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Unforgettable Dr Kharak Singh

Principal Surjit Singh Gandhi*

He was a gem of a person, calm even mid heaviest of odds, upright even in grave situations, trustful even in an atmosphere of murk and dirt, determined like Mountain Mira. His personal stance was sweetening, harmonizing and smoothing as his social demeanour was fascinating and captivating. Just a tiny sitting with him was to experience stirring, urging one to immediately engage oneself in the service of Guru Panth. He was a veritable elixir who stimulated many like me to commit their lives to the cause of Sikh ideology, which according to him has a potential to shape globalisation on right lines.

Dr Kharak Singh’s whole self was soaked in Guru Shabad and whatever he did or spoke reflected his deep understanding of Sikh religion and his resolve to share it with the whole mankind. To see his convictions widely accepted, he worked very hard. He mobilized Sikh intelligentsia to give a fitting reply to all those people who intended to misinterpret or distort Sikhism, especially its central scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. He made the Institute of Sikh Studies a frontline organization to stem mis-information spread by vested interests. He was the first to forcefully plead for harnessing the media to vividly present Sikh worldview and Sikh way of life. It was mainly at his instance that the SGPC, threw of its hesitation and engaged TV channels to televise live Kirtan from Hari Mandir Sahib. His strivings to get the Nanakshahi calendar accepted by the people, were a testimony to his concern for strengthening Sikh identity. It was primarily because of him that SGPC launched the project of writing history of the Sikhs from Guru Nanak upto date, in five volumes. He drew the blueprint of the project, collected bevy of renowned historians and literati, and inspired them to accomplish the Job as early as possible. He himself took the job of editing. He edited two volumes out of a total of five before he had a call from God. The data for the third and the fourth volumes had been collected.

In the present-day world, when technological advancement has squeezed the world into a sort of a village and there is a large scale interaction between different ideologies, there is a need that Sikh religion should be presented definitively and lucidly. Dr Kharak Singh responded to this challenge instantly. He took appropriate steps. He along with some eminent intellectuals redefined the functions of the existing institutions, created new ones, interpreted Gurbani (compositions of the Guru) in modern context, with the result that Sikhism has been recognized as one of the higher religions.

For all his good works, history is sure to accord him a niche of respect and a place among those who are ever unforgettable. His legacy is rich, all-inclusive, inspiring, heraldic of the new dawn about which he dreamt and aspired for.

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    ęCopyright Institute of Sikh Studies, 2009, All rights reserved.