News & Views
Seminar on National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill 2010
A day-long conference on National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill - 2010 was organized by Institute of Sikh Studies (IOSS) on September 17, 2010 at its headquarters in Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Kanthala, Indl Area, Phase 2, Chandigarh. This bill in its final shape is likely to be introduced in the Winter session of our Parliament. The IOSS, International Sikh Confederation (ISC) and Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha have taken it on themselves to garner opinion of experienced, educationists such as the Vice-Chancellors (serving and retired), Principals of representative Colleges and educational Institution and other known observers on this Bill. The aim is to provide inputs and recommendations to the state Government and to the Punjab State Assembly to enable them to convey a well considered representative rejoinder to the HRD Ministry’s next move.
To achieve the above a round table conference was arranged on 13th August 10 after an in house brainstorming session. The majority view in this conference attended by Ex-VCs and educationists was that the Bill ran short of concrete measures meeting the urgent needs of the states, In fact the Bill veers towards abrogating the powers of the states. This was clearly spelt out by Sardar J S Ahluwalia, VC of Guru Granth Sahib Univesity, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ex-VCs, Dr S P Singh, Ex-VC, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar and a number of our members and educationists such as Sardar Pritam Singh Kohli, President IOSS, Lt Gen Kartar Singh Gill PVSM, of the ISC, Bibi Baljit Kaur and others. It was the majority view that we hold a whole day seminar for delibrations by legal experts and educationsts from all over Punjab. This was agreed to and we had an extended and very educative discussion on the Draft Bill on August 13, 2010. The following prominent dignitaries participated in the seminar by their physical presence or through papers and comments:
i. Justice Kuldip Singh (retd), Judge of the Supreme Court
ii. Justice Kamaljit Singh Garewal (retd), Punjab & Haryana High Court
iii Justice Bakhshish Kaur (retd)
iv. Justice Tara Singh Cheema (retd) Session Judge
v. Dr S S Johl, Ex-VC, Punjabi University, Patiala
vi. Dr S P Singh, Ex-VC, GNDU, Amritsar
vii. Dr A S Khehra, Ex-VC, PAU Ludhiana
viii. Dr J S Grewal, Ex-VC, GNDU, Amritsar
ix. Dr Rajneesh Arora, VC - Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar
x. Dr J S Ahluwalia, Vice Chancellor, Guru Granth Sahib University
xi. Principal Ram Singh, Chief Organiser, GGSSC, Ludhiana
xii. S Sukhpal Singh Khaira, MLA
xiii. Dr Darshan Singh, Prof Emeritus, PU, Chandigarh
xiv. Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, Punjabi University, Patiala
xv. Representatives of Baba Sewa Singh, Khadoor Sahib College
xvi. S Sukhdev Singh Journalist
xvii Bibi Baljit Kaur, Representative of Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha
xvii. S Gurdev Singh, IAS (retd), President, Sikh Education Society
xviii.Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian, Representative of Chief Khalsa Diwan, Amritsar
xviii.Bibi Kiranjot Kaur, Member SGPC, Amritsar
xix. Lt Gen Kartar Singh PVSM, CEO, International Sikh Confederation
xx. Advocate General G S Grewal, Punjab
xxi. Principal Atamjit Singh
xxii. S. Pritam Singh, President IOSS
The seminar was conducted under the leadership of Presidium comprising of Justice Kamaljit Singh Grewal, Dr S S Johal, Dr AS Khehra, Dr S P Singh, Dr B S Sandu. Dr S S Johl read the lead paper which dealt with very relevant issues generally but more specifically in Punjab’s context. His Paper set the tone as well as guidance for the Seminar.
The Seminar had in-depth deliberations on the Papers/Comment presented by a large number of Constitutional/Legal experts of highest judicial levels; Vice-Chancellors and Ex-VCs, Educationists at the University/ College levels and NGOs managing educational institutions.
The BILL was examined and analysed inter-alias, under the following perspectives:
1. Constitutional provision as per Concurrent List and the specific constitutional provisions as regards Universities, raising issues regarding the respective competence of Central and State governments with regard to incorporation, regulation and winding up of a University .
2. Implications of the Bill as regards Federal Polity leading to centralization of powers.
3. Curbing of the autonomy at the state and university level with consequential adverse outcomes.
4. Adverse implications of piecemeal five legislations for Higher Education Reform.
5. The implications of the sub-optimal structure of Higher Education
6. The implications of the weak ideological underpinnings as regards major expansion of the Higher Education through private investment , an appropriate regulatory mechanism providing incentives for larger investments by the Private Sector
7. The comparative role of Central and Sate govt. as regards expansion of Higher Education and the need for larger transfers of funds to States.
Seminar came to the following conclusion:
1. There is a mismatch between the stated objectives and the provisions in the Bill;
2. The Bill is not sufficiently rooted in academic imperatives and is mainly management focused;
3. National level control is not an ideal solution in a politically federal and culturally diverse country like India;
4. NCHER will be an isolated organization without access to public opinion and feelings; and it will be organizationally inadequate;
5. Imposing VCs in the manner envisaged in the Bill is highly objectionable, amounting to assault on university autonomy and infringement of State’s rights;
6. Accredition needs to be participative and not punitive;
7. The Bill amounts to the assault on the federal structure
The seminar therefore unanimously resolved:
1. that the bill is rejected in its totality for the reasons given above.
2. that Punjab Government be requested to appose the bill in its totality and approach the Punjab State Assembly to pass a resolution rejecting the NCHER Draft Bill 2010.
Dr Kuldip Singh Honoured
Former President of the Institute of Sikh Studies (IOSS), Chandigarh- Dr. Kuldip Singh has not been keeping good health for the last several months. A delegation of senior members of the IOSS comprising of Bibi Baljit Kaur, S. Gurdev Singh, Bhai Ashok Singh, S. Pritam Singh and Col. Amrik Singh called on him at his residence on August 18, 2010. Ardas was performed by Bhai Ashok Singh for his speedy recovery. A citation was conferred on him for services rendered to the IOSS as a member, President and Patron. The citation read as follows:
“Respected Dr. Kuldip Singh ji,
You have had a long and memorable association with the Institute of Sikh Studies of which you remained the President from 1992 to 1998. You have earned lot of fame in the field of medicine because of your qualifications. You are one of the few renowned surgeons for the cure of cancer and you also earned Professorship in this field, which is a rare distinction.
In the field of Sikh Studies you were known for your expertise on Sikh history and steadfastness to the Sikh principles. You used to express your opinions with conviction during the IOSS meetings. You got published and distributed lots of free literature for disseminating the message of Gurmat. You used various charts and photographs to better illustrate the message. You contributed a large portion of your earnings for distributing free Gurmat literature. You have also been very generous towards the IOSS and several other organizations.
You have not been keeping good health for quite some time now and are being cared for devotedly by your spouse Dr. Devinder Kaur ji. We pray to the Almighty for your speedy recovery so that you can carry forward the mission of your life.
All members of the IOSS are pleased to confer this citation on you and pray for your speedy recovery.
Manmohan Singh Most Loved World Leader
New York, August 18. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tops Newsweek Magazine’s list of 10 world leaders who have won respect and is described as “the leader other leaders love” though India figures at 78th place in the list of 100 best countries. Manmohan Singh (77), who is into his seventh year in office, has played a “key role in India’s emergence as one of the rising powers of the 21st century.”
In an article titled “The Leader Other Leaders Love”, the magazine said the economist-turned-politician Singh, engineered the transition “from stagnant socialism to a spectacular takeoff in the global economy.” “But it’s Singh’s unassuming personal style that really inspires awe among his fellow global luminaries, who praise him for being modest, humble, and incorruptible,” the magazine said in the article.
Besides Singh, British Premier David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz al-Saud also figure in the list.
Besides, India is described as the ‘Best Place to Fly a Kite’.
United Sikhs Partners with Law Enforcement Agency to Talk about Sikhs and Sikh Identity
Livingston, California: Thirty police officers of the City of Livingston police department attended an information session on Sikhism and Sikh identity on June 16, 2010. The information session was requested by Livingston Police Chief Doug Dunford, who approached UNITED SIKHS to educate his entire police department about the Kirpan, and other Sikh articles of faith to improve understanding about Sikh Americans.
Mohani Kaur, Coordinator in Central Valley, successfully arranged an extensive four hour workshop jointly conducted by Kashmir Singh, Director, Mohani Kaur, and Japneet Kaur, youth volunteer for the organization. The City of Livingston is home to a large Sikh community, who comprise around 20% of the population. Chief Dunford remarked that his primary motivation behind arranging the training was to gain a better understanding of the community. “I want to know everything about Sikh culture so I can serve my community better,” he said.
The training aimed to provide a comprehensive look at the Sikh identity and the Sikh way of life. Police officers were given an overview of Sikh history, origin and core values of Sikhism. Then they were presented with details and importance of the Dastar, Kirpan and other articles of faith. Police officers were also introduced to the Gurdwara structure and protocols. Throughout the four hour training, the officers, some of whom were attending the session on their day off, remained highly interested and engaged, and exchanged substantial information with the Sikh presenters.
Collaborations with law enforcement agencies are very important, particularly in light of the discrimination and xenophobia the Sikh community has faced post 9/11.
Chief Dunsford was pleased with the response to the session and has shown interest in continuing these on a regular basis. “We are now outreaching and asking these agencies to contact us in order to clear all the misunderstanding about our identity”, said Mohani Kaur. The Chief will encourage his neighboring city chiefs to expand on these awareness sessions in Central Valley.
The United Sikhs can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference on Sikh Culture
A day-long conference on Sikh culture was organized by Institute of Sikh Studies, on July 24, 2010 at its headquarters in Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Kanthala, Indl Area, Phase 2, Chandigarh. Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib inaugurated the Conference and Dr Gurnam Singh of Punjabi University Patiala, presided over the same.
In his Welcome address S. Pritam Singh, President: Institute of Sikh Studies said that Sikh Sabhyachar conference is in continuation of a chain of conferences:Khalsa in History, Khalsa Identity, Khalsa Ideology and Khalsa Values which will culminate into two-day Seminar: “Perspectives on Guru Gobind Singh: scheduled for 13th and 14th Nov. 2010.
The focus in this conference will be on :
i. the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the rich Sikh cultural heritage;
ii. the need for its preservation, propogation and transmission to the next generation locally and globally after thorough introspection and analysis of the contemporary situation.
iii. He drew attention to the two important challenges which Sikh Sabhyachar may face:
iv. From forces of secularisation and modernisations;
v. From forces of World culture emerging from globalization.
He was confident that the Sikh Sabhyachar will overcome these challenges and that Sikh élan will display the same innovative and creative impulses which it origionally brought forth in facing the historical challenges attending upon its birth and evolution.
Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib in his inaugural address, talked about awareness of Sikh culture and efforts being made to belittle the Sikh culture. He lamented that we are forgetting our Sikh culture and taking various melas as Sikh culture. He felt that we have been ignoring our intellectuals, who have been writing about Sikh culture. He felt happy that youth are being included in this event.
In his presentation on Golden Temple: Marvel of Sikh Architecture, the former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, Dr S S Bhatti brought out little-known facts of the holiest of holy shrine of the Sikh Faith. He talked about the uniqueness of the architecture of Harmandir Sahib, especially about the dome above the Harimandar Sahib. He conveyed that the dome conveyed the feeling of humility. He also briefly talked about culture architecture of religious buildings of other faiths. He stressed the moot point that historians and scholars have not done justice to the art and science of Building Design which, by virtue of its many distinguished principles and characteristics, deserves to be classed as an independent historical style. Drawing the material of his talk from his third Ph.D., he shared with the select audience his own method of studying and evaluating the monuments in world history. He said while all architecture is essentially building, all Buildings are not necessarily Architecture.
To prove his thesis he showed, through convincing illustrated analysis, how the Elements of Building Design: Space, Structure, Form, and Time, while remaining constant, bring about very different creations in the Built-Environment. He said that Space produces Architecture; Structure is the product of Engineering; Form corresponds to Aesthetics; and Time provides the historical context to the created object.
Dr Gurnam Singh of Punjabi University, Patiala felt that there was no serious danger to Sikh culture because of its inherent strength. The main custodian of Sikh culture is the Gurdwara and everything should be done to ensure the smooth working of gurdwaras as per Gurmat. He mentioned that music is very important for Sikh culture and music has to be based on Sikh culture. He talked about different forms of Sikh music. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is depository and source of Sikh music. He lamented that even the universities in Punjab have ignored Sri Guru Granth Sahib as the main source of Gurmat Sangeet. Perhaps it is delibrate. Sikh sangeet should be taught right from the formative years of children. This is being ignored and even the teachers of Sikh sangeet are poorly paid.
Bibi Harjinder Kaur, Ex-Mayor, Chandigarh, felt that Sikh culture should be preserved from the clutches of modern singers, who are destroying it. She briefly dwelt on the journey of the Sikh culture right from the birth of Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh, till he created the Khalsa Panth. She also stressed on improving functioning of the Gurdwara and Sikh Institutions, who preach the Sikh culture.
At the end, S Raghbir Singh thanked the participant and the audience for their interest and patient hearing.