Teaching Sikh Heritage to the Youth
– A Challenge taken up by Satnam Sarb Kalyan Trust
Dr Gurbakhsh Singh*
A really great service is being done by many unassuming
Sikh organisations away from the glare of media and world
of publicty. They are helping kids to learn human values
of life and their heritage. They are holding evening classes
for teaching gurbani and Sikh history to the students even
at village level, conduct annual gurmat camps, run summer
gurmat schools during vacations, hold gurbani recitation
I was told that there are more than 200 teachers of Sikh
heritage providing free religious education to the cooperating
schools by a Sikh trust based in Chandigarh, it took some
time for me to believe. I quickly imagined an organisation
with a huge infrastructure with a vast hierarchy of teachers
and the huge amount of money needed in its coffers. On knowing
the details regarding the Satnam Sarb Kalyan Trust (Regd),
1078/2, Sector 39-B, Chandigarh. I could recollect its past
I knew Bhai Jiwan Singh Ji, its patron, since my student
days at Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, when he
was one of the favoured keertania Sikhs with Bhai Randhir
Singh Ji (Founder Akhand Kirtani Jatha). His prem and devotion
and his ability to recite all sabads orally and correctly
impressed everyone; his stamina for singing keertan whole
night was well known to all.
Earlier in Vancouver (Canada), Bhai Jiwan Singh had mooted
the idea of Khalsa school there and agreed to support it
financially by giving the sabad offerings made to him by
the community for the school. The author joined as the first
Sikh heritage teacher of the Khalsa School, Vancouver, when
it was founded in 1987. The Satnam Trust further progressed
to form the first Sikh cooperative bank and later it was
followed by Satnam Sarab Kalyan Trust.
A folder of the Trust explains the results of services rendered
by their staff. The Trust started selecting scholars and
appointed teachers in 1995. With the basic funds provided
by the Sikhs abroad and strengthened by the local Sikhs,
the Trust now serves 300 schools with additional help of
About one lakh students have benefitted so far from the
services rendered by the Trust during 1907-2008 and 200
students learnt to sing sabads. The fundamental objective
of the Trust is to remain in touch with the students during
their stay in the school.
1. Activities of the Trust
a. 75800 students of 223 schools are being taught Gurbani,
Sikh history and Sikh code of conduct as approved by the
b. 3315 students in 14 schools are being taught Gurmat Sangeet
in original Ragas.
c. Every student is taught Gurbani, Sikh history and kirtan
at least for 3 days in a week.
d. Exhibition to promote Sikh sarup and Sikh values is held
in every school for one week in a year. This has helped
them tremendously to remain sabat surat and feeling proud
of their Sikh identity.
2. Teaching Aids
Gurmat books are printed and distributed free by the Trust
for students of classses 1 to 10 based on the syllabus for
the last five years. This has tremendously improved the
understanding of gurbani and Sikh history by the students.
3. Amrit Sanchar
Students are made aware of the importance of Amrit as a
result of which 1200 to 1400 students become Amritdhari
Trust lays special emphasis on the importance of “Kesas”
as per the tenets of Sikh religion and student are persuaded
to be “saabat surat”. About 3000 students have
accepted this advice.
4. Gurmat Competitions
Trust organizes Gurmat Competitions every year at the Zonal
level to inculcate competition as well as fellowship among
students. Subjects covered are Gurbani kanth, kirtan, lectures,
kavishari, poetry, turban tying and painting competitions,
drug abuse and environmental protection.
5. Career Guidance
Career Guidance camps are held for students of class X to
class XII at zonal level where children are made aware of
different career options available to them. They are guided
by retired officers to choose appropriate careers commensurate
with their aptitude.
6. Management of Trust
It is under the control of educated, experienced and senior
retired officers. They are assisted by two Programme Managers
and 7 Supervisors.
Highly professional faculity with higher pay is being recruited
to help the students to get better coaching in English,
Math, Science and Computer Studies so that they can get
admission in professional Colleges.
The Trust deserves full cooperation and maximum financial
assistance from the Sikhs interested in the value based
teachings and propagating the message of gurbani to Sikh
The services rendered by these organisations gives the satisfaction
that Sikh Panth is alive to the new challenges of the twenty
first century. May the number of such organisations increase.