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Teaching Sikh Heritage to the Youth
– Lessons Learnt –

A Review by Col Amrik Singh*

Author : Dr Gurbakhsh Singh
Publisher: Singh Brothers, Amritsar
Price : Rs 60; Pages : 128

Dr Gurbakhsh Singh, a veteran scientist, has been doing a sterling job in the field of enlightening people, both Sikhs and non-Sikhs, about the core philosophy of Sikhism and teachings of our Gurus as brought out in our Holy Book, and the Guru Eternal, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. In addition to bringing out a number of books on the subject of practice of Sikhism in our day-to-day life, he has been attending and speaking at seminars and inter-faith gatherings, both in India and the western world. His main focus and target have been the youth.

His book Teaching Sikh Heritage to the Youth – Lessons Learnt in two volumes is unique in the sense that practice of Sikhism has been written from practical experience in his interaction with the youth on various occasions and during the Gurmat Chetna Lehr Camps. Most of the articles are related to the discussions with youth. The incidents from other faiths have also been appropriately included to highlight particular points raised during the discussions. The articles aptly bring out the various doubts the youth faces in the practice of Sikhism, especially in answering searching questions from youth of other faiths. There is immense misunderstanding and misinformation about Sikhism and its practice in day-to-day life, both among educated Sikhs and people of other faiths. These articles clarify most of these doubts. Many of my own doubts have been cleared by going through this book.

This book needs to be studied and understood by most of us and the youth in particular. The book needs to be popularized and I recommend that Sikh institutions like the SGPC and DSGMC undertake its free distribution. Sikh parents need to inculcate these lessons among their children beginning from their tender age. For the benefit of wider audiences, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu versions of the book should also be brought out, so that those having difficulty in understanding the English language, are not deprived of the useful information the book carries.

It is an appropriate publication for study both by elderly people and the youth, and is a food for thought for further delving into the practical teachings and practice of Sikh religion, the youngest among world faiths.

It was indeed interesting to note that the typing was a voluntary undertaking by young students, who had benefited from the interaction with Dr Gurbakhsh Singh as his students in school and Gurmat Parchar Camps. While going through this book and pondering over the rich heritage of Sikhs and teachings of our Gurus for leading a life of Chardhi Kala and belief in only one God Almighty, I am reminded of an episode narrated to me by one of my village elders when I was a student in our village Primary School. He narrated the experience of someone known to him, who had visited Germany sometime after the Second World War. In his hotel bedroom, he noticed someone peeing through his room very early in the morning. After a few days, he thought of finding the intruder. He was alert that morning and saw an employee of the hotel peeping by slightly opening the door. On questioning the employee, he conveyed that, he had heard that Sikhs after an early morning bath remember God by reciting the hymns from their Holy Book and that he was curious to see this for himself. The Sikh gentleman felt ashamed of his un-Sikh conduct, especially when people of other faiths had such high regard for Sikhs and teachings of their Gurus. As Sikhs, let us come up to such expectations in order to sustain high regard for Sikhs among people of other faiths.

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ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2007, All rights reserved.