On Monday, Dawn News reported that the “Guru Nanak Mahal” near Narowal, Punjab was ruthlessly demolished and sacked by the local villagers and a fiery of news pieces on the issue started trending on social media. Apart from a few locals claiming that the building was a historical site which had been visited by a team of experts from Canada a few years ago and who seemed to think that the site was a historically lost treasure, there seemed to be no credible source of information about what the site actually was.
News reports claimed that the site used to be a house for Guru Nanak on his visits to the area and that it held many memorable pictures and drawings of the founder of the Sikh faith. Yet, surprisingly the four-hundred-year-old building was not registered as a historical site, nor was recognized by the Auqaf and Religious Affairs Commission. The reporters who visited the site also stated that everyone, including the family that had been living inside the building, had no idea regarding either the true owner or the historical importance of the building.
As it turns out, the building itself is no more than a regular old haveli which had stood its ground against the test of time, and its so-called destruction was nothing more than the locals plundering the place for any valuable items such as doors and usable bricks. The haveli itself had been falling apart for quite some time and due to the removal of doors and windows, the structure had started to really deteriorate.
India Today reported on Dawn’s mistake as well and offered a clarification on the issue based on their sources in the local Sikh community in India. The Sikh community in India confirmed that the haveli had never been a place that held any religious or historical importance to their community and that it had served the purpose of only providing shelter to the poor and homeless of the region. The leader of the minority Sikh community in Punjab has also taken notice of the incident and reached out to the provincial government to discuss the false reports. He said in a statement that Guru Nanak was a fakir and never resided in lavish palaces, hence this haveli could not have belonged to him or his community.
In an attempt to politicize the issue, India Today claimed that Dawn had reported falsely on the issue in order to create hindrances in the Kartarpur Corridor initiative that was proposed by the governments of the two neighboring countries in order to connect the shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (Punjab, India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (Pakistan).
What do you think about the media’s attempt to dramatize this seemingly unimportant incident?