How to Restore the Khalsa Image
During May 1992, I suffered a heart attack and was kept under heavy sedation for one week during which I was totally cut off from my surroundings. During this twilight sleep my mind started working and analysing the events of the previous 10 years, the various forces working to denigrate the Panth and how we can meet them. What is the methodology of restoring the Khalsa image and not only celebrate 1999 in a befitting manner, but make the 21st century the century of the Khalsa. The details of the plan were formed in my mind and I went over them again and again. I visualised that my writing and publicising the same would not achieve much.
On 3rd July, 1993, I got a message that the acting Jathedar of Akal Takhat, Prof Manjit Singh was organising a one-day free medical camp at Anandpur Sahib and he would appreciate if I joined it. I thought that I had got the opportunity to put my plan into practice and I wrote down all my ideas in the next 12 hours. On reaching the camp I was really shocked to read on a large placard that this camp was dedicated to the celebration of the tercentenary of the Khalsa in 1999. On meeting Singh Sahib I explained that I had come with the specific purpose of meeting him and discussing Panthic affairs with him. At the outset I remarked that this medical camp was an insignificant and too small a venture to celebrate the great event of 1699. I suggested that we could daily have a 1000 free medical camps at no cost at all, if only all the Sikh government doctors in Punjab would be honest and see the patients in the hospitals and stop doing illegal practice. I offered that I would be too happy to join him in addressing first of all the Sikh doctors of Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, and prevail upon them to commence seeing all the patients in the hospital and stop their evening shops. They should consult their books and libraries to solve the difficult medical problems faced by their patients and let each Sikh doctor be an ideal doctor, always concerned for their patients. My repeated entreaties did not elicit any response and I was really surprised. Singh Sahib did not seem to like it, but I insisted that I had come to discuss with him details of my ideas regarding the methodology not only of restoring the image of the Panth but to project the Khalsa as the harbinger of peace and well being of humanity. I learned from Singh Sahib that he was organising a Khalsa March in October 1993 and this would rouse the Panth to celebrate 1999 in a befitting manner. I discussed with him that at the maximum this march would not affect more than 1 million Sikhs who may witness the march of about 100 vehicles carrying at the most 3000 persons, who would be welcomed and feted at 20-40 places between Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib, with great loss of energy and money and hardly any parchar or propagation of Gurbani and Sikh values. I mentioned that by and large Sikhs have no idea of Sikhism and Gurbani, and that not only do we have to propagate the same to 20 million Sikhs, but also to tell the world who the Sikhs are. I discussed that instead he should seriously consider and adopt my suggestion for having a Khalsa march every Sunday or at least the 1st Sunday of the month from every gurdwara of the world. Such a march would be over one kilometre and last only one hour and all participants should recite bani and propagate bani on placards. Jathedar, Akal Takht, should issue a set of Gurbani verses every month so that the essence of Gurbani and its values are taught to all the Sikhs and also to the passers-by. I remember laying stress that he should also announce that the marching Sikhs should not block any road, but move slowly distributing parshad, handbills about Gurbani verses, and each gurdwara should strive to make the marching column as picturesque as possible. There could not be a cheaper and simpler method of following Guru Nanak’s own ideas of propagation. I must have talked with him for a total period of 3 hours. Giani Kewal Singh was with him for most of the time. I gave him my handwritten manuscript with my fervent prayer that he should consider it as his own, and that I did not keep a copy of the same and would never divulge to anybody that I had discussed these points with him. I would write about them only after six months if there was no response from him. I repeatedly mentioned that I was convinced that my writing would not be of any value and I had been harbouring these thoughts since May, 1992. I pleaded with him that he should give a lead to the 20 million Sikhs and address the sangat and not confine himself to the political leaders. He had to resurrect the whole Panth.
Nothing happened. I wrote down my ideas and these were published in Abstracts of Sikh Studies, January 1994; The Sikh Review, Calcutta, February 1994; Spokesman, Chandigarh, March 1994 and Sant Sipahi, Amritsar, April 1994. There was no response. The Panth was, and still is, passing through a wave of depression and inaction. At the suggestion of friends that it may elicit a response now, I am presenting a revised version of the same. In January 1997, I discussed all these points with Singh Sahib Bhai Ranjit Singh. I mentioned to him that he should make an appeal for a corpus of rupees five thousand crores for not only extending help to suffering Sikh families, but also sarbat da bhala. He has now constituted the Sarbat Da Bhala Fund and has appealed for Rs. 101/- or more from each family, but has not set out any guidance or programme for the Panth. It appears that sangat has to rouse itself and commence programmes.
On the Vaisakhi day of 1999 the Khalsa will complete 300 years of its eventful life. We can take genuine pride in our short history. Ours is the latest among the higher religions of man, and it is eminently suited to the modern age of science. Those who have studied this religious system, have wondered why the Sikhs have not made efforts to share their great heritage with the rest of the world, since it is a universal religion for all mankind, and knows no racial, ethnic or geographical boundaries. Its founder, Guru Nanak, not only propounded a new philosophy, but also demonstrated it practically himself and through his nine successors, who also carried the Divine Light, which he had received from the Creator.
Salient Features of Sikhism
Some of the salient features of the Sikh faith, in the Guru’s own words, are briefly recalled below :
i. Concept of God
Ik onkar, satnam, karta purkh, nirbhau, nirvair, akal murat, ajuni, saibhang, gurparsad.
He is the Supreme Being; of eternal manifestation; Creator, Immanent Reality; without fear, without rancour; Timeless Form; Unincarnated; Self-existent; realised by the Grace of the Holy Preceptor.
ii. Fatherhood of God
Tu mera pita tu hain mera mata.
Thou art my Father, Thou art also my Mother.
iii. Cosmology / Cosmogony
Patalan patal lakh agasan agas.
Of nether worlds and heavens has He created many.
iv. Living with Honour
Je jivay pat lathi jaye sabh haram jeta kichh khaye.
If one lives in ignominy, all his gains are illegitimate.
Jin jivandeyan pat nahih, moyan mandi soe.
Those who possess no honour while alive, in death too, foul is their repute.
v. Labour and Charity
Ghaal Khaye Kichh hathon dey, Nanak raah pachhane sey.
He who earns his bread with earnest labour, and gives something in charity, he alone, sayeth Nanak, truly recognises the way.
vi. Cherish Higher Values of Naam
“Nanak duniya Kian vadiaian aggi seti jaal. Eni galien naam visaria ik na chalia naal.”
Nanak, burn into flames such worldly glories, as have caused neglect of Naam, and at departure go not with man.
vii. Scholarship alone is not enough
Parheya murakh aakhie jis labh lobh ahankar.
A scholar who harbours greed, avarice and pride or vanity, should be reckoned a fool.
viii. A parasite cannot be a Guru
Gur pir sadaye mangan jaye taake mool na lagiye paye.
Fall not thou ever at the feet of him, who claims to be a guru or spiritual preceptor, but unwilling to support himself goes out to beg.
ix. The Divine Message is common to all
Updes chahu varna kao sanjha.
There is only one spiritual message which is for all the four varnas, viz., Khatris, Brahmins, Suderas, and Vaishyas. That is, regardless of any distinction for the whole humanity.
x. Immanence of God
Sidak kar sijda man kar makhsud. Jeh dhir dekhan teh dhir maojood.” Let faith be thy obeisance, and such a mind thy aim, as would see His presence in whatever direction it looks.
xi. Entire mankind is one race
Koi boley ram ram koi khudaye. Koi sevai gusaian koi Aallahe......
.... Manas ki jat sabe ekay pahechan bo.
Some utter His name as Ram, others as khuda;
Some serve the Lord of the Universe, others Allah......
Recognise the entire human race as one.
xii. We are neither Hindus nor Musalmans :
Varat na raho na meh ramadana
Tiss sevi jo rakhai nidana
Ek gusai alho mera
Hindu turk duhan nebera
Haj kaabey jao na tirth pooja
Eko sevi avar na dooja
Pooja karo na niwaj gujaro
Ek nirankar ley Ridai Namaskaro
Na hum Hindu na Musalman
Allah Ram ke pind paran.
I do not keep the Hindu fast nor the Muslim Ramadan :
I serve Him alone who is my refuge
I serve the One Master who is also Allah
I have broken both with the Hindu and the Muslim
I do not worship with the Hindu nor go to Kaaba for Haj
I serve Him alone and no other
I do not pray to idols nor say the Muslim Nimaz
I shall put my heart at the feet of the One Supreme Being.
We are neither Hindus nor Mussalmans.
Our body and soul belong to Allah or Ram.
xiii. The game of love
Jao tao prem khelan ka chao. Sirr dhar tali gali meri aao.
Shouldst thou seek to engage in the game of love,
Step into my street with thy head placed on thy palm.
The tradition of martyrdom was unknown in the history or mythology of India before the Guru-period. No such word exists in the vocabulary of Sanskrit or any other Indian language. It was the fifth Nanak who courted martyrdom to teach this lesson. A single case of such supreme sacrifice could perhaps be mistaken as an accident of history. The ninth Nanak confirmed the tradition by offering his head for the cause of righteousness and human rights and freedom of faith, to leave no doubt in the minds of people that martyrdom was an essential component of Sikh tradition.
The Vaisakhi of 1699 was the last lesson from the tenth Master on martyrdom. Simultaneously, he presented to the world the unique form of the Khalsa. After Vaisakhi, the Khalsa went through an unprecedented test of extreme rigour. During the period 1699 to 1705, the young soldiers of the Khalsa army had to confront the forces of the Hill Rajas and the Mughal Empire and many became martyrs. The Guru fully availed of the situation to impart training to the young recruits in the Khalsa organisation. The Guru did not fight these battles to establish a kingdom for himself. His object instead was to see how far the mighty efforts of his predecessors, extending over a period of 200 years, in the game of love, which demanded total commitment, including offer of one’s head, had succeeded, and to put the spirit generated to the service of the downtrodden and carrying out the Will of the Lord. The Guru blessed his two elder sons also along with other Singhs to fight and lay down their lives for the same principles. Thus the Guru completely identified himself with his disciples, just as he had earlier demonstrated by taking the amrit pahul himself from the panj piyare.
The loss of Anandpur Sahib, his entire family, large part of his army, bulk of his literary works, his hearth and home, did not daunt him. Any other mortal would have completely broken down under such extreme hardships and suffering, and written an instrument of surrender. But the Guru did not surrender. Instead he wrote a letter to the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. His famous Zafarnama, the Epistle of Victory, which is a masterpiece of Persian literature, exposes the treachery of the imperial forces, and shows the sky-high spirits of the Guru and his faith in the ultimate victory of the Forces of Truth. He was jubilant because the movement launched by Guru Nanak and nurtured by the succeeding Gurus, involving concerted efforts and unprecedented sacrifices, had reached such a successful conclusion. The spirit of sacrifice and dying for the cause of the weak and the downtrodden, upholding the truth, had been kindled, which would never die. The Guru was extremely happy with the performance of the Khalsa, and almost in an ecstasy, he showered countless blessings, some of which are reproduced below :
i. “Khalsa mero roop hai khas. Khalsa mein haun karon niwas.
Khalsa is my own form. I myself dwell in the Khalsa.
ii. Khalsa meri jaat ar pat.
Khalsa is my own family and honour.
iii. Khalsa mero mittar sakhai.
Khalsa is my dearest friend and constant companion.
iv. Khalsa mero bhavan bhandara.
Khalsa is my dwelling and my treasure.
v. Khalsa mero Satgur pura.
Khalsa is my perfect Satguru.
vi. Atam ras jeh janhi so hai khalas dev.
Prabh meh, mo meh, tas meh ranchak nahin bhev.
Khalsa is the angel that has experienced the spiritual bliss.
Between the Lord, myself and him no distinction is possible.
vii. Sev kari inhi ki bhavat......
Daan diyo inhi ko bhalo, ar aan ko daan na lagat niko.
Mo greh mai tan te man te, sirr lao dhan hai, sabh hi inhi ko.
I favour the services rendered to them (Khalsa) alone;
Service to others does not please me.
Gifts made to them only are approvable;
Those made to others are of no value.
My body,my mind, my head and all the wealth in my house,
I dedicate to them completely.
viii. Judh jite inhi ke parsad......
Inhi ki kirpa ke saje hum hain nahi mo so garib karor pare.
Through their grace have I won the battles......
I owe my all to their grace, otherwise there are
Millions of poor people like me.
The Khalsa earned the above blessings, when it proved itself equal to the challenge spelled out by Guru Nanak.
History of the Sikh people during the last 300 years is full of sacrifices. They are a part of the history of India. Unfortunately, although the Sikhs’ sacrifices constitute 85% of the total sacrifices in the cause of Indian freedom, they are being ignored. From the repression let loose on the Sikhs since 1947, it appears that Sikhism would vanish by the beginning of the 21st century. There are hardly any means at our disposal, by which we can place the true picture before the world. The Bluestar attack was a great setback, and its aftermath still continues. This is indeed one of the climactic events of the twentieth century. The world does not understand its background. However, the truth cannot be denied that while the Delhi Government undertook this army attack after a preparation of 1 to 1½ years, a single Sikh leader prepared 40 to 50 Singhs during the same period. All of them followed the true Sikh tradition, and became martyrs defending Darbar Sahib for three days against the army attack, which employed one armoured carrier, seven tanks, mountain cannons and different kinds of bombs and explosives. Not even one of these brave men surrendered. World history can hardly offer another example of such commitment, valour and fearlessness. It had been hoped that these handful of Singhs would get overawed by the far superior numbers and armaments of the Indian Army, and surrender. These expectations were belied. A comprehensive assessment of the effects of the Bluestar attack is not possible at present. However, it has aroused the curiosity of the people in India as well as abroad. The world eagerly wants to know more about Sikhs and Sikhism.
The above brief account has been given to draw the attention of the younger generation to our great Sikh heritage. We can justifiably feel proud of it. The approaching Vaisakhi of 1999 has raised the question : “What can we offer as a token of gratitude to the Guru for His countless blessings ?” The bani says : “Surrender all your body, soul, and wealth unto the Guru and submit to His Will, thus shall you obtain the Lord.” It is an occasion for every Sikh to think what services and sacrifices have been offered by his family and relatives; to express their gratitude to the Guru for his innumerable blessings. Everybody cannot become Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Baba Ram Singh, Sant Attar Singh, Bhai Vir Singh, Professor Puran Singh, Bhai Lachhman Singh, Bhai Dalip Singh, Baba Gurdit Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Udham Singh, Bhai Sukha Singh, Bhai Mehtab Singh or Bhagat Puran Singh, Sant Jarnail Singh, Beant Singh (1984), Satwant Singh, Bhai Sukhdev Singh and Bhai Harjinder Singh. But is it not possible for us to make some small sacrifice, or render some service, however insignificant it may be, in the name of the Guru and our people ?
Today we are surrounded by adversaries and we face heavy odds. We are victims of disinformation, vilification and character assassination all over the world. This has a demoralising influence, and has seriously affected our image as a community. It is the duty of every Sikh to make every endeavour to restore the original correct image of the Khalsa. We have to demonstrate that Sikhism is not merely a philosophy, it is a way of life in perfect harmony with the Altruistic Will of the Lord. It is what Guru Nanak calls the “game of love” which demands total commitment and sacrifice. It is only the Sikh character and conduct which can bring about universal understanding and ascendancy of the Khalsa. For spreading the message of the Khalsa and to improve the image of our community, the writer ventures to make a few practical suggestions, for consideration and adoption by the Khalsa, in the following paragraphs.
Khalsa 1999 Deposit Account
Every Sikh who has a bank account, should open another account in his / her name, e.g., “Manjit Singh, Dalbir Kaur, Tejwant Singh Khalsa 1999 Account”, in which the maximum possible amount should be deposited, taking into consideration all members of the family and the amount of tithe (daswandh) due during the last 50 years. The intention is to make an offering to the Guru in this fund. On this basis there should be about 100,000 Sikhs in a position to offer Rs. 100,000/- each in the Guru’s cause. In fact there should be at least 1,000 Sikhs who can afford between Rs. 200,000/- and Rs. 1,000,000/- or even more. In this way the Panth can have at its disposal Rs. 2,000/- – 3,000/- crores for collective projects to be formulated for all states in India, and all countries abroad, wherever there is a population of Sikhs. Information on the collections made can be gathered and made available at a central place for planning purposes. This will take the form of a movement, and people will begin to think of projects and determine priorities. Some of these which appear urgent, are listed below :
Gurmat Academy or University
The Shahid Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar has produced some top scholars of Gurmat and missionaries. The Sikh population is now estimated at two crores, and there are thousands of gurdwaras the world over. For these we need qualified missionaries, well-versed in Gurbani, Sikh history, world history, philosophy, and study of comparative religions. We need to train at least 500 such missionaries every year. All the existing missionary colleges like the Shahid Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar; Sikh Missionary College, Ludhaina; Gurmat college, Patiala; Gurmat Maha Vidyala, Guru Ki Kanshi, Bathinda; Gurmat College, Chaunta Kalan, Ropar; Missionary College, Buddha Jaurh; Guru Granth Sahib Vidya Kendra, Chandigarh; etc., can be affiliated with the proposed Academy. All these institutions can take up plans for their expansion, and should have students’ hostels, residences for teaching staff, libraries, etc., and provision for stipends that would attract talented students. These missionaries will bring about a new life among the Sikh community and carry the message of Sikhism to all corners of the world.
This academy or university will also undertake translation of selected bani in all recognised languages of the world. There are several Sikhs who have a good command over foreign languages, but are not adequately acquainted with Gurbani. Some of them can be selected for training and work as missionaries in foreign lands. We immediately need missionaries who know Bengali, Tamil, Arabic, German, French, etc.
Sikh Missionary Centres
Outside India, there are several big Sikh gurdwaras where these centres can be established. It would be necessary to appoint lecturers and professors on attractive scales of pay, who can take up missionary work at these Centres. They can also organise teaching work at various universities in Sikh Studies. For a start there may be only one Centre in a country. Gurmat Seminars and Gurmat Camps at different places can be planned from this Centre. These Centres should also maintain computerised information about all Sikhs living in the country. Sikh literature should reach every Sikh home through these Centres. There is need for such Centres in and outside Punjab in different states of the Indian Union, where the staff should be able to impart information on Sikhism in the local language of the state. Production of literature in the respective languages should also be the responsibility of the Centres.
Use of Print Media
In the present age of television, children in most homes occupy themselves with VCR films and video games, and the ladies are busy with their kitty parties. Thus there is hardly any time for the parents to educate their children in Sikh traditions, Gurbani or our rich heritage. Even many elderly persons sporting Sikh form are completely blank as far as the knowledge of basic doctrines of Sikhism is concerned. They are often found talking against Sikh way of life or the Sikh Rehat in parties. Education psychology tells us that children grasp only what they learn with their own efforts. The effect of lectures by teachers does not last very long. If we want our children to understand the Sikh thought, the correct way is to provide the right kind of religious magazines in the house. Sikh parents spend thousands of Rupees to educate their children in expensive public schools. It is, however, difficult to persuade them to spare a relatively small amount of money to subscribe to religious magazines. This task needs to be taken up as a movement, so that every Sikh subscribes to the following magazines to provide a favourable environment in the house for school-going children. There can be no better way of propagating Sikh values.
i. The Sikh Review : 116 Karnani Mansion, 25 A Park Street, Calcutta - 700 016. Subscription for 15 years : Rs. 1100/-, or £ 180/0, or $ 280/-.
ii. The Spokesman : Jagjit Publishing Co. Ltd. 602, Sector 10-D Chandigarh - 160 011. This paper was started by late Sardar Hukam Singh in the year 1951 as India’s first Sikh newspaper in English.’ Now it has been taken over by M/s Jagjit Publishing Co. Ltd., Chandigarh. At present the paper is being published as monthly magazine, fully illustrated with colour pictures and printed with the help of the latest printing technology. Its weekly edition will be out very soon. But the Public Limited Company, which owns the paper now, plans to convert it into a daily paper. The monthly magazine is a must for all Sikh homes. Annual subscription Rs. 140/-, life membership Rs. 3,000/-, Patron Rs. 10,000/- for India, and $ 35/-, $ 650/- and $ 3,000/- respectively for outside India.
iii. Sant Sipahi : Master Tara Singh House, 4313, Ranjit Pura, P.O. Khalsa College, Amritsar, 143 002. Subscription for 15 years : Rs. 1,000/- inland and Rs. 6,500/- abroad.
iv. Sikh Phulawari : 1051, Kucha No. 14 Field Ganj, Ludhiana 8. Subscription for 15 years Rs. 500/- inland and Rs. 4,000 abroad.
v. Abstracts of Sikh Studies : 959, Sector 59, SAS Nagar, Chandigarh 160 059. Annual subscription Rs. 100/- inland and Rs. 500/- abroad, life subscription Rs 1,500/- and Rs 7,500/- for outside India. This is a quaterly research journal of the Institute of Sikh Studies. This is a must for understanding the basic doctrines of Sikhism and current academic issues.
Sikhs living in India can ensure with a meagre investment of Rs. 7,500/- that their children take genuine pride in the Sikh faith. Every reader should propagate this view vigorously among his friends and relatives, so that circulation of each of these magazines soon rises to 100000. This expenditure could be met from the Khalsa 1999 Deposit Account. In fact this should be the first charge on this account. This is the simplest way of establishing five large publishing houses, which would have a sum of 11 crores (The Sikh Review), 30 crores (Spokesman), 10 crores (Sant Sipahi), 5 crores (Sikh Phulawari) and 15 crores (Abstracts of Sikh studies). All these five journals would automatically produce world class literature on Sikh philosophy, history, and current affairs, available to both Sikhs and non-Sikhs. All retired Sikhs should undertake to propagate this venture.
A National English daily newspaper
Need for such a paper is recognised by all Sikhs. In case the movement for Khalsa 1999 Deposit Account picks up, launching of such a newspaper will not be a problem. Sikh young men and women should accept this challenge as a duty towards the community and the Guru and prevail upon the Sikhs to become life members of these five journals before the end of 1999.
Hospitals and Health Activities
– International Standard Blood Banks : The movement for blood banks has not made much headway in India. In the UK every patient can get as much blood as required. The friends and relatives do not have to be asked to donate blood on an emergency basis. There every healthy person between 17-55 years of age donates blood 4 to 20 times. As a result they always have a surplus of blood with them. In our country the Khalsa should strive to achieve a unique distinction in this area. Four major Blood Banks should be established, one each at Amritsar, Ludhiana, Delhi and Bombay. The Sikhs of UK, USA, Canada and Thailand can undertake to set up such banks. This should be done as early as possible. In India a vigorous campaign should be mounted for blood donation among Sikhs. In the beginning each bank should aim at producing 10,000 units per month. The Sikh blood should be free for everybody. These four banks can have their branches in other cities. At these places there should be machines for separating the various components of blood and for production of blood plasma in the form of fresh, frozen state or powder. Every unit should be guaranteed to be free from infections like AIDS or other diseases. Blood of Khalsa should be available at all times for the benefit of all human beings. The writer wishes to appeal to Sikh doctors outside India to take up this programme and make it a success.
– International Plastic and Orthopaedic Centre : This should be established at Tarn Taran for the treatment of patients of leprosy.
– Guru Nanak Memorial Leprosy Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre : This high level Institute should be set up at Puri, with branches at various places. The aim of this project should be complete eradication of leprosy from Eastern India. This programme will be welcomed by all. The World Health Organisation (WHO) might help in a big way. Sikh doctors in the USA should take the lead in this venture.
– Treatment of cancer in Punjab : Rapid advances are taking place in the treatment of cancer. Creation of a top level hospital takes a long time, because of paucity of qualified staff. In the beginning we can help the Mohan Dei Oswal Cancer Hospital at Ludhiana. Canadian Sikhs may be requested to provide one latest model cobalt machine. Additional equipment worth Rs. ten crores may be expected from Thai Sikhs. Sikhs in Malaysia could be asked to arrange a fixed deposit of Rs. one crore. Interest on this amount would be used for financial assistance to patients.
– Dormitories for attendants and patients : Over 65% of the population in Punjab lives in villages, where medical facilities are only nominal. When they come to towns for treatment, their biggest problem is lack of accommodation. In every big town there should be a serai or dormitories attached to a central gurdwara, where the patients as well as their relatives attending them could stay. Such a project has been taken up at Gurdwara, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Sector 15, Chandigarh. Progress is, however, slow for want of finances. Cost of one such serai with adequate facilities is estimated at Rs. 2 crores.
– Teaching of Punjabi in Gurmukhi Script : At least 70% of our people cannot read or write Punjabi. Most of them are completely illiterate, so that it is difficult to take any project to them. Those who cannot read Gurbani, know very little about the teachings of the Guru. This is the reason why the influence of Brahminism is on the increase among Sikhs. Tantric practices and visits to tombs and mandirs by Sikhs are not uncommon. Teaching of Punjabi in Gurmukhi script should be taken up as a crash movement. This task should receive the attention of the Sikh Student Federation on a top priority basis. A large number of granthis are available in villages, because the demand for Akhand Paths has made this occupation quite lucrative. These granthis should be persuaded to enrol in the two year correspondence course offered by the Sikh Missionary College at Ludhiana. They should also take up Gurmukhi classes in the local gurdwaras.
– Residential Public Schools : The Panth needs at least ten schools run on the lines of the Akal Academy at Baru Sahib in Himachal Pradesh.
– Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council : One such Council is now functioning at BF-33, Tagore Garden, New Delhi - 110 027. More such institutions are needed. Want of funds should not be a constraint on their activities. Funds available in the Khalsa 1999 Account should be utillised for this purpose to the extent required. Similarly for other worthwhile projects it would not be necessary to go from door to door for collection of funds and waste valuable time.
The Blessing of Amrit
Without Amrit a Sikh is incomplete. The Guru says, “Rehanni rahe soi Sikh mera, oh sahib main uska chera.” (He alone is my Sikh, who follows the prescribed Rehat or code of conduct. Nay, he is the master, and I am his disciple.) Since the Rehat starts with Amrit Pahul, we should so plan as to have every Sikh become a Singh with Amrit by end of the end of year 1999.
Khalsa Sports Academy
Sikhs used to dominate sports in India before 1947. Winning medals by keshadhari Sikhs during olympics would project the Khalsa image. The Academy should concentrate on athletics, hockey, football, and cricket initially. Let us aim at Sikh athletes winning medals during the 2004 Olympics.
Hockey stadiums : Keshadhari Sikhs used to be the life and spirit of the national hockey team. It is alarming that now there are hardly any Sikhs in the Indian team. It is necessary that we have several astroturfs in Punjab so that we can win glory on the world hockey stage.
Weekly (Sunday) Khalsa March
Since 1982, we have been victims of disinformation and misrepresentation. We have done very little to highlight the universal message of Guru Granth Sahib and richness of the Sikh tradition and history. We can no longer afford to look to the central organisations. It is the duty of every Sikh brother and sister to become a missionary of Sikhism. One simple way of doing this is to organise a nagar kirtan or Khalsa march from every gurdwara on every Sunday, for one hour over a distance of 1-2 kilometres. This is an activity in which all the two crore Sikhs can participate, and which will bring about solidarity and infuse a new spirit of hope and charhdi kala. Every participant in this procession should carry a placard with a selected Sikh doctrine written in the local language. One of the verses translated in the beginning of this article or hundreds of others could be adopted for this purpose. Every Sikh, unless he is invalid or hospitalised, should join this march. This will go a long way in conveying to the world community the message of the Gurus and the concerns of the Khalsa Panth.
The above views are offered for serious consideration of every Sikh and collective adoption by the community. This is a practical programme which will rehabilitate our self-respect and restore the pristine image of the Khalsa. This is also the way to move to the centre-stage of the world. Our slogan : Make The 21st Century, The Century Of The Khalsa.