Vanjara Development Project at Takht Sri Abchalnagar Hazur Sahib
Mohinder Singh & Gurdev Singh
Proceedings of the discussions held and decisions taken in a joint meeting with Dr. Parvinder Singh Pasricha, IPS(Retd.), Chairman, Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib Board, Nanded, (Maharashtra), held on 13th.Nov, 2010, at 3 P.M; in the office of the Sikh Educational Society, Sri Guru Gobind Singh College (Complex), Sector-26, Chandigarh.
The following participated in the meeting :
1. Dr. P. S. Pasricha, IPS(Retd.), Chairman, Takht Sri Hazur Sahib Board, Nanded (MS)
2. S. Jasbir Singh, Advisor to the Chairman Dr.P.S.Pasricha.
3. S. Gurdev Singh, IAS(Retd.), President, Trust for Welfare of Vanjaras & Other Weaker Sections , & President Sikh Educational Society(# 128, Sector-35 A, Chandigarh, Resi. phone: 0172-2600410)
4. Lt.Gen. K. S. Gill, PVSM (Retd.), CEO, International Sikh Confederation, Chandigarh (# 1801, Sector 34-D, Chandigarh, firstname.lastname@example.org
5. S. Pritam Singh Kohli, IAS (Retd.), President, Institute of Sikh Studies, Chandigarh.(#59,Sector19-A,Chandigarh - email@example.com
6. Col (Retd) Jasmer Singh Bala, Secretary Sikh Educational Society, Chandigarh
7. S. Mohinder Singh, G.Secretary, Trust for Welfare of Vanjaras & Other Weaker Sections, Mohali
8. Dr. Birendera Kaur, Member Trustee Vanjara Trust, (# D-151, ELTOP, IA, Pase-8,Mohali; E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org)
9. S Seetal Singh Saini, Member Trustee & Gen Secretary, International Society of Weaker Sections, (# 22-I, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar,Ludhiana, <email@example.com>
10. S.Sukhdev Singh “Laaj”, Member Trustee & Gen.Secty:Guru Angad Dev Educational & Welfare Council (# 167- I, Saraba Nagar, Ludhiana. E-mail;firstname.lastname@example.org).
After formal reception to the honoured guests S. Gurdev Singh, introduced them to each member participants in his welcome address before starting discussions on the agenda points incorporated in the presentation papers already circulated by S. Mohinder Singh. Dr. P. S Pasricha then initiated the discussions by first offering sincere thanks for providing him an intellectuals forum for interaction, broad understandings and also to get himself better informed before the launch of proposed Vanjaras Welfare Project/Academy and working out its modalities. He fully agreed with the importance of such prime project being launched shortly at Nanded. The place is definitely the best site for such project implementation in view of being the most sacred pilgrimage Centre of Sikh faith worshipers & centuries old deep attachment of all sects of Vanjaras and other inhabitations around the adjoining four big Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra, Rajasthan and others. He appreciated the past efforts of S. Mohinder Singh who initially provided background importance of objectives likely to be achieved for the welfare of Vanjaras and other weaker sections after operation of conceived project at such a Nodal centre.
Thereafter detailed discussions were held and with interaction/clarifications among participants under mentioned actions plan was unanimously agreed upon for adoption:
1. On query from Dr.Pasricha, it was clarified that, according to available estimates ,over hundreds of castes/sub-castes of De-notified Nomadic Tribes, constituting over 10 crores of population in India, are clubbed together as Vanjaras. Their categorization for the reservation purpose vary from state to state. But the followers of Sikh faith among them are named as Sikligars, Lobanas, Joharis, Dakhnis, Satnamis & Nanak Panthis etc; & their estimated population is said to be over 2-crores. The exact authentic population data may emerge after completion of General Census-2011.
2. The random survey indicates that over 90% of their population is yet illiterate & without proper housings , no regular employment opportunities & yet living in most un-hygienic city/urban slums.
3. Some “Think-Tank”(Forum)of intellectuals and professionally qualified Sikhs, including some identified Vanjara leaders, may be formed by Hazur Sahib Management to study their problems/ grievances. Such a Forum may form action plan for follow-up Their recommendations may be pursued for solution through a Memorandum to the Government of India/Ministry of Minority Affairs.
4. Over 25-Sikh NGOs are already performing welfare works at certain Tandas out of self-created resources. Their field expertise & feed-back need to be channelized by inviting them for a joint meeting at Hazur Sahib to seek their co-ordination for success of proposed Vanjara Welfare Project . The list of such effective NGOs. & individual missionaries shall be supplied by S.Mohinder Singh shortly.
5. For a successful achievement of defined objectives on long-term basis, the project execution has to be phased out in short priority stages. It is thus advisable to hire the services of some qualified Consultant for planning out project feasibility details; after studying the infrastructure availability/ survey & analyzing existing running schemes status. The stage-wise likely financial lay out with identification of funds availability has to be earmarked. A draft enquiry of term and conditions of notice for calling offers from or direct negotiations with likely consultants shall be prepared by S. Mohinder Singh for convenience & further necessary action at the level of the Chairman Hazur Sahib Board. Alternately the Chairman can call for offers/seek advice from already on job working consultants/contractors already engaged for Sri Hazur Sahib Complex Development at Nanded.
6. The Chairman can also avail benefits under various scheme assistances available with Ministry of Minority Affairs after completion of prescribed formalities. A Sikh minority institution is eligible for grant-in-aid assistances for students study scholarships and building construction/hostel/expansion/ lab/ work shops modernization projects etc; from an autonomous body, Maulana Azad Education Foundation under the Ministry of Minority Affairs. A list of web-sites of Central Government aided Minority Development schemes was supplied to the Chairman by S.Mohinder Singh at the meeting.
7. The registered constitution of Hazur Sahib Trust may be got reviewed for inclusion of objectives of implementation of Vanjaras/Weaker sections welfare programmes & their % age of reservation, if not already incorporated. The institutions running already by the management be got registered as minority institutions from the Central/State Minority Commission to legalize eligibility criteria. It was already mentioned in S. Mohinder Singh’s presentation paper at para No. 3.
8. The Chairman’s appointment of a Central Liaison Officer is commendable. He should be guided to keep regular touch with Vanjara Tandas for disseminating necessary awareness about schemes in operation for their benefits, Advertisement to this effect may also be issued in local press regularly.
9. Some 10th. passed Parcharaks/Missionaries need to be trained among Vanjaras in local language.
10. The Organic Farming is getting global popularity & consumers are preferring organic produces due to health consciousness. The management can seek technical-know-how free from any Agriculture University to promote organic cultivation of vegetables, fruits dairy farming & other agro products A vast fertile/irrigated farm land already is available with Hazur Sahib Management-as confirmed by the Chairman in the meeting . Many Vanjara families are likely to get training & new job opportunities and all produce from organic farm can easily be consumed in Guru-ka-Langars. On long run agro-products processing with cold-chain preservation / packaging plant is likely to develop a new entrepreneurships.
The meeting then adjourned after passing vote of thanks to guests and participants.
Hazur Sahib Vanjara Welfare Project - Follow-up
Dr. P.S. Pasdicha, IPS (Retd.), Chairman Hazur Sahib Board, Nanded, convened a second meeting on 30-11-10, at Bhai Veer Singh Sahit Sadan, New Delhi. It was a follow-up exercise on the subject after Chandigarh meet of 13-11-10. The persons attended this meeting were:
1. Dr. P.S. Pasricha, Chairman Hazur Sahib Board
2. Sardar H.S. Hanspal, Member Minority Commission, GOI, New Delhi
3. Dr. Mohinder Singh, Director, Bhai Veer Singh Sadan, New Delhi.
4. S. Mohinder Singh, Secretary Vanjara Trust, Mohali
He had also invited Sh. Tripathi. Joint Secretary ,Ministry of Minority Affairs, GOI But he failed to attend because of his transfer to some new posting just two days earlier..
On Dr. Pasricha’s request, I briefed the outlines of the proposed project of Vanjara Welfare & the importance of objectives likely to be achieved if it is launched at Nanded by Sri Hazur Sahib Board. All present in the meeting unanimously agreed for implementation of such high valued project at Hazur Sahib Nodal centre because of very high faith attachment of crores of Vanjaras in Nanded periphery states. Sh. Hanspal also stressed for starting initial steps for creating special awareness drive among Vanjara Community under regular campaign. Dr. Pasricha then confirmed to establish a Public Relations Bureau with appointment of some competent officer shortly & also confirmed to invite representatives of 26-NGOs (as per list supplied by S. Mohinder Singh at the spot) for opinion. Dr. Mohinder Singh expressed his willingness to provide necessary guidance.
Dr. Pasricha then expressed his limitations of providing full financial support from Board resources & requested for some proportionate financial assistance from some Sikh Institutions. All including myself plainly showed inability to share financially but suggested to approach for grants from the Ministry of Minority Affairs under the Prime Minister 15-Points Programme. He may also publish appeal to NRIs for their cooperation & donations. I briefly explained the main features of grants eligibility under the scheme of Maulana Azad Education Foundation of MoMA, New Delhi, for minority’s education/ vocational training assistance programme. Dr. Pasricha, then rang up the newly posted Joint Secretary of Ministry of Minority Affairs to seek appointment on next day for further discussions on grant availability for a Minority Sikh Institution Thereafter the meeting adjourned. The outcome of his appointment with the Joint Secretary is not yet known.