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I want to be sevadar in Harmandir Sahib

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Mitar Piyare Nu Haal Muridan da Kahina. All that Baba Ghulam Mohammad Chand has to say is Shabad. Gali Rababian di in Amritsar that once boasted of 300 such families may have been deserted post-Partition but their soulful strains carry on beyond boundaries. A descendent of Mardana (first disciple and lifelong companion of Guru Nanak and his rabab player), this 70-year-old Rababi is in India for the first time after Partition.

"Neither did anyone remember us nor do they know about Rababis anymore," reminisces Baba who, as a child blissfully assimilated nectar of life at Harimandir Sahib where his chacha Bhai Chand performed kirtan .

"Only rababis did the kirtan then. Their love for Gurus and Gurbani was unquestioned. It still is. And why not when the Guru himself gave us the title of ‘ Bhai Rababi.' Shabad is, therefore we are," beams the rababi who excels in parmanik kirtan With five other members from the family, Baba is exhilarated to

be in country.

" Umeed muk gayi si (I had lost the hope)," admits Baba who had been preparing for this visit for the last three years. "It is a spontaneous acceptance here because there is no need of leafing through the history sheets. The Sikh families simply know about us whereas back home in Pakistan we have to introduce ourselves and illustrate Gurbani ," he adds.

Recalling the transcending experience of kirtan at Nanakana Sahib celebrating 500 years Sikhism, Baba is quick to add, "I only wish to sing in the praise of Lord at Darbar Sahib. Maryada Badal Gayi (The tradition has changed) but with due respect I still want to be a sevadar at Harmandir Sahib where once my ancestors sang. I can go back a proud man if that happens."

Currently in sangat of Baba Sayed Najam Hussain, noted Sufi thinker and academician, Baba Ghulam Muhammad Chand recites Granth Sahib (these days reading Bhai Gurdas) at a weekly gathering for the youn

ger generation.

" Riwayat (legacy) should be intact. Granth Sahib is our identity though we are Muslims. Our children should feel fortunate and proudly carry on the tradition," says Baba.

Baba Ghulam Muhammad Chand and his family from Lahore are in India with the joint effort of NGOs Eclectica and United Colours of Punjab. Having performed at Amritsar and Delhi, Baba will perform in city on October 24.

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