The initiative for the seven conferences held in UK and North America in November and December 1990, came during a discussion between Dr. Jasbir Singh Mann of the Sikh Community of North America, and Dr. Darshan Singh and S. Balbir Singh Nijjar, President and Secretary, respectively, of the Canadian Institute of Sikh Studies, Toronto, while Dr. Kharak Singh of the Institute of Sikh Studies, Punjab, was in Canada on a private visit. S. Kuldip Singh Chhatwal and S. Bhupinder Singh Sarkaria of Waterloo were among active supporters of the proposal. Simultaneously, the idea was also taken up by Dr. Pargat Singh, Dr. Baljit Singh Bagga and Dr. G. S. Mansukhani, President, Secretary, and Member, respectively, of the Sikh Council of Education, UK. The proposal was welcomed by Dr Gurbakhsh Singh Gill, the Roving Ambassador of Sikhism, and leading Sikh Organisations in North America. Accordingly, the President, S. Satnam Singh, and Secretary, S. Jasbir Singh, of the Canadian Sikh Study and Teaching Society, Vancouver, Dr. N. S. Kapani and Dr. Sabherwal of the Sikh Foundation, USA, San Fransisco, S. Harjit Singh, Gursharanjit Singh, S. Balwant Singh Hansra and S. Pritam Singh of the Sikh Religious Society, Chicago, Dr. Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Dr. Rajwant Singh, S.G.S. Ahluwalia and S. Amrik Singh, of the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, Washington DC, and S. Jatinder Singh Sabherwal, President, the Sikh Cultural Society, New York and Dr. Satnam Singh Dhami of the Tristate Area Sikh Society also joined the other organisations to hold International Conferences at London, Toronto, Vancouver, Berkley, Chicago, Washington DC and New York. At their instance the Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh made a choice of the subjects and the related scholars, with specialty in those fields for addressing the seven Conferences. It is our pleasure to convey gratefulness on behalf of the nine organisations mentioned above to their organisers and helpers who have with their labours made the Conferences at each place a success.
We also take this opportunity profusely to thank all the contributors and hosts who have funded the Conferences and offered generous hospitality to the scholars and other participants.
We should like to convey our special gratefulness to the scholars who have very kindly contributed their papers at the Conferences mentioned above. Our deep thanks are also due to Dr. Hugh Johnson, Professor of History, Simon Fraser University of B.C., Dr. Newman, Principal Harbhajan Singh, S. Kirpal Singh Sirha, S. Lou Singh Khalsa, S. Kuldip Singh Channi, who contributed their papers at the Conferences, but for one reason or the other could not send their revised contributions.
The papers were appropriately divided for publication in two volumes, one mostly of papers read or contributed in North America, and the other of papers received for the London Conference. Our particular thanks are due to the Editors for their long and hard labour in obtaining, and editing the material. It has indeed been a labour of love in furtherance of the cause that is dear to our nine Organisations. We shall be failing in our duty, if we did not thank S. Manohar Singh Momi for his honorary organisational and secretarial work for the publication of the two volumes.
We are deeply grateful to the Members of the Institute for their generous help in the organisation of the Conferences and the publication of the two volumes.
On behalf of the nine organisations it is our pleasure to express our sincere and deep gratitude to Dr. H.K Manmohan Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University Patiala for his keen interest in this academic venture involving publication of the volume comprising the: North American papers. In this regard our thanks are also due to Professor(s) Jodh Singh, Balkar Singh and Gurnam Kaur of the Punjabi University Patiala, for their valuable suggestions.
Lastly, and importantly, we should like to express our gratefulness to Dr. Hazara Singh of the Publication Bureau, Punjabi University, Patiala, for his invaluable guidance and help in the publication of the papers. In fact, the Speed with which publications have come out, and the quality of publication, are mainly due to his expertise in the field.
The Editors have indicated the objectives of organising the various Conferences, and the reasons for the choice of subjects of the papers contributed. It is our pleasure in offering these publications to the scholars and the reading public in India and abroad. We hope that these papers will contribute towards projecting an authentic image of Sikh religion, history and institutions, and in creating better understanding of Sikhism, especially in countries abroad where Sikhs have settled.
Maj General Mohinder Singh (Retd.)
October 1, 1991
Institute of Sikh Studies
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