History

The Chief Khalsa Diwan was founded in 1902. It is a Central Sikh Organisation of various Singh Sabhas spread all over Punjab with the 'mission' to promote the aspirations and redress grievances of the Sikh public, settle their religious differences and channelise Sikh public opinion. Its primary aim was to promote the spiritual, intellectual, moral, social, educational and economic welfare of the Sikhs as well as to safe - guard the political rights by making the Government aware of the problems, needs and grievances of the Sikh community.

Sikh Leadership

The Chief Khalsa Diwan was founded in 1902. It is a Central Sikh Organisation of various Singh Sabhas spread all over Punjab with the 'mission' to promote the aspirations and redress grievances of the Sikh public, settle their religious differences and channelise Sikh public opinion. Its primary aim was to promote the spiritual, intellectual, moral, social, educational and economic welfare of the Sikhs as well as to safe - guard the political rights by making the Government aware of the problems, needs and grievances of the Sikh community.

Pristine Purity

Notable achievements of (he Chief Khalsa Diwan lenders in pursuit of goal of restoring Sikhism to its "pristine purity" was to get rid of some of the harmful and orthodox customs from birth to death, to adopt Sikh rites and practices.

Anand Marriage Act

Another notable achievement was the Anand Marriage Act passed in 1905 giving legal sanction to the marriage ceremony performed according to the Sikh rites. This brought revolutionary awakening among the Sikhs which ultimately led to the 'Gurdwara Reforms Movement' against professional priests.

Central Khalsa Orphanage

It goes to the credit of the Chief Khalsa Diwan that, in the social .sphere, the founders of this organization established the Central Khalsa Orphanage at Amritsar where (lie orphans are admitted without any consideration of caste and creed. Presently, it is being looked after by S. Bhag Singh Ankhi as Member-Incharge whose unstinted dedication and untiring efforts have created a congenial atmosphere for the orphans.

Gurdwara Reforms Movement

The role of the Chief Khalsa Diwan was important also in giving distinct identity to the Sikh community. As a result of its sustained efforts, the Sikhs were able to get their distinct symbol, language and public holidays, separate place of worship and constitutional recognition as a distinct group at a time when majority of the Sikhs themselves were not clear whether to regard their religion distinct from Hinduism or not. It made the Government recognize Sikhs as a separate community for electoral purposes. The Chief Khalsa Diwan had achieved its aim of protecting the young sapling of distinct Sikh identity nuturing it till it had taken roots and grown to maturity. The Chief Khalsa Diwan leaders brought the Sikh politics

Birdh Ghar

House of the aged and destitutes was established at Tarn Taran where all the requisite amenities are made available. It is managed by the local committee of Chief Khalsa Diwan, Tarn Taran, District Amritsar. This Birdh Ghar was named after Sikh community's most famed and revered Poet of Punjab - Dr Bhai Vir Singh Ji * Bhai Vir Singh Birdh Ghar*.

Charitable Institutions

Besides, a number of free and charitable institutions, hospitals, dispensaries, libraries and training centers have also been established by the Chief Khalsa Diwan. The Chief Khalsa Diwan leaders realized that their efforts to purge their religion of external influences would be successful only if the Sikh masses were educated and made aware of real form of Sikhism, Spread of education based on sound, moral and spiritual values was necessary for the progress of the community.

Educational Field

The Sikh Educational Committee was established 1908 started its work in the right direction, and upto 1920 it was running 200 educational institutions, both for boys and girls. Here along with formal education, spiritual, moral and religious training also formed an integral part of the curriculum, Students were taught to follow the teachings of the Sikh Gurus which included universal brotherhood and equality of all, irrespective of caste, colour and creed to which they belonged. The Sikh Educational Committee had certain definite aims and objectives before it. It wanted to foster love for knowledge and education among the youth. It aimed at enlightening the people and making the synthesis of the best of western education and the best of Indian education with religious flavour in it. Apart from stressing the importance of primary education, the Committee explored the defects and shortcomings of the Secondary, Collegiate and University education and aimed at its amelioration.

Promotion of Punjabi Language & Literature

The Sikh Educational Committee took special measures to bring Punjabi language to that exalted position which it deserved. In almost every session of its conference resolutions for the promotion of Punjabi were passed in one form or the other. Promotion of technical education formed an important part of the Sikh Educational Conferences. The growing problem of unemployment compelled the Conference to make provisions for commercial, technical, agricultural and professional schools and colleges.

All India Sikh Educational Conferences

To sum up, it can be said conveniently that the Conference laboured hard to achieve success in every aspect of education. But for the Sikh Educational Conferences, the Sikhs would have lagged behind their sister commuinities in the hectic race of education. It was due to the sincere efforts of these conferences that they not only compared favourably well with other communities but also in certain respects marched much ahead of them. The Chief Khalsa Diwan firmly beleived that there could be no reforms in society and its people without imparting quality education on modern lines alongwith sound, moral and spiritual values in order to keep the people abreast with the latest allround developments in the World. With this sole aim in view, the Diwan has established nearly 40 English - medium Public Schools, including an International School, after the name of Eighth Guru of the Sikhs - Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji.

Quite a good number of them are located in rural, backward and border areas of the State, so that ruralite may also derive the benefit of better education from which they have been neglected and deprived by the governments of the day. It is a matter of satisfaction that the efforts of the Diwan are bearing fruit and people are approaching the Chief Khalsa Diwan for opening more schools in their respective areas. With these goals in mind, the present functionaries of the Chief Khalsa Diwan are making all-out efforts to keep the aspirations of its founders alive and are always serious for its further development.

Besides, a number of free and charitable institutions, dispensaries, hospitals and training centers have also been established by the Chief Khalsa Diwan. The Chief Khalsa Diwan leaders realized that their efforts to purge their religion of external influences would be successful only if the Sikh masses were educated and made aware of real form of Sikhism, Spread of education based on sound, moral and spiritual values was necessary for the progress of the community. The Sikh Educational Committee established in 1908 started its work in the right direction, and upto 1920 it was running 200 educational institutions, both for boys and girls. Here along with formal education, spiritual, moral and religious training also formed an integral part of the curriculum. Students were taught to follow the teachings of the Sikh Gurus which included universal brotherhood and equality of all, irrespective of caste, colour and creed to which they belonged. The Sikh Educational Committee had certain definite aims and objectives before it. It wanted to foster love for knowledge and education among the youth. It aimed at enlightening the people and making the synthesis of the best of western education and the best of Indian education with religious flavour in it.

Apart from stressing the importance of primary' education, the Committee explored the defects and shortcomings of the Secondary, Collegiate and University education and aimed at its amelioration. The Sikh Educational Committee took special measures to bring Punjabi language to that exalted position which it deserved. In almost every session of its conference, resolutions for the promotion of Punjabi were passed in. one form of the other. Promotion of technical education formed an important part of the Sikh Educational Conferences, The growing problem of unemployment compelled the Conference to make provisions for commercial, technical, agricultural and professional schools and colleges. To sum up, it can be said conveniently that the Conference laboured hard to achieve success in every aspect of education. But for the Sikh Educational Conferences, the Sikhs would have lagged behind the sister communities in the hectic race of education. It was due to the sincere efforts of these conferences that they not only compared favorably' well with other communities but also in certain respects marched much ahead of them. The Chief Khalsa Diwan firmly believed that there could be no reforms in society and its people without imparting quality education on modern lines along with sound, moral and spiritual values in order lo keep the people abreast with the latest alround developments in the World. With this sole aim in view, the Diwan has established nearly 40 English-medium Public Schools, including, an International School, after the name of eighth Guru of the Sikhs - Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji. Quite a good number of them arc located in rural, backward and border areas of the Stale, so that ruralilc may also derive the benefit of better education from which they have been neglected and deprived by the governments of the day. It is an'inaltcr of satisfaction that the efforts of the Diwan are bearing fruit and people are approaching the Chief Khalsa Diwan for opening more schools in their respective areas. With these goals in mind, the present functionaries of the Chief Khalsa Diwan are making all-out efforts to keep the aspirations of its founders alive and always serious for its further development.

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