In the pursuit of its objectives, the Institute of Sikh Studies organizes seminars, group discussions, and expresses 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 2001 held on November 3 & 4, 2001 in the lawns of Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Kanthala, Chandigarh — which houses the IOSS office — topics for discussions were i) Institutional failure in Punjab with respect to Sikhism and ii) Missing Sikh Prisoners. Four sessions - two on each day - were held. The first subject was discussed during the first three sessions and the second subject in the fourth session of the seminar.
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. Dr Gurcharan Singh, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, presided over the opening session of the seminar. Dr Amrik Singh, former Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, and Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman, Punjab School Education Board presided over the second and third session respectively. The closing session was presided over by Justice Jaspal Singh (retd.). Bhai Ashok Singh, Maj Gen Jaswant Singh (retd.) and Dr Gurbakhsh Singh ably compered the first, second and third sessions respectively as stage secretaries. Prof. Prabhjot Kaur and Dr Gurdarshan Singh deftly conducted the proceedings of the last session 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 session of the seminar on Nov. 3, 2001 and hoped that the deliberations of this seminar would help in providing some solution to the problems faced by the Sikhs. Before closing the proceedings, Maj Gen Narindar Singh (retd.) Vice-President of the Institute of Sikh Studies thanked the participants for their kind patronage and co-operation to make the seminar a success.
Dr Gurdarshan Singh who had put scholarly labours in preparing his keynote address presented it in a scintillating manner which stirred the audience to serious cogitation and set the tone and high level of speeches. The subsequent speakers further enhanced the standard of deliberations. Paper reading ended on November 4, 2001 with the impresseive presentation of his well researched paper (on Missing Sikh Prisoners) by Sardar Inderjit Singh who cool-headedly brought forth the piteous plight of the victims of malgovernance and sought administrative propriety to attain welfare of the people. At the close of each session, the respective presidents made erudite observations which were pithy critique of each session.
Very informative, elucidating, thought provoking and learned representations were made by eminent speakers and some of the ladies / 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 Sikh people to get together and cogitate upon the daunting shortcomings in the functioning of most of the Sikhs institutions.
After extensive discussions two resolutions appendix A and B were unanimously passed before the seminar came to a very successful and smooth end.
I am indebted to the members of the IOSS who extended their help and guidance in the smooth conduct of the seminar. Dr Kirpal Singh and Dr Kharak Singh spared no pains to ensure top level participation and deliberations. Bibi Baljit Kaur and Dr Kharak Singh carried out the onerous work of public relations and media interaction. Maj Gen Jaswant Singh raised handsome amount of funds besides ensuring flawless stage / pandal arrangements. Brig. Hardit Singh (retd.) and Sardar Sardul Singh in their usual unassuming way made significant contribution to ensure smooth conduct of the seminar. Maj Gen Narindar Singh, Vice-President and Bhai Ashok Singh, Secretary of the Institute, arranged proper co-ordination in multiple aspects of the seminar.
Various organisations and individuals extended us generous assistance for organising the seminar. I would like to make a special mention of the kind patronage and liberal help extended to us by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (Gurdwara Nadha Sahib), management of Gurdwara Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur, Sector 34 and Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Kanthala, Chandigarh. But for their help smooth conduct of the seminar would not have been easy. I am sincerely beholden to all of them for their gracious co-operation and generous help. I am sure their patronage will always be forthcoming in future too.
The IOSS has published the prominent papers presented at the seminar in this book. Views expressed in these papers are not necessarily opinion of the IOSS. These are of the paper presenters whom I am grateful for their hardwork in writing their learned papers.
Dr Kirpal Singh laboured hard not only in the organisation of the seminar but continued working with unremitting efforts to compile the papers presented at the seminar. His missionary zeal and scholarly diligence supplemented by dynamic commitment and erudite input of Maj Gen Jaswant Singh have brought about the compilation of this anthology.
The IOSS staff — Sardar Kartar Singh, Mr Jaswant and Ms Gurpreet Kaur — carried out their duties in the organisation of the seminar cheerfully and with zeal. They worked hard in the preparation of this book. I appreciate their diligent input and am grateful to them.
Dr Kirpal Singh has made another noteworthy contribution while preparing this compilation. He has written a compact note as introduction to the contents which offers a glimpse of the papers in the anthology. I am grateful to him for this and to the learned paper presenters and speakers at the seminar whose efforts might lead to refreshing solutions to the burning issues concerning the Sikhs.
Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh
August 25, 2002