On the ISC Front
The ISC continued to make headway during the quarter ending June 2007. Major activities/events are reproduced below:
Annual General Meeting (AGM) 5th May, 2007
This AGM was held in the very modern Convention Hall of the Shivalik Public School, Phase-VI, Mohali, by kind courtesy of our honoured member S. Devinder Singh Bedi. He is the Director of the Shivalik Education Society and has distinguished himself in the field of education.
– Dr. Kharak Singh welcomed the members by his words of wisdom. He also urged the SGPC and DSGMC to sponsor a standard translation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib by a group of Sikh scholars. Once funds are allotted (approximately One Crore), the IOSS will undertake this vital project and see it through. We also need to tackle the problems faced with regard to the authority of the Akal Takht Sahib and also the Dasam Granth. We feel that SGPC needs to tackle these probelms with maturity.
– Lt. Gen. Kartar Singh then reviewed all events and projects that had taken place in the last one year since the last AGM held on 9th April, 2006. These had already been published in various ISC news letters posted to members/posted on our website, and also in the quarterly magazine of the IOSS namely Abstraet of Sikh Studies. He appealed to the members to subscribe this very interesting magazine edited by Dr. Kharak Singh and his esteemed team of scholars.
Lt. Gen. Kartar Singh assured Members that the security and management of the GNEF has been assured by framing foolproof rules which were read out and later passed unanimously by the house.
He also informed the good news about the grant of exemption from Income Tax Under section 12A of the IT Act to the ISC. It was, therefore, decided by the Interim Executive Committee to keep the GNEF as a separate fund within the ISC to be administered by six life members and five additional members to be nominated later by the EC as the GNEF accumulates more funds.
He further announced the plan to launch a television channel in the near future to enable it to communicate the Sikh ethos, Punjabi culture and literature, history and the sacred contents of Guru Granth Sahib.
Gen. Kartar Singh then read out the names of members, who, in the last one year, had rendered exceptional services to society:
i. Dr. Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, Ex VC, PAU, and Chairman, Punjab Farmers Commission, awarded Padma Bhushan by the President of India for outstanding services.
ii. Dr. Gurmit Singh, Ex Secretary General, Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, Ludhiana, awarded “Shan-e-Punjab International Award 2006-07” for lifetime devoted service to society for 35 years. This was awarded by ‘Alag Shabad Yug International Charitable Trust’ at Ludhiana on 30th Dec, 2006.
iii. Dr. Harnam Singh Shan, noted Punjabi scholar and author, appointed Professor Emeritus of Sikh Studies by the Punjab University, Chandigarh in 2006. He was also awarded ‘International Dashmesh Award’ by an NRI organisation named as ‘Khalsa Darbar’ for year 2007 at Los Angeles, USA.
– Sardar Bahadur Singh from Washington State, USA, also addressed the members. He is a devoted member of the Ludhiana Chapter of ISC and has helped in the enrolment of NRI Sikhs. He spoke about the existence of Gurmat Prachar Societies in the USA and their good work. He pledged to work for the ISC.
– S. Sukhdev Singh, a devoted member of the ISC is dedicatedly working towards the uplift of Sikligars and Vanjaras in Punjab and other provinces of our country. He outlined the miserable plight of these communities and exhorted all members to contribute to their uplift and education. His was indeed an inspiring talk and motivated members to help such needy sections of society and also bring them back into the Sikh religion wherever necessary.
– Presentations were then made by Dr Sardara Singh Johl, Dr Charan Kamal Singh and Giani Harinder Singh as Heads of our various Advisory Councils. These were brilliantly spelt out and very comprehensive. The gist will appear on our Website.
– S. Gurbachan Singh Makin spoke about the problems faced by Sikhs in Punjab today. S Gurpreet Singh talked about the launch of the Sikh Samaj Sudhar Committee and the oath taken by five young Sikhs to launch a 'Sudhar Lehar' soon to correct the various schisms that have crept into Sikh Society.
– Sardar Mohinder Singh, a devoted member of the ISC and also office bearer of two major Sikh Organisations in Chandigarh recently visited Hazoor Sahib. His experience there was shared with the audience. He strongly feels that our Gurdwaras are not utilising land allotted to them effectively and advised the ISC to work out Blueprints in this regard to modernise the concepts of land use by Gurdwaras all over India.
Local Chapters of ISC
For better results, it is necessary to organize the Primary members into local chapters. The Constitution provides for this with 10 or more members. A beginning has been made with Ludhiana and Delhi. The former has made a very promising start.
S Karamjit Singh Aujla gave a very impressive narration of the sterling work being done in Ludhiana district by our members. Helping needy students and sponsoring self-employment by students, who have graduated or have no resources to study further, are some of the projects being launched in the countryside. They have also launched a magazine Seva Lehar.
The Delhi Chapter is making headway, thanks to the efforts and hard work put in by Sardar H S Phoolka, a leading advocate of the Supreme Court. This chapter is expected to play a leading role in the programmes of the ISC. It has already three coaching centers in rural areas of Punjab. It has eminent personalities, like Sardar Patwant Singh, as members. Efforts are afoot to organize chapters at Amritsar, Jalandhar, Patiala and Sangrur. We are hoping that members at other places will also set up local chapters.
Guru Nanak Education Fund
The resolution for this Fund was introduced by Dr. Sardara Singh Johl on 4th Dec, 2007, during the visit of Justice Mota Singh, QC, to our HQ in Chandigarh from UK. Both dignitaries head our Advisory Councils on ‘Education’ and ‘Diaspora and Legal Affairs’, respectively. The immediate aims and objectives of the Fund are as under:-
a To uplift education in the rural areas of Punjab and strengthen its base right at the primary level.
b To provide coaching facilities to XI and XII class students of rural schools, so that they may successfully compete with their urban counterparts in various competitions. Lack of resources, infrastructure and low caliber of teachers has handicapped rural students all these years and we need to quickly balance this.
c To allot scholarships to bright selected needy students who have the potential for higher performance in technical studies and research.
Beside these, we have long-term aims which will come into play as the GNEF builds up into a Billion Dollar fund. However, we must thank the members who immediately responded to our call for funds on the day of the launch. We, therefore, thank the following members for their contribution to this noble cause:
Dr. Kharak Singh Lt. Gen. Kartar Singh
Dr. Amarjit singh (UK) Dr. S. S. Johl
S. Dilawar Singh Dhutt (USA) Bibi Dr Birendra Kaur
Justice Ajit Singh Bains S. Sajjan Singh Bhangoo
Dr. Atamjit Singh Dr. Gurcharan Singh Kalkat
Bibi Satinder Kaur Dr. Tejpal Singh Chawla
Justice Bakshish Kaur S. Baldev Singh Gill (UK)
Dr. Kirpal Singh Bibi Baljit Kaur
S. Kundan Singh Col. Amrik Singh
S. Pritam Singh Kohli S. Gurbachan Singh Makin
S. Mohinder Singh Chana(UK) Justice S. S. Grewal
S. Sukhdev Singh S. Ujagar Singh Kumbra
Lt. Col. Parminder Singh S. Amarpreet Singh Aujla
Col. Pratap Singh Bajwa
A few more members have also pledged to contribute generous amounts and we hope to be able to finance needy students and also open coaching centers for XI and XII class students in rural areas of Punjab. In fact, we have already set these projects into motion.
Considering the role this Fund is expected to play in education and progress of the community, it is hoped that all Sikhs will contribute liberally, and put their daswands in this Fund. The Jews did it with remarkable results, why not Sikhs?
This is the first project under the Guru Nanak Education Fund. In order to compensate for the lack of quality education in rural areas, it is proposed to set up a network of coaching centers to help the rural students prepare for competitive examinations for admission into institutions of higher learning. A beginning has already been made at Mukandpur in district Nawanshahr.
Coaching Scheme - Mukandpur
We have signed an MOU with the management of ASSM College, Mukandpur (Near Banga). Dr Sardara Singh Johl, Chairman, and Principal Atamjit Singh have gone out of their way to help us start this coaching scheme.
Selection of students is based on Class X results plus performance in monthly tests of our scheme. Strength of the class will depend on the response we get. However, we expect at least 30 to 35 bright students in each center under this scheme to be run for two years. Students will be prepared for various competitions for entry into professional Institutes. The remuneration to be paid to selected teachers and co-ordinators along with cost of teaching material will be fully borne by the ISC. Accomodation will be provided by the ASSM College Management.
Classes started on 17 June, 2007. 27 students have been selected to date. 16 students have obtained over 70% marks and the others over 60% marks. Top quality teachers in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English have been selected by a Board consisting of Lt. Gen. Kartar Singh Gill, Principal Atamjit Singh and Lt. Col. J. S. Multani. Classes will be run for four periods six days a week. Teachers will be paid handsome remuneration and top class teaching material will be made available to students. Fees in respect of students who obtained 70% and over in class X will be totally paid by ISC. We shall charge nominal fees from other students. Teaching material too is highly subsidized.
Coaching Scheme – Khant Manpur
This is similar to the above mentioned Mukandpur Scheme. Students will be selected from a group of rural schools in the area under the management of S. Joginder Singh, Chairman of two schools located at Khant Manpur. We have not yet finalised the arragement for teaching faculty. In case this has to be provided from Chandigarh it will entail considerable expense and will include transportation of Instructors to the site and back. Hence students will have to bear part of the expenses in this scheme as faculty hired from Chandigarh is certainly demanding a higher remuneration. The matter is under negotiation and the Scheme is expected to take off sometime in early July 2007. 50 students have applied out of which about 35 student will be selected and classes started.
Suggestions for more sites for such centers are invited.
Deras in Punjab
The ISC has watched with serious concern the rapid growth of deras in Punjab, particularly the most disturbing activities of the Dera Sacha Sauda. The deras flourish in ignorance of the people. It is necessary to launch crash programmes as well as long-term plans to educate the masses in the basics of the Sikh religion and its rahit maryada. The ISC wants to play a leading role in this movement in cooperation with the SGPC, DSGMC and other Panthic organizations. The Advisory Council for Religious Affairs under chairmanship of Giani Harinder Singh is preparing plans for this task.
Our individual membership has reached 340. However, we expect that all members work towards enrolling atleast 5 to 10 members each in their neighbourhood. In this regard, we need to laud the efforts of Dr Gurbakhsh Singh USA, S Sukhdev Singh of Ludhiana, Bibi Baljit Kaur, S. Gurpreet Singh and Lt Col Jagtar Singh in propagating the ISC wherever they visit.
We have 20 Organisations / Institutions as members. There is a need to spread our wings so as to bring all Sikh societies and registered gurdwaras into our fold. Members’ services in this regard would be most welcome. HQ, ISC is always ready to support your efforts in this regard.
A Peep into the Future
I am sure many members would be already trying to gauge the future of our organisation. Many questions come to mind:
a Will the ISC attract Sikhs from all walks of life as members ?
b Will the ISC achieve the ambitious aims and objectives written in its Constitution?
c Are the Organisers a determined group who will never give up their determination to put the ISC on the world map?
d Will Sikh Institutions like the SGPC accept the ISC as an organisation representing global Sikh community, and work in co-operation with us?
e What will be the total response of the Sikh Diaspora? Will the majority join and support us?
f Will we achieve the stature of a global organisation of the Sikhs in the UNO, and other international forums?
We, in the ISC, are optimists and have full faith in the Guru Granth Sahib. It’s teachings are our solemn guides. Our sincerity will be tested on many coming occasions. If we continue our efforts, as we are doing now, the Guru will grant us success. With worthy members like you as fellow workers, we shall overcome all obstacles and achieve our aims and objectives by sheer dint of hard work, determination and a rare spirit of brotherly co-operation and compassion. So our answer to all the above questions is ‘YES’.
ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2007, All
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