In the pursuit of its objectives, the Institute of Sikh Studies (IOSS) organises seminars, group discussions, and represents its views on the burning topics concerning the Sikhs and also publishes a quarterly journal the Abstracts of Sikh Studies.
The Institute has been regularly holding its annual seminars for a number of years. The topics for discussion in these seminars are determined after thoughtful deliberations. At the annual seminar of the year 2002 held on November 9 and 10, 2002 in the lawns of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, Kanthala, Chandigarh — which houses the IOSS office — the topics for duscussion were:
1. Importance of the Teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in Present Era (on November 9)
2. Punjab Waters — SYL Canal (November 10)
Four sessions — two on each day — were held. The first subject was discussed on November 9 and the second subject on November 10, 2002.
A galaxy of scholars and thinkers presented papers / made speeches at the seminar which was graced by very attentive and responsive audience of distinguished participants. Justice (retd.) Kulwant Singh Tiwana presided over the opening session of November 9 and Dr Hardev Singh Virk on the afternoon session that day. Sardar Swaran Singh Boparai presided over the morning session of November 10 and Dr Sardara Singh Johl on the concluding session of the seminar.
Maj Gen (retd) Jaswant Singh and Prof. Prabhjot Kaur ably compered the first and second session respectively on November 9 as stage secretaries. Bhai Ashok Singh and Bibi Baljit Kaur deftly conducted the proceedings on November 10 as stage secretaries. The audience / speakers had come from all over Punjab as well as from other parts of India and abroad.
I had the pleasure of extending heartiest welcome to the participants at the opening sessions on November 9 and 10 and hoped that the deliberations of this seminar would help in providing some solution to the problems faced by the Sikhs and other people. Before the proceedings of the seminar came to close on November 10, 2002, Maj Gen (retd) Narindar Singh, Vice-President of the Institute of Sikh Studies, thanked the participants for their kind patronage and co-operation to make the seminar a success.
Very informative, elucidating, thought provoking and learned representations were made by eminent speakers and some of the ladies and gentlemen from the audience. It was a very well organised and well-attended seminar which provided good opportunity to the scholars / thinkers concerned with the welfare of the people to get together and cogitate upon the seminar subjects.
Papers presented at the two-day seminar will be published by the Institute of Sikh Studies in due course. Keeping in view the urgency of the matter, the papers concerning the deliberations of November 10 sessions on Punjab Waters — SYL canal are enclosed as these may be helpful in preparing the Punjab case.
i. Punjab River Waters Disupte - Constitutional Aspect — Sardar Gurdev Singh
ii. Punjab Waters — SYL Canal — Sardar Hardev Singh Mattewal
iii. Punjab Waters — SYL Canal — Dr Gurmit Singh, Advocate
iv. A Time for Action on SYL — Sardar Sukhdev Singh, Journalist
v. SYL : Does Punjab Have Water to Spare for Haryana? — Dr Gurbir Singh Dhillon
vi. A Way Out of the Water Dispute — Dr Kharak Singh
vii. SYL : A Retrospective Look — Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon
viii. River Waters — Sardar Harbinder Pal Singh
ix. The Truth Behind SYL Issue — Sardar Shahbaaz Singh
x. The Punjab River Water Issue — Dr Rajinder Singh Bajwa
Sardar Gurdev Singh, Sardar Hardev Singh Mattewal, Dr Gurmit Singh, Sardar Sukhdev Singh, Dr Gurbir Singh Dhillon and Dr Kharak Singh presented their papers lucidly explaining the various implications of the issue. Sardar Harbinder Pal Singh could not come; his paper was presented by Dr Kharak Singh. Copies of the papers of Dr Gurdarshan Singh Dhillon, Sardar Shahbaaz Singh and Dr Rajinder Singh Bajwa (they were not present) as also of the other papers mentioned above were distributed amongst the participants.
Views expressed in these papers are not necessarily opinion of the Institute of Sikh Studies. These are of the paper presenters whom I am highly grateful for their scholarly diligence in writing these learned papers.
In nut shell the essence of the deliberations was :
The Ravi, Beas and Satluj are Punjab rivers. The people of Punjab have constitutional rights (Article 246, entry 17 of the State List of the Constitution) to enjoy benefits of their waters just as they are vulnerable to losses due to their floods and land erosion. Any legislation impinging upon these rights is unconstitutional. Let the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court determine the vires of the provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966 and Section 14 of the Inter-state River Water Disputes Act, 1956 and the validity of the Supreme Court Division Bench order of January 15, 2002.
Resolution Annxure II was passed before close of the seminar.
Dr S. S. Johl apprised the Chief Minister, Punjab Capt. Amarinder Singh of the deliberations of the seminar that very evening and subsequently arranged a meeting with him for November 15, 2002 at 12:00 noon (which the CM could not attend). Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Dr Kharak Singh and Sardar Gurdev Singh submitted the representation Annuxure I to the Chief Minister and its copy each was given to Chief Secretary, Punjab Shri Y. S. Ratra and Secretary Irrigation and Power, Punjab Shri Rajan Kashyap. Shri Ratra and Shri Kashyap requested Dr Kalkat to attend a meeting at 4:30 P.M. that day. In the afternoon meeting attended by Shri Kashyap and the concerned Chief Engineers, Dr Kalkat reiterated the suggestions made by the Institute of Sikh Studies and at the November 10 seminar.
On November 12, 2002 Sardar Sukhdev Singh Journalist along with some Kisan Union representatives met the Chief Minister and urged that effective steps should be taken immediately to safeguard the Punjab rights.
I must express my sincere gratitude to my colleague - members of the Institute of Sikh Studies and its staff for the publication of this anthology. It is a team effort and all of us at the Institute always endeavoure to assist readers in framing informed opinion on matters vital to their very existence.
Institute of Sikh Studies
November 21, 2002