Saturday, December 03, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Q93. What do you know of the Chief Khalsa Diwan?

As early as 1873 a movement was started in the Punjab for protecting the Rights of the Sikhs and for maintaining the prestige and purity of the Sikh faith. It was originally part of the Singh Sabha Movement. It became necessary to have a central organization to co-ordinate the activities of local Singh Sabhas. A big religous congregation was held on 30th October, 1902, at Amritsar, for this purpose. At this meeting the "Chief Khalsa Diwan" was formed. It was registered under the Societies Registratic Act of 1869, on the 9th July, 1904. The founder of the Diwan-Sir Sunder Singh Majithia, gathered around him sincere and zealous workers like Bhia Vir Singh, S. Harbans Singh of Attari, S. Trilochan Singh and Principle Jodh Singh.

The aim of the Diwan was four-fold: (i) to promote the social, economic and moral uplift of the Sikhs, (ii) to propagate the message of Sikhism, (iii) to remove illiteracy, (iv) to protect the political rights of the Sikhs and ensure the redress of their grievances, by constitutional means. The constitution of the Diwan provides for a broad based representation of the four Takhats, the Singh Sabhas and the missionary associations.

The Diwan has had considerable success in the cultural and educational fields. The educational committee of the Diwan, started in January, 1908, has held annual sessions of the All India Sikh educational Conference. The Diwan has a large number of educational institutions under its management. A high percentage of literacy among the Sikhs, is an of-shoot of the educational effort of the Diwan. It has redressed many Sikh grievances against the discrimination of Sikhs in government services.

The Chief Khalsa Diwan actively encouraged the production of Punjabi literature. The Sikh Tract Society was affiliated to the Diwan. it took a leading part in the movements for the carrying of the Kirpan and Achhut Udhar. It also runs the Central Khalsa Orphanage, Homeopathic Hospital, Khalsa Parcharak Vidyalaya and Khalsa Hospital, Tarn Taran. Examining its past record, the Diwan provides a useful service to the Panth.

 

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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