Ghuman (Punjab):Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday called for strengthening cultural bonds amongst states to promote social cohesion and harmony in India. Addressing a big gathering here in Gurdaspur district after inaugurating the newly constructed Baba Namdev Ji college, Badal said communal harmony and brotherhood across the country was the need of the hour. The Guru Granth Sahib, which was the "lighthouse of socialism and secularism", could guide the entire country along the path to communal harmony, he said. Setting up of Baba Namdev Ji University College here by the Punjab government was a step towards further strengthening the state's cultural ties with Maharashtra, Badal said. Baba Namdev, a poet-saint from Maharashtra who lived from 1270 CE to 1350 CE, is greatly revered in Punjab. Badal said the Punjab government has also given a facelift to the memorial of great patriot Rajguru, who attained martyrdom along with Bhagat Singh during the colonial rule, in his native town in Maharashtra. These initiatives were aimed at further strengthening the bonds of love and affinity between peoples of Punjab and Maharashtra, he said. Badal said Baba Namdev was a great spiritual ambassador who spent 19 years of his life in this town of Punjab and spread the message of equality of human beings and oneness of God. He pointed out that the tenth master of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, spent last days of his life in Sri Huzur Sahib in Nanded in Maharashtra. For centuries people from the two states have been visiting these holy places of immense religious importance due to which a strong bond has developed amongst them, the Chief Minister said. The gathering was also addressed by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, former Union Minister Sharad Pawar and others. Prabhu lauded the Punjab government for constructing the state-of-the art college which, he said, would help in further cementing the bonds between people of Punjab and Maharashtra. This historic step taken by the state government would help in perpetuating the glorious heritage of Baba Namdev, he said.