First Day (8-11-2008)
Ad advertised, the Institute of Sikh Studies (IOSS) held today seminar on 'Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh Society". In his inaugural address, Sardar Gurdev Singh, Patron, Institute of Sikh Studies, welcomed the scholars, invited to speak on the subject, members of the audience and gave a brief background of the Institute of Sikh Studies. The inaugural address was to be read by Sardar Saran Singh, Retd IAS and Editor of Sikh Review. Because of his ill health, Bhai Ashok Singh, President, IOSS read the salient features of his paper. Scripture for the common man, Sri Guru Granth Sahib fills up the need of a spiritual guide for all times to come with its spiritual and moral power full of compassion. Congregation worship, rejection of meaningless rituals, and holy life are its essences. Its ideas are not in conflict with science, adequacy of living needs for everybody is also enshrined.
In his keynote address, convener of the seminar, Sardar Pritam Singh, IAS (retd) and former Advisor to Governor Punjab emphasised the need to remain attached with the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, especially ideas of embracing the down trodden. Then only the Father-Mother figure of God will be given practical shape for this Word.
Prof Shashi Bala of GNDU, Amritsar emphasized the cosmopolitan nature of Gurbani and need to carry on interfaith address with other religions as per wishes of Guru Nanak.
Prof Sukhdial Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala emphasised the contents of "Babar Vani" of Guru Nanak. He was the only leader of the day who spoke of tyranny destruction and loot of Hindustan and its residents during Babur's invasion.
Dr Jodhka of JNU, New Delhi, welcomed the questions and internal discussions on the malady of caste-system, which somehow is bringing with us in spite of view of Gurus. With more interaction, urbanization and globalization only this will go and all high or low will have feeling of dignity and human rights.
Bibi Harsimranjit Kaur appreciated Guru Granth's major thrust of writing bani in Punjabi in Gurmukhi script so as to throw away shackles of Brahminical culture and sanskrit language on the common man.
Dr Kirpal Singh says Guru Granth Sahib teaches us equality, denouncing castes and says those who are fit to rule should only rule. Education should be for a purpose.
Sardar Bhagwant Singh Dalawari hit at hypocracy. No need to call ourselves Sikhs or devotees of Gurus unless we follow teachings of Gurus. We should be ambassadors of love and peace for humanity.
Bibi Baljit Kaur stress on Guru Nanak spoke strongly for human rights denounced oppression and recommended dialogue to solve peoples problems.
Bibi Jasbir Kaur Khalsa of Malaysia spoke against foeticide, which in spite of Guru's command is rampant in Sikh society.
Prof Rajesh Gill emphasized action and practices steps to implement ideas of Sri Guru Granth Sahib in our life. Young people should be got interested and invited to understand Sikh heritage. Equality and sewa should be beyond outside Gurdwara tenets and become a part of our life.
Second Day (
Today seminar started in a unique fashion. Subject which is not normally touched were covered. Dr Jagir Singh, Famous Ragi of Chandigarh, who also has a deep knowledge in ragas, he issues a regular magazine Amrit Kirtan, spokes about use of Raga to create mood, situation and season and sing Gurbani according to this as was done by Guru Nanak Sahib ji. Kirtan rides the waves of raags to create impact and influence on human's life.
Sardar Gajinder Singh, scholar and writer, member of IOSS, spoke on the subject of the Sikh tradition. These are specific ideas evolved in Sikhism; One Jot in Ten Gurus, no caste, control of five evils, man has to rise from manmukh to Gurmukh, sewa, humility, respect for women, ardas and becoming a sachiara are special features. Certain terms like amrit, krah prasad, path, ardas are a part of Sikh culture and tradition which have to be honoured.
Dr Gurmit Singh, a Sociologist from Punjabi University Patiala, spoke of Guru Granth Sahib as pivot around which Sikh lives revolves. The aesthetic dimension of bani sung by ragas create the feeling of vismad.
Justice Ajit Singh Bains, A human right activits stated that Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the predeccssor of the human right movement such as given by United Nations. Voice against oppression, tyranny and actual action against such situation was taken by sixth and tenth master's time prove his point.
Dr H S Virk, a Scientist, well versed in Gurbani spoke about many common ideas in Guru Nanak's bani about creation of universe cosmology and variety of life-species which the scientist are now discovering. The Guru with his intuition had made such announcements 500 years ago.
Prof H S Shan, Prof Emeritus, Punjab University Chandigarh stressed the role of Gurbani in educating and spreading Guru's gospel in real life.
Sardar Gurcharan Singh quoted many verses from Guru Granth Sahib which described Anand, the feeling of joy while Gurus and Saints experienced such feelings in their own lives.
Sardar G S Ramgarhia spokes about many contemporary saints who affected Sikh sangat because spontounsily with their utterance certain mircles happened.
Bibi Berinder Kaur spokes about TV/ Film media to be used for influencing young minds. Incidents from Sikh history and model lives such of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur are good examples.
Sardar J S Arshi, an educationist and journalist from Malaysia spoke about the eternal Guru. Guru Granth Sahib contains variety of banis for every occasion from birth to death.
Sardar Santokh Singh, member of IOSS spokes about the similarity of ideas between Sikhism and Islam. He also spoke about damaging effect of Mannuvad, by adopting which Ranjit Singh kingdom was demolished by his sycophants.
Dr Paramvir Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala compared many facts of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. Quoting Bhai Gurdas, he said, the priests have left out essences scriptures and got involved in rituals and money. Guru Nanak's revalence and its pursuit culminated resurgence of Khalsa.
Sardar J S Sethi (USA) in his paper read out by Sardar Gurcharan Singh Sethi discussed the case study of Women in Sikhism. How people are attracted to Sikhism and how they are discouraged by seeing their actual life is a point to be pondered. Another Singh Sabha like movement can bring them forward even in all matters of life including their wish to do sewa and kirtan in Darbar Sahib.