Dr Kharak Singh – An Achiever
Dr Gurcharan Singh*
It was shocking news to hear of the passing away of Dr
Kharak Singh Mann so suddenly. I find it difficult to
find appropriate words which can aptly describe his personality,
qualities of head and heart, and his contributions to
Punjab in general and exposition of Sikh philosophy in
I first met Dr Mann in 1946 but came to know him more
closely since early 1960s when we were neighbors and worked
as colleagues in the Department of Agriculture, Punjab,
at Chandigarh. Dr Mann was trained as an agriculture economist
and had a reputation as an excellent teacher at Punjab
Agriculture College, Ludhiana, before he moved over to
developmental activities in the Punjab Agriculture Department.
Towards the early 1960s when India was facing a serious
crisis of food shortage, he worked in the first pilot
project at Ludhiana which proved that if inputs and credit
were available on time, and if agriculture technology
was effectively demonstrated to the farmers, the productivity
in agriculture could be raised manifold. Later, he worked
in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations Organization where he studied and proposed a blueprint
of agricultural development of Ghana, West Africa.
Dr Mann had a great sense of consciousness of his identity
as a Sikh and as a Punjabi. He had a clear vision of the
problems that the state of Punjab faced. We had lengthy
discussions about how to empower the rural youth –
with knowledge to be able to compete and get their fair
share in the rapid economic growth witnessed in the country.
He was concerned about the problems of apostasy in Sikhs
and feeble efforts made to explain the Sikh philosophy,
the message of unity of God, equality of mankind, and
daily prayer for the welfare of all (sarbat da bhala).
The Institute of Sikh Studies, of which Dr Mann was a
founder member, took up all these issues. A journal of
Sikh studies, of which he was the editor, was started.
It is a journal of repute and publishes articles and –
views of eminent scholars on Sikh religion, economics,
and education. He himself was a giant amongst erudite
Sikh scholars. He wrote, edited, and published a large
number of books concerned largely with the exposition
of Sikh history, and philosophy as given in the Guru Granth
Dr Mann initiated the creation of Guru Nanak Education
Fund solely with the objective of helping deserving rural
students to enhance their capabilities to compete for
high-end positions as scientists, doctors, engineers,
economists, and administrators and to ultimately help
develop the State.
His achievements are far too-numerous to be mentioned
here. His passing away is a great loss to Punjab and leaves
a great void which will be difficult to fill.