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Three Decades of Service
by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle
– A Report –

Gurbakhsh Singh USA*

Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle was founded in 1972 by the enthusiastic and committed students of the government college, Ludhiana to study their great heritage and direct their lives accordingly to benefit from it. Soon, more youth from other colleges from the north India states joined it. The movement has now grown to become a great Sikh institution enjoying great respect all over the world. Not only overseas Sikh youth but adults and Sikh institutions are also interested in the services rendered to society by this organisation. It spreads the universal message of gurbani for welfare of society through unity of humanity and world peace.

The Study Circle aims to build the high ideal character of youth, specially the students and thereby check the spread of growing vices and anti-social attitudes among them. The Study Circle has been successful in creating among students a culture for learning gurbani, reciting keertan, and sharing the gurmat philosophy with others.

The Study Circle has four regional units covering 18 states divided into 54 zones for planning and conducting their activities effectively to meet the needs of the local people:

1. North Region : Punjab, Haryana, Jammu-Kashmir.
2. Central Region : Uttar Pardesh, Delhi, Madhya Pardesh, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan.
3. Estern Region : West Bangal, Orissa, Jharkhand.
4. Southern Region : Maharashtra, Gujrat, Karnatka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala.

In addition, they have their units in 11 overseas countries to share the gurmat message with the world student bodies for mutual understanding and maintaining of peace in the world.

To achieve their great ambitious mission, they have assigned the responsibility of each division to a competent director. Following directorates have been established for this purpose.

Youth Services
Yearly youth festivals are conducted in schools and colleges in which youth participate and compete with each other. Their performance for reciting keertan, giving lectures on selected Sikh historical events and gurmat philosophy are judged. Singing poems reflecting the Khalsa mission and their achievements are evaluated. The participating youth are honored based on their individual performance and team scores. Written tests are held to motivate them to study and grasp the Sikh heritage. Prizes are given at zonal and national level. Regular seminars motivate youth to build good personalities and develop their leadership traits so that they guide more youth to practice virtues, be role models and achievers in their lives.

Educational Training
One-day training sessions for the students are conducted in schools to teach them basic principles of human behaviour and Sikh values to be followed in their schools and homes. Open discussions create a desire to learn more and enjoy being a respectable citizen.

Celebration of the annual Mai Bhago Day inculcates in them a spirit of self-confidence and sacrifice to face odds bravely to maintain peace. Weekly Study Circles are held in schools and colleges to teach the relevance of gurbani to guide them for the modern day living. Units established in educational institutions celebrate gurpurbs to spread the information regarding Sikh heritage.

To make the students feel at home, a welcome function, instead of the practice of hated ragging, is held for the first year students. Needed guidance and information is given to the new comers and they are treated affectionately as younger brothers and sisters. The senior students become their buddies and assist them to provide a learning environment and develop their individual faculties in studies and co-curricular activities. For providing training in community living, the youth are taken out on tours to religious and historical places where they learn about their heritage firsthand and develop a pride of a practicing Sikh. For financial support to the needy students, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Trust has been established by the Circle organizers.

Cultural & Academic Activities
International Educational Conference is held annually in which students from overseas countries take great interest to know their roots, develop feelings of unity among themselves and plan to work together to achieve the Khalsa mission of sarbat ka bhala.

Two Gian Arjun schools, one each in district of Gurdaspur and Patiala, are being run to develop a model for teaching values of Sikh way of life. Gian Arjun summer schools are conducted to teach Sikh heritage and gurbani recitation, particularly in schools outside Punjab. Out of 40 schools in Ludhiana for working children aged from 6 to 14 years, two schools are being run by Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle volunteers. Turban tying teaching center in Ludhiana is a great attraction for youth to learn art of tying good looking turbans. Competitions are held and prizes given to the best turbaned youth. To encourage creative writers, scholars, this wing honours them and publishes their writings. Seminars for the Sikh academicians are held for sharing and discussing various aspects of the Sikhs heritage. Young writers are encouraged to take part in the seminars and learn from the senior scholars.
Social & Health Services

Bhai Ghanaya Sewa International holds free medical camps and arranges functions for eye donations and blood donations are also arranged for the patients. Gurpurbs are celebrated as good health days to provide medicine, blood group checking, cancer checking, etc. Patient Fund has been established to help the poor patients admitted into the hospitals. Birthday of Guru Harkrishan is celebrated as Sewa day to distribute medicines and fruit to the patients.

Lectures, camps, seminars are held to caution the youth against the ill effects of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc. Drug de-addiction education is provided in local gatherings, and anti-drug posters are distributed in rural areas.

Three regular de-addiction centers are being run in Ludhiana, Hospiarpur and Killa Raipur. Allopathic, homeopathic and psychopathic treatment are provided. There is great desire among the drug-addicts to get free from this self-invited scourge which have ruined the lives of many a youth.

A separate Istri Wing has been established to help women students to get involved in the Panthic affairs and contribute their share to spread the message of gurmat teachings among the disadvantaged sections of humanity.

Publication & Information
This directorate produces low cost literature in simple language to provide information on Sikh history, message of gurbani and Sikh Code of Conduct, to meet the needs of youth. More than 100 books and 300 tracts have been published.

To share the information regarding the activities, undertaken by different zones and wings of the Circle, a Study Circle Samachar is published every month. It motivates different units to get hints and guidance from other volunteers to do their best to serve society by holding local functions. Information Technology wing has created computer facilities, internet access and website of the Circle at Central and Zonal offices so that they get connected with the whole world to share their activities.

Slide projectors and LSD projectors are used to educate youth & the Sikh community regarding their unique heritage to give them the pride of their faith. Sada Virsa Sada Gaurav, the Punjabi monthly journal is playing a very useful role in encouraging hundreds of youth to become good writers and thousands of readers to develop love for the Sikh heritage.

Similarly, their other directorates are actively busy in teaching gurbani study and keertan recitation. Thousands of students were motivated to read Sri Guru Granth Sahib, hundreds won very attractive and valuable awards for their efforts. It is not possible to describe all the contributions of the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle made during the three decades in this brief article. During this period, the author has been associated with them. One can only imagine and understand the utility of services performed by them by participating in their functions at local, zonal and national level. Their activities need a full volume to be described for information of the readers.

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