Bhubaneswar: The Sikh community of Odisha has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to protect two mutts in Puri associated with Sikh faith from being demolished in the ongoing reforms being carried out in the Pilgrim Town.
They are Mangu Mutt and Punjabi Mutt.
Lawyer Sukhvinder Kaur and historian Anil Dhir, representing the Sikh community, said that these mutts are intricately linked to Jagannath culture.
The letter assumed significance against the backdrop of the state government’s decision to pull down all structure within 75 radius of the 12th century shrine to ensure its safety.
Elaborating on the importance of Mangu Mutt, they wrote: “It was set up by Bhai Almast, the Sikh preacher and head of the Dhuari of the Udasi sect sometime in 1615 C.E. He had been deputed to the eastern provinces by Baba Gurditta, the eldest son of Guru Hargobind, to preach the message of Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the eastern provinces. The image of Baba Shri Chand, the son of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is kept in the shrine inside the mutt.”
The mutt was the abode of the Nanak Panthis, who would travel 2000 miles each year to visit Puri. The Nanak Panthis were primarily responsible of taking the Jagannath culture to Northern India and spreading the word of the Lord. Even after partition, they still came from Lahore each year during the Rath Yatra. Their presence has been recorded till 1955, after which border restrictions were imposed and they could not travel from Pakistan, the letter further said.
“Mangu Mutt also played an important role during the freedom struggle. Many freedom fighters, both from Odisha and upcountry were sheltered here. The Late Gobind Tripathy, freedom fighter from Puri has recollected his stay in the mutt as an inmate and the immense support he and fellow freedom fighters received here in the thirties,” it added.
The duo said that while the administration can remove all the commercial establishments and illegal structures, the Gadi and the Sanctum Sanctorum should be left intact. “The relics should be properly preserved. It will hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community worldwide if the mutts are razed to the ground,” they said.