New Delhi: Odisha Forum, a Delhi based organization of Odia intellectuals, has demanded that the Jaganath Sadak be developed and named as Guru Nanak Marg. It also demanded for a chair in the name of Guru Nanak Chair in Utkal University.

The Forum president Gokul Chandra Patnaik, a former IAS officer of Punjab cadre, said the Odisha Forum would be writing to the Odisha government to revive the Jagannath road (all the monuments included), to name it as the Guru Nanak Marg and to create a Guru Nanak Chair in Utkal University along the lines of the one in Jadhavpur University in West Bengal.  

He was speaking on the occasion of a talk on ‘Guru Nanak ‘s Visit to Puri and the Spread of the Jagannath Culture’, organised by Odisha Forum at India International Centre, here on Friday.

Giving a talk on the holy connection between Jagannath and Nanak Anil Dheer, an author and historian, said, ” It was by the seaside at Jagannath Puri under a star-studded sky that Guru Nanak composed the first stanzas of the Sikh Aarti–after he saw the pandits do the evening pooja with lamps and incense.” The Aarti is sung in raga Dhanashri at the conclusion of the day’s last prayer, the Rehraas Sahib, also composed by Guru Nanak, he added.

” The visit of Guru Nanak and other saints to Puri and the places touched by them along the Jagannath Sadak continue to attract thousands of devotees, but it is a part of history that has largely been ignored by historians”, Dheer lamented.

Dheer’s three-volume book, titled “Jagannath Sadak” is due for release next month in what would be the Odisha government’s tribute to the first Sikh guru on the occasion of his 550th birthday on November 12, 2019.

The book project was sponsored by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTAC) seven years ago.

In a riveting, 75-minute talk supported by telling pictures, Dheer talked about the oneness of the Jagannath culture and Sikhism. “The Odisha model of the composite culture of India,” Dheer said, finds its truest reflection in Jagannnath Sadak. Besides Hindu shrines, there are Shaivite, Muslim, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist shrines all along the road, which was as popular with pilgrims as with plunderers.

In fact, Dheer believes that the seeker in Guru Nanak found in Puri what he was looking for and that is why he “broke pattern” of travelling along circular routes and went straight back to Punjab from Puri after spending 24 days there.