Role of Educational Institutions in Inculcating
This paper explicates the fundamental Sikh moral values,
the religious ground of value-judgment in Sikhism and role
of education in inculcating these values.
Sikh moral values are not only instrumental in, but also
are consequences of spiritual development. In Sikhism, values
like wisdom, truthfulness, temperance, justice, courage,
humility and contentment, etc. Value – Judgment in
Sikhism is based on ‘Gurbani’ and ‘Sikh
Rehat Maryada’ – a guide to Sikh way of life.
As a Sikh, one should obey the following rules:
Invoke God’s Name
Live According to Guru’s advice
according to Guru’s advice prescribes further instructions:
2. Faith in Guru’s bani
3. Compassionate attitude towards other religions
5. Five K’s – A Sikh should always have Five
K’s, i.e., Kes (Hair), Kirpan (Sword), Kachaira (a
special type of Underwear), Kanga (Comb), Kara (Iron Bracelet)
According to ‘Sikh Rehat Maryada’, hair/beard
and turban are an essential part of the external appearance
and personality of Sikh. Hair/beard and turban visibly symbolise
a commitment to Sikhism or Guru’s way of life: love
of humanity, truth, service and sacrifice. Anybody who violates
it, shows that he/she is no more serious about his/her commitment
to Sikhism. But nowadays, nobody is trying to be committed
to his/her community.
There is spread of apostasy among Sikh community. Growing
apostasy is a world-wide phenomenon, not peculiar to any
particular religion. Apostasy in Sikhism is regarded to
cutting and trimming of hair. Use of tobacco and intoxicants
amongst the Sikh is fast spreading. Wearing of caps by young
and even old Sikh against all canons and tenets of Sikhism
is a common sight.
The main cause of apostasy is lack of religious education
and indifference of parents. There is also a section of
society where both husband and wife are working, and have
no time to teach their kids to tie a turban. Such children
when they grow up will not know about Sikhism and Sikh Maryada.
Teachers and preachers themselves are ignorant of Sikh history,
Sikh character, tradition and ethos. The Sikhs are required
to conduct themselves according to guidelines of Gurbani.
The second main cause is the spreading of materialism largely
promoted by the Western Culture.
Sikhism is rooted in strong traditions and sacrifices, and
is not to be wiped away by waves of apostasy. A vigrous
drive is needed to stem the present tide of apostasy. In
A concerted campaign or mass movement at all levels by gurdwaras,
Sikh institutions, colleges and schools, to impart religious
education through special camps should be undertaken as
hundreds of Khalsa colleges and schools have been opened
during the last 90 years with specific purpose of promoting
Sikh ideology and Sikh way of life.
Impact of Educational Institutions
First of all, Indian Sikh educational conference was held
at Gujranwala in 1908. The impact of the achievement of
this movement have been so solid, that many institutions
could take genuine pride in it. The credit for the spread
of education in Sikh Panth, rightly goes to this institution.
The role played by this institution during 20th century
has assured the Sikhs a prominent place among progressive
communities in India and abroad. The education committee
has also directed its efforts towards profession-oriented
education according to the educational needs of the present
Sikh Institutions in twentieth century have played a significant
role in the Sikh learning. There are also a few missionary
institutions to teach Sikhism, in and outside India. There
are also a large number of Khalsa schools and colleges in
Punjab, and Guru Nanak Dev University and Punjabi University
were opened at Amritsar and Patiala, respectively. Punjabi
Language and Sikh literature have been given an opportunity
There seems to be a proposal by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak
Committee, Amritsar to open a new university to promote
Sikh literature and the Sikh way of life. The Sikhs in foreign
countries have opened many Khalsa institutions to impart
academic education along with education about the “Sikh
code of Conduct”.
Majority of gurdwaras are running Punjabi schools throughout
the world. There is a chain of educational institutions
in England, Canada, America, Malaysia, Singapore, Africa,
Australia, Norway and other countries of the world which
promote Punjabi language and Sikh philosophy.
It is encouraging that many Khalsa institutions have been
opened in post-independence era, Punjab. Many Public schools
have started giving good education to students to preserve
the culture and Sikh heritage. The objective of the educational
institutions is not merely teaching the prescribed curriculum
but to develop the personality of the Sikh Youth as a whole,
so that the youth may become proud of their culture and
live an honorable Sikh way of life. It is to inculcate the
sense of knowledge and the cardinal principles of Sikhism
so that the youth can contribute meaningfully to the growth
of Sikh society.
How for has this objective been achieved? No elaborate survey
or research project is necessary to answer this question.
It is enough to walk through any Khalsa college to find
that a student in full Sikh Form is an exception rather
than the rule. There is no religious instruction and hardly
any effort to enforce the prescribed Sikh form. Apostasy
has reached such heights that the in matrimonial columns
of newspapers, youngman unashamedly are advertising themselves
as ‘clean shaven’ Sikhs, which is a contradiction
in terms. Unfortunately, girls also do not lag behind. Some
of them do not feel shy in advertising their preference
for the ‘clean shaven’ breed.
Who is responsible for this degradation ? Our children are
not to blame. We cannot absolve ourselves of our responsibility.
In our homes, we have failed to provide the desired Sikh
environment. The teachers have not discharged their duties.
The students are not imparted any knowledge about Sikh religion,
culture and history. Thus, these institutions which were
created to produce ideal Sikhs have become centres of apostasy.
There is certainly a need for proper Sikh institutions without
which we cannot impart Sikh religious education. It is necessary
to stem the tide of apostasy in these schools and colleges.
– The special camps should be organised in all schools
and colleges to promote the Sikh discipline, the Sikh form
and the Sikh way of life. All institutions must make adequate
arrangements for religious instructions.
– Our community shares another weakness – lack
of reading habit. Reading habit can be inculcated only by
the schools and colleges. Therefore, I wish to request the
teachers in our educational institutions to pay attention
to this weakness.
– The sphere of education is not confined to colleges
or universities. It covers the whole life of man and entire
society. There is a need for literacy campaign with a target
of 100% literacy.
Therefore, propagation of Sikhism should be an essential
part of education in Sikh institutions. Sikhism is a future
religion of the world. It is the religion of Ik Onkar, who
created the Universe, who is immanent in it, and who is
happy to look after this creation. This religion looks at
man as His own spirit and helps him to recognize his own
origin. Through the worship of ‘fearless’ and
‘without hate’, it preaches these divine virtues,
which enable man to view the entire human race as one. Sikh
educational instititutions must propagate Sikhism.