On the ISC Front
Lt Gen Kartar Singh
The first quarter of the year 2009 has spurred us on to launch new projects. These three months have been busy as well as rewarding. Our teams have travelled frequently to various destinations in Punjab supervising on-going education projects and starting new ones. Our focus is to uplift the standard of living in our rural areas and tackle unemployment which is the basic cause of drug addiction and suicides. Our teams have contacted other organizations on similar missions and have received a very good response. Some of our Sant Babas who head Deras are doing a marvellous job and we are receiving valuable support from them in all our endeavours.
Based on the initial and a few continuing donations to the Guru Nanak Education Fund, we had launched two projects for the uplift of rural youth, i.e.
a) Awarding scholarships to rural students who had obtained admissions to higher professional/technical Institutes of learning by merit/competition.
b) Opening coaching for selected rural school students from the class X pass outs. These students are given extra coaching by selected teachers after school hours in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English five days in the week for nearly two years. After this they are fit to compete in entrance examinations to various higher institutes of learning and build a lucrative career.
Readers will be glad to know that our allied Gian Seva Trust, which started the coaching scheme a year before us has achieved excellent results. As many as 26 out of 41 students who sat for various competitions for entry in professional institutions achieved their aim. This is as high as 63.6 per cent. Our own batch will be sitting for the commencing competitive examinations this year.
We have already helped a number of students in paying full/part entrance fees which are considerably high. These institutions are Medical and Engineering Colleges, Higher Computer training centres, Nursing Colleges, etc. Applications are carefully screened by a committee and finally sanctioned by the CEO/Convenor. Our fund is insufficient to meet the needs of all applicants, hence only the very needy ones are allotted scholarships. However, readers will be glad to know that no deserving Gursikh student has been denied aid by us. We have gone out of our way to help school going students who were in urgent need of our aid. We appeal to donors to donate to our Guru Nanak Education Fund most liberally.
Employment Oriented Training (A New Project)
The ISC has recently launched a project codenamed Age Barho, in alliance with the Defence Welfare Organisation at Jalandhar, whose dynamic Director is Col Manmohan Singh. We will soon be sending selected rural students to him for the following career training, at set intervals, as per requirement, for the following courses:
a) For Soldier GD in Army
b) For Soldier Technical in Army
c) For entry into Para Military forces
d) For entry into Punjab Police/PAP
e) For entry of 10+2 pass students
f) As officers in the Armed forces
We are also obtaining latest recruitment notices issued by the Punjab Govt for direct recruitment as women constables and Assistant sub-Inspectors. Notices have been circulated to all our Chapters in Punjab and in various gurdwaras. We undertake to train forthcoming applicants before they appear, if they approach us in time.
Students do not pay any fees as we take on the financial burden. Boarding and lodging is at present the responsibility of students. However, we shall look into this as the training gets going and organise something concessional centrally. This project will seriously tackle the problem of unemployment in our rural areas. Here again let our donors come to the help of Punjab unemployed youth.
Model Villages Project
The first such project undertaken by us has been launched in villages Sarkapra in the Chunni area of District Fatehgarh Sahib. With the help and motivation of S Rajvir Singh Mann, a young resident of Mohali, we have taken up the project for the uplift of a group of villages in Punjab especially with regard to a healthy environment, ideal sanitation, good education standards, abolish unemployment, and encourage games and sports among youth. With this in view, S Rajvir Singh has formed a team of sarpanches/panches through whom we shall propagate this scheme. The CEO and his team has already visited these villages and seen their deplorable state, and formulated a scheme for their uplift in phases. We do hope our members join hands and donate liberally for the uplift scheme in phases as planned by us.
In the first phase, we have tackled the health and hygiene problem by sending a team of volunteer doctors every Tuesday with the required equipment and medicines. These very qualified doctors are Dr B S Makkar and Dr Jasbir Kaur and we are all highly indebted to them for the excellent way they are handling patients from various villages at one centre in Sarkapra. They attended nearly 400 patients on their last visit.
Simultaneously we have successfully approached the Deputy Commissioner and DDPO for aid in cleaning the two ponds in the village. This work has commenced. Babaji Balbir Singh Seechewal of Kali Bein fame has come to our aid and surveyed and laid out the sanitation scheme for providing an underground system to the residents. This work will commence as soon as we can raise donations enough to lay underground pipes and also set up a proper sewage disposal system.
Villagers are to provide land for a playing ground for children to which they have readily agreed. We shall then provide the sports equipment for field games such as Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Badminton and Kabaddi. Mrs Chanchal Surjit Singh, Jt Director Sports, Punjab has volunteered all help in this regard.
The new School building is under construction. There was only one teacher for the Primary school upto Class V. Three more teachers have been posted now. We hope to bring up the standard of this school to the required level very soon.
We shall gradually tackle the problem of employment and also simultaneously improve the environment by planting trees in the rainy season. Village streets will be paved and solar energy made available for street lighting. Dr G S Kalkat, our honored member and Chairman, Farmers Commission, has promised us all help in this regard as well as in the sphere of introducing improved farming methods along with providing improved seed to the farmers, especially those with small holdings.
ISC Delegation On A Liaison Mission
On the 23rd of March 2009, a strong delegation of the ISC set out on a four-day visit to Jallandhar, Village Seechewal, Sultanpur Lodhi, Khadoor Sahib, Amritsar and Sursingh Pur. It consisted of the following members from Chandigarh:
a) Mrs Kharak Singh Ji
b) Lt Gen Kartar Singh Gill
c) Bibi Baljit Kaur
d) Giani Harinder Singh
e) Lt Col J S Multani
And, from the Ludhiana Chapter:
f) S Karamjit Singh Aujla
g) S Ajit Singh Arora
h) S Gursewak Singh Madhok
i) Col Harbans Singh
j) Bibi Parminder Kaur
This was a follow-up of the Minimum Common Programme for the welfare of Punjab, agreed upon by various Panthic organisations and Dera Heads, at a conclave organised by the ISC in December 2007. The decision for the trip was taken in a very important meeting of the ISC Executive Committee and prominent members held on 10th March, 2009. A proper itinerary was issued well in time as result of which the delegation received a very dignified and rousing reception at all locations visited. Babaji Balbir Singh Seechewal and Babaji Sewa Singh ‘Karsewa Wale’ were gracious hosts who took pride in explaining to us personally the wonderful achievements in their respective areas. These two Sant Mahatmas are truly great leaders and our visit was indeed homage to two genuinely holy and divine locations. The tree planting arranged for each of us at Khadoor Sahib and the College and School functions on 25th March, 2009 were indeed excellent. May Waheguru shower his blessings on these two great individuals who are genuinely serving society at great personal sacrifice?
The exchange of views with the august audience at Guru Ki Nagri was exhilarating. All praise to S Inderjit Singh Gogoani, Convenor, ISC Chapter, Amritsar for the immaculate arrangements in the hall of the Chief Khalsa Dewan. We plan to organize more and more such exchange of ideas. Dignitaries such as SGPC member Bibi Kiranjot Kaur and Prof Jagdish Singh of Nad Parkas leant an extra impetus to the function by propagating fresh ideas. The question-answer session was spirited and very-very invigorating. The ISC team came back much richer in experience and with a fresh determination to carry forward the ISC mission to its destined goal.
I hereby appeal to all Gursikhs and benevolent human beings to contribute their mite by joining us and helping us achieve our various objectives. Sewa and monetary aid, however small, will go a long way in helping us achieve our noble objectives. You know too well that many drops of water make an ocean and many small streams a river. So too many humble members of the ISC will create a movement – one that uplifts society to a sublime level in keeping with our motto Sarbat Da Bhalla.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2009, All