S. Dyal Singh Majithia lives on through his contribution to education

The problem with our history is that it has many unsung heroes and S. Dyal Singh Majithia is one of them. He did for North India what Raja Ram Mohan Roy did for Bengal. Yes, he made a significant contribution to Education in pre-independence era.

Who was Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia? 

well, he is much more than a name of one college!

The problem with our history is that it has many unsung heroes and S. Dyal Singh Majithia is one of them. He did for North India what Raja Ram Mohan Roy did for Bengal. Yes, he made a significant contribution to Education in pre-independence era.

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He was a firm believer of the fact that Indians need to adopt English system of education and so he established a College of the most modern kind. It was he who made available latest books to the Indian people. We all can see many libraries all across Punjab and even in Lahore in his name.

He was a great philanthropist who marked a huge contribution in setting up of Panjab University Chandigarh as well. How many of us know about his selfless contributions?     He bequeathed his valuable assets including the lavish Mansions on the Mall Road and many similar properties in Lahore, Karachi, Amirtsar and Gurdaspur in 1898 to two trusts that later established the Dyal Singh College and Dyal Singh Library in Lahore.

He was a visionary leader who established many schools and colleges besides launching The Tribune newspaper, Punjab National Bank and host of other institutes and spent all the expenses from his own.

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But what is happening today? We have not only forgotten his contribution but also have turned thankless.

People who have done nothing for the cause of education are conspiring to usurp its land and property by treacherously renaming Dyal Singh Evening College as Vande Matram Vidyaleya. These people should be told that the land was owned by Dyal Singh Education Trust Society and the college infrastructure was also built by the Trust from its own resources.

I have full respect for Vande Mataram.  These two words enthuse all of us with positive energy.  That’s why I feel these words should not be used in situations prone to create controversies. ‘Vande Mataram’ is a highly regarded phrase for every Indian and any controversy built around it will be detrimental to its honour. What is more sad is that people involved in this renaming conspiracy are using the name of national song for their hidden agenda.

Moreover, Sikhs account for just 2% of Indian population. Any changes, subtractions or deletions with respect to Sikh iconic figures will send a wrong message in the community. Sikh population would feel positively inclined with nation’s ideology when they observe respect and honour for the legacy of a great man like Dyal Singh Majithia.

However, if people want to open Vande Matram Vidyala, they can do so in a new college or even University. We all will extend all possible support to such an institution.

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The Governing body of Dyal Singh Evening College not only took an illegal decision as it had no power to rename it but also has taken other controversial decisions. Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) strongly opposes renaming of Dyal Singh College of the city as Vande Matram Vidyaleya.

Any move to rename it will be opposed tooth and nail and it will also resort to protests on roads. We have passed a resolution condemning the act of the Governing body of the Dyal Singh College and ask them to withdraw their disputed proposal immediately otherwise DSGMC shall be forced to hold protests and take other necessary action to stop this process.

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I humbly request the governing body to revoke this decision.

Dyal Singh Majithia is not a person; he has been a revolution and revolutions cannot e made to disappear like this!

 

Seeking the support of Sangat for Gurdwara Gyan Godri Sahib, Haridwar

We have made it very clear that Sikhs will not compromise to establish Gurdwara Gyan Godri on some another place till the Government doesn’t allocate the original venue of Gurdwara Gyan Godri on banks of Ganga river in Haridwar. 

Gurdwara Gyan Godhri, Haridwar is the historical Gurdwara associated with Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji. The Two Sikh Janam Sakhis narrate about the visit of Sri Guru Nanak Sahib Ji to Haridwar which took place on Vaisakhi in 1504 AD.

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Historical site of Gurdwara – at the banks of river Ganga

Gurdwara Gyan Godri Sahib was constructed on the banks of river Ganga where Guru Sahib had rejected the superstitious rituals and talked about omnipresent God.

Gurdwara Sahib was demolished during anti-Sikh movement days. The Sangat is trying ever since for the restoration of the Guru’s house. The same space is now occupied by an office of Scouts and Guides.

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This year, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has given a clarion call to  Sikhs across the world to stand united to re-acquire the land of Gurdwara Gian Godri at Haridwar. The beginning of Gyan Godri campaign for the reconstruction of the historic Gurdwara Sahib was started with the Path of Japji Sahib on May 14, 2017.

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We had urged the Sangat to come together in Gurdwara Manji Sahib in Amritsar collectively to read the Japji Sahib Bani.

Recently, the municipal corporation record of 1935 depicts existence of a Gurdwara near Har ki Pauri. Documents of the Bharat Scouts and Guides office also relate to a Gurdwara at the site. Surfacing of this evidence will boost our campaign to re-establish the Gurdwara Sahib.

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We have made it very clear that Sikhs will not compromise to establish Gurdwara Gyan Godri on some another place till the Government doesn’t allocate the original venue of Gurdwara Gyan Godri on banks of Ganga river in Haridwar.

I seek the support of people of all religion in coming forward to restore the historical Gurdwara Sahib at Haridwar. I wish to share it with all that Haridwar is the place during fourth ‘Udaasi’, Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji had shared the message of humanity. We all should raise a collective and stronger voice so that Uttar Pradesh Government re-establishes the Gurdwara that reflects the valuable teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Ban on Hookah Bars in Delhi – People are the real winners!

Finally I did what I promised – my efforts to close hookah bars in national capital have borne fruit and Delhi State Tobacco Control (DSTBC) has ordered closure of all Hookah bars in Delhi.

Finally I did what I promised – my efforts to close hookah bars in national capital have borne fruit and Delhi State Tobacco Control (DSTBC), following the notification from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare dated 23 May, 2017 which completely prohibits use of hookah even in smoking zones, has ordered closure of all Hookah bars in Delhi.
Delhi State Tabacco Control vide F.No. 7(6)/STCC/DHS/14-15/6796 dated 21.07.2017 has completely prohibited the use of Hookah in Delhi. Consequently, there will be no hookah bars in Delhi.
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In last four months, we have been trying to spread awareness about Hookah smoking which causes potential health effects on hookah smokers particularly among the young boys and girls. The fact that hookah contains harmful chemicals including carbon monoxide, metals and cancer causing chemicals, tar etc. makes it lethal for the younger lot. Public too showed their disapproval for such Hookah Bars in Delhi. Especially the parents of youngsters came out in large number to support my cause because they were getting worried seeing the drug-inclination of their young ones graduating from Hookah to smoking and then to drugs!
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I took up this matter with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble LG Delhi and even submitted evidence to National Green Tribunal to get these Hookah bars closed with a single aim of saving the youth of the Delhi. I submitted strong credible evidence to National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairman on disastrous effect of hookah smoking on environment.
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I am thankful to all the people of Delhi particularly those who not only directly supported the cause but also became part of the campaign from time to time. The latest order of the DSTBC has made it clear that there will be no Hookah Bar allowed to operate in Delhi. As per another order of the Health Ministry, no Hookah material can be served even in the service cabins established for smoking.
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I am now warning the Hookah Bar owners that if they don’t obey orders on closure of these bars, then we will be forced to physically shut down these bars in order to save the youth of the Delhi. Nothing matters more to me than the future of our youth and I will do all that I can to save the youth of Delhi from Hookah menace.
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I thank Dr Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble LG Delhi Anil Baijal Ji, Maheish Girri Ji, KTS Tulji Ji and other dignitaries who understood the gravity of the problem and extended their support to ban Hookah bars in National Capital.

Anand Marriage Act – how it will help Sikhs?

Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Meghalaya are the five states of India where the Act has been implemented while Delhi, Bihar, Assam, UP, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand are completing the process to implement it soon. I am making all efforts and extending maximum support to get it implemented in the remaining states. 

Most of the Sikhs have asked me how will Sikh community benefit with this Act. Let me tell you all in detail –

First of all, the demand for Anand Marriage Act was made way back in 1909. The demand for Anand Marriage Act was first made when it was realized that the certificate of Marriage to Sikhs is issued under Hindu Marriage Act which created conflict in legal procedures for Sikhs citing Sikhism as their religion.

Sikh marriage ceremonies are known as ‘Anand Karaj’ and so it was felt that the Marriage certificate should specify Anand Karaj.

The demand for the Act was raised by Akali Dal only. Veteran Akali leader Sundar Singh Majithia Ji was the one who stressed upon the need of a law to regulate Sikh marriages.

 

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Not many people are aware that a long battle had to be fought for enacting the Act and its implementation.

Sikhs going abroad were facing difficulties showing their marriage certificate under Hindu Marriage Act while quoting their religion as Sikh. So, once again, this forgotten Act was brought on table. This Act has been cleared since 2012 by the then President, Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil Ji. All the states of India were asked to implement it individually whereby Anand Marriage Act certificate was to be issued to Sikh couples getting married. No such problem will arise once they get their marriage registered under Anand Marriage Act.

However, not all states took the initiative of implementing the act. In Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal & BJP government implemented it. Shiromani Akali Dal President S. Sukhbir Singh Badal entrusted the responsibility of getting Anand Marriage Act implemented to Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee all across India.

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In sync with Badal Sahab’s vision, I have been following up with the Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of different states for implementation of the act. I even met Chief Ministers, Lieutenant Governors and Chief Secretaries of different states in this regard.

Anand Marriage Act has been a long standing demand of the Sikh community. Punjab, Haryana, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya are the five states of India where the Act has been implemented while Delhi, Bihar, Assam, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, UP and Uttarakhand are completing the process to implement it soon. I am making all efforts and extending maximum support to get it implemented in the remaining states. We are providing document and procedural support to the states whenever they ask us, in context of understanding Anand Karaj and Anand Marriage Act.

With the implementation of Anand Marriage Act in many states, more than a century-old demand of the Sikhs has been fulfilled.

I now request every Sikh young men and women to ask for their Anand Marriage Certificate from the Marriage Registrar of their state or concerned SDM who are duty-bound to issue Anand Marriage Certificate under registration of Anand Marriage Act, 2012. Any refusal to issue the certificate, knowingly or unknowingly, amounts to violation of law.

Let’s make the world aware about Kirpan

The world needs to understand that an Amritdhari Sikh follows Guru’s orders and wear a Kirpan to protect him/her self and others. Sikhism does not cultivate the culture of attack and so Kirpan is not a weapon of offence!

The recent order by Government of Karnataka banning acquisition, possession and carrying of arms without license, specified in category V of the schedule I of the Arms Rules of 2016, in public places under the jurisdiction of Bengaluru city of has resulted in  banning wearing of Kirpans by Sikhs. The order not only hurt the Sikhs but has left many of us shocked – how can a government in our own country be so insensitive or ignorant about the religious symbol of Sikhs!

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Kirpan is a religious symbol of the Sikhism and it is an inseparable article of faith for the Amritdhari Sikhs. Our Dasham Pitah Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji had given 5 Kakaars to the Khalsa and Kirpan is one of the 5 articles which Amritdhari Sikhs must carry when they take khande di pahul.

Humbly quoting Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji  who introduced the metaphor of the Kirpan with reference to God and his qualities –

“O Sword, O Conqueror of continents, O Vanquisher of the hosts of evil, O Embellisher of the brave in the field of battle. Thy Arms are unbreakable, Thy Light refulgent, Thy Glory and Splendor dazzle like the sun. O Happiness of the holy, O Crusher of evil intent, O Subduer of sin, I seek Thy refuge.” (Guru Gobind Singh, Vachitra Natak, Chapter I).

The world needs to understand that an Amritdhari Sikh follows Guru’s orders and wear a Kirpan to protect him/her self and others. Sikhism does not cultivate the culture of attack and so Kirpan is not a weapon of offence!

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I also quote the Constitution of India which under the Article 25 specifies that Sikhs have been granted exemption to carry Kirpan (article of Sikh faith) under freedom of practice of religion.

Why I am so concerned about making the world aware about Kirpan, beginning from India, because in past also, such incidents have happened and embarrassed the Sikhs. Like at the Bengaluru airport, a Sikh passengers was forcefully deboarded from the flight when he refused to board the flight without his Kirpan!

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I wish to tell my Sikh brethren that Sikhs traveling in domestic flight in India are allowed to carry the Kirpan with size 6 inch blade and 3 inch handle on board under Civil Aviation Rules, Govt. of India.