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On the ISC Front

Lt Gen Kartar Singh

The Organisers of the ISC meet regularly to discuss ways of spreading our message to members, enrolment of more members, evolving new projects in spheres, such as, Religious and Social Affairs, Legal Affairs, Educational uplift in rural areas of Punjab, identifying needy students with potential for higher education and holding discussions on any points put forth by our Diaspora through E-mails, letters and tele-communication.

EC Meeting Held On Aug 8, 2007
While welcoming members of the EC and other attending members Dr Kharak Singh, our Convener, stressed the need to step up ISC activities in all spheres so that we can really contribute towards supporting the activities of our various Sikh Organisations. We would like to enhance their usefulness. He stressed the important roles of our Advisory Councils (ACs), which are constantly acting as think-tanks for Sikh Society and devising projects towards this end. He lauded the role being played by Dr S S Johl, who heads the ACs on Education and Economic Affairs. Dr S S Johl’s sterling role as Chairman of the ASSM College at Mukandpur, a rural College, for the last one decade has resulted in the total upliftment of standard of education in the Banga belt of the Nawanshahar District. As a result of his initiative, we too have set up a Coaching Centre at Mukandpur to prepare students of Classes XI and XII for various Competitions for entry into provincial / national professional Colleges and IIT’s.

Progress of Guru Nanak Education Fund (Gnef)
The ISC had launched the GNEF in Dec. 2006 during the visit of our respected Justice Mota Singh, Queen’s Council and Chairman of the AC on Diaspora and Legal Affairs. The GNEF aims at ensuring that no Sikh deserving student remains deprived of pursuing higher studies due to lack of monetary resources. It also aims at uplifting the level of School and College education in the rural areas of Punjab. This is the need of the hour, as the findings of a panel of educationists highlighted during a seminar held at the IOSS and the ISC. The panel described the situation as alarming and gave a clarion call to the Government through the ISC and also to various Sikh NGO’s and Organisations to give their full attention towards finding remedies to this situation most urgently.

Coaching Scheme At Mukandpur
As a result of the above, the ISC got going and selected Mukandpur as a Coaching Centre. This was of course mooted by Dr S S Johl and quickly researched by the ISC and adopted. Lt Gen Kartar Singh Gill and Col Jagtar Singh Multani, with the generous help received from Dr Atamjit Singh, Principal ASSM College, started the project. Advertisements were sent out along with pamphlets to the surrounding villages for volunteer students who had passed Class X with over 60% marks. As a result, we got 30 students who were keen to join in and also had potential. A majority of them had passed with over 70% marks in the tenth class examination. A search for capable Professors / Teachers was most fruitful and we had the Coaching Centre going in full force by June 17, 2006. This was indeed an achievement. Today after five visits to the Centre, we are indeed proud that the teachers, students and their parents have joined in to set high standards. We, in turn, are acquiring special Coaching syllabus from sister Organisations to raise the standard of coaching. Classes in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English which are run for three hours daily, six days a week. This will go on for two years so that students are fully prepared to sit for various competitive examinations with full chances of success.

Khant Manpur Near Morinda
A similar scheme has been initiated here as well and we will be able to report its progress in our next newsletter. Response from students is excellent but we are experimenting with the appointment of local School Teachers starting Coaching classes with guidance from the ISC with regard to syllabus to be taught.

The Deras Issue
We at the ISC are alive to the situation arising from the clash between devoted Sikhs and followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda. We are trying to obtain full information about the major Deras in Punjab with regard to their activities. This will be followed up closely by our AC in Religious Affairs so that the Sikh sangat is fully informed about the activities in these deras. We find that some deras, which have adopted Sikh Maryada in it’s true from, are an asset to society and need to be guided by an umbrella Sikh organisation. Our efforts will be directed towards achieving this.

The Turban Issue
This has certainly been a very disturbing factor, and the ISC and its AC on Diaspora and Legal Affairs with Justice Mota Singh heading it, have been continuously tackling it in various ways. Some of our members such as S Anup Singh, S Gurpreet Singh and Bibi Baljit Kaur have been meeting major Sikh Organisations in the Capital such as the DSGMC and even the Prime Minister. Our HQ has addressed a letter to our Prime Minister in this regard too. We are rather disappointed with the lack of interest shown by our Central Government in treating this as violation of the fundamental rights of the Sikhs. The efforts made in this direction by Sardar M S Rahi are laudable. He is now preparing to appeal to the Supreme Court of India with the financial help from the SGPC and other Sikh Organisations. We wish him success.

Conclusion
We are quite sure that all readers of the Abstracts of Sikh Studies are now fully convinced that the ISC has not only come to stay, but is gaining strength daily. It is therefore their duty to first join the ISC as members and then spread the word amongst their friends and in their adjoining neighborhood. We desire a wide representation of devoted and educated Sikhs from all walks of life. Seva is a word revered in the Sikh Jagat the world over. Our Gurus taught us to make life’s journey worthwhile by serving others. Then why hesitate – join us and see what wonders we can achieve in setting our house in order. Let us ensure that our next generation holds it’s head high and is an enlightened lot, who takes pride in following the teachings of our Gurbani and also zealously guards Sikh identity through thick and thin, not forgetting our sacred motto Sarbat Da Bhalla.

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