Chandigarh, March 6 (IANS) To commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the Christchurch City Council in New Zealand on Friday organised a presentation on sacred trees of Sikhism by author, environmentalist and Punjab civil servant, D.S. Jaspal.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel inaugurated the event that was attended by prominent persons, including Member of Parliament Nicky Wagner, former High Court judge Sir John Hansen and Botanic Gardens Director Wolfgang Bopp.
In his book, “Tryst with Trees — Punjab’s Sacred Heritage”, Jaspal has compiled a pictorial documentation of 59 sacred Sikh shrines in India and Pakistan named after 19 species of trees.
He emphasised that trees, nature and environment are repeatedly referred in the hymns of Guru Nanak and “though love and respect for nature and environment are common to every religious faith, the naming of sacred shrines after trees is unique to the Sikh religion”.
He also gave a description of the Museum of Trees project in Chandigarh where genetically true replicas of the sacred trees are being reproduced through vegetative propagation to preserve them for posterity.
Tania Wati from Ngai Tahu, the principal Maori tribe of New Zealand, said the Maoris have a very strong connect with nature, especially trees, and it is the Maori tradition to bury the placenta of newborn babies and plant a tree on the spot.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel thanked Jaspal for not only documenting sacred trees but also taking the initiative for their conservation and propagation.