toomey said.
Congressman Josh Gottheimer said: “To our Sikh neighbours across PA-05 and across the world, we send our warmest wishes as you observe the 551st anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith”.
India's Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu also greeted the Sikh community on the occasion.
"Greetings to all on the occasion of 551st Parkash Purb of Guru Nanak Dev ji! " Sandhu tweeted.
Ravinder S Bhalla, the Mayor of Hoboken in New Jersey and also the only Sikh mayor in the US, said: “Today, Sikhs around the world are marking the Gurpurab of the birth anniversary of its founder, Guru Nanak Dev Ji”.
Eminent Indian-American from Indiana, Gurinder Singh Khalsa, said that Guru Nanak's message of equality of gender and race, freedom of faith and message of honest living by sharing the blessing and abundance with fellow beings was never more relevant than now.
“Wishing my fellow 30 million Sikhs across the globe celebrating Gurpurab,” Khalsa said.
Congressman Greg Stanton in a tweet extended his wishes to Sikh community, saying Guru Nanak's teachings of peace, equality, tolerance and service are extremely important.
Congresswoman Dina Titus said: “Today is the Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh religion.I am committed to educating citizens about the many contributions of Sikh Americans in our community and the value of religious diversity. Sat Sri Akaal!”.
The New York Police Department's Chaplains Unit also sent its greetings.
"We wish our brothers and sisters of the Sikh Faith a Happy #Gurpurab. As we celebrate the 551st Anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, may we strive to emulate his ideals of peace, love and service to all,” it said.
“Happy Gurpurab! While celebrations won't be the same this year, let's do all we can to work towards a more equal and just society!” tweeted New Jersey's Attorney General Gurbir S Grewal, he is the first Sikh in the US to occupy this position.
“As we grapple with the global pandemic, let us remember the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, founder of Sikhism, and his message of unity, compassion, and peace. May his vision of a more just world continue to inspire us on his 551st birth anniversary,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.