Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Gateway to Sikhism

Shahid Sikh Missionary College

Shahid Sikh missionary College is at Amritsar for training Sikh preachers, was opened in October 1927 in memory of the shahids, i.e. martyrs, who had on 20 February 1921 laid down their lives at Nankana Sahib, birthplace of Guru Nanak, during the campaign for the reform of the management of Sikh shrines. The idea of starting such a college originated with the managing committee of the Gurdwara Sri Nankana Sahib formed in consequence of the passage of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925. A Shahidi Fund (martyrs' fund) had in fact been opened and a Sikh Mission Society formed in 1921 at Nankana Sahib, the former to raise a memorial in honour of the martyrs and the latter to spread Sikh teaching. Both objectives found fulfilment in the establishment in 1927 of the Shahid Sikh Missionary College at Amritsar, under the auspices of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. Ganga Singh, well versed in the art of oratory and with perfect mastery of Persian, Urdu and Punjabi languages, became its first principal. With gaps frorn 1932 to 1935 and from 1938 to 1943, the College has continued to this day. In June 1936, it was revived under a new management, the Sarab Hind Sikh Mission, formed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, and Dharamanant Singh, learned in philosophy and theology, was named the principal. Eminent theologians, Sahib Singh and Taran Singh, were also associated with the institution.

The college is now run by the Dharam Prachar Committee of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee which is also the examining authority. The curriculum includes Sikh sacrect texts, philosophy, history and music. Three diploma courses, each of two years' duration, are offered with a view to training preachers, granthis, i.e. scripture readers ancl ragis, i.e. musicians. Some of the College graduates have distinguished themselves in fields as far apart as theology and politics. Giani Zail Singh who was elected President of India in 1982 is an alumnus of this College.


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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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