He also sent me another article:
Ending Illiteracy among Sikhs
With the academic session coming, wake up call for volunteers
According to the Censes 2001 report of the country the literary percentage of the Jains is 84.1%, Christians 69.46%, Buddhists 62.16%, Sikhs 60.55% Hindus 54.92% and Muslims 48.05%. The Sikhs outside Punjab in the country and abroad, even since centuries of their migration are better placed in Sikhi appearance, education, maintaining good status and relations with other communities, though at several places they are politically marginalised due to their microscopic population. Whereas in Punjab where the Sikhs command in population and resources of funds are the most illiterate community having 58.67 %, whereas the literacy rate among Jains is 86.10 %, Hindus 64.79 %, Buddhists 62.94 %. Further more, India's Planning Commission that observes and monitors economic fundamentals of growth, in its latest assessment of the 11th Plan
document of the states finds the disturbing truth that economically Punjab would be laggard state, at the bottom in terms of growth during the 11th Plan [2007-2012], and the Sikhs will be the most hurt people.
Conversions to Christianity:
In May 2008 issue of The Sikh Review, Kolkata, India, a article “ Are Sikhs being targeted for conversions? ” was published. Subsequently, in the month of November 2008, 35 young Sikhs from Fateh Gadh Sahib, Punjab, went to Bangalore to become Christian Preachers, after their representations failed to get redress their socio-religious and economic problems by the leadership and individuals. This shows how Sikhs are being aggressively converted into Christianity by brain washing and lucrative incentives in their own home land of Punjab itself. Let us frankly admit that we have utterly failed to retain them in Sikh fold by not conveying them the true spiritual and temporal knowledge of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and catch hold and economically support our brethren to counter and resist the diversions from our faith or conversions to other religions even in other parts of the country also. Now we have reduced Sikhism only in the shelf of books not in our practical life. Our sole concentration is on squeezing and extorting money from them for the celebrations and constructions, making the poor still poorer.
The Section 2 (C) of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 of the Parliament has notified Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians (Parsis) as minority communities. According to the statement made on the floor of Indian Parliament by Mr. Abdul Rehman Antuley, minister for minority affairs, during the year 2007-2008, the Sikh community had a quota of 2,540 (Government of India allots the quota in proportionate to the population) but only 50 was the number of Sikh beneficiaries but not even a single application has come from the State of Punjab.
Apart from the Government of India, almost all State Governments and Union Territories also grant educational scholarships to minorities. We can apply for both, but eligible for any one scholarship. The details of the scheme and applications format can be visited at the State websites in the Minorities’ Welfare Department, Minorities’ Finance Corporation or by any other name. The Sikhs do not propagate and motivate their people. Whereas, Muslims preach after Nimaz in every Mosque to avail the benefits. For this purpose, several persons and organisations are working and are benefited by thousands of crores annually.
I request one and all to kindly promote the awareness and motivate our people to apply for the benefits, wherever they are eligible in the categories of (1) Minority, (2) Backward, (3) Scheduled Caste and (4) Scheduled Tribe. There is another advantage for those Scheduled Cates and Scheduled Tribes people who embraced Sikhism is better than the born Sikh and eligible to get all the benefits of his original caste or tribe, we should get them their benefits. Hope you will actively associate yourself with this movement of true service for the uplift of “ Guru Panth ”.
Scheduled Caste Status:
In the year 2007, country faced an agitation of the Gujjar community’s claim for elevation to the list of Scheduled Tribes, though they exist in the list of Backward Classes. It took more than 50 lives and crores of private and government properties. From this we can understand the importance and benefits of getting reservations for the community’s welfare. After the Justice Sachar Committee’s recommendations, some of the Muslim communities have been given backward class status in almost all the states and the Muslims got reservations in admissions and services also.
The same Justice Sachar Committee’s report of 2006 revealed the astonishing facts about the Sikhs saying that, “ The 61st Round Survey of the The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO - organization in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation of the
.) found that almost one-third of the Sikhs in India belonged to the notified Scheduled Castes of the Constitution. Among them 30.70% are the Scheduled Castes and 0.90% are Scheduled Tribes ”.
After prolong sufferings and sacrifices under the leadership of Master Tara Singh, certain Sikh communities were included in the List of Scheduled Caste of Punjab, such as Bauri or Bawaria, Bazigar, Balmiki, Chura or Bhangi, Banjara, Chamar, Jatia Chamar, Rehgar, Raigar, Ramdasia or Ravidasia, Kabirpanthi or Julaha, Mazbhi Sikh, Raisikh and Sikligar. Some of these communities are also listed as Scheduled Caste in the neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Delhi etc., and listed as Back Ward Classes in other states.
You can obtain the list from The District Social Welfare Officer or Tehsildar of your area; locate and approach the deserving Sikhs of the listed communities. Help them to obtain the community certificate from the concerned officials. Motivate them to avail the government benefits and socially and religiously treat them as one among you, so that they should not hesitate to avail the facilities for fear of inferiority complex. Those Scheduled Cates and Scheduled Tribes people who embrace Sikhism are in further advantageous position better than the so-called higher caste Sikhs, and eligible to get all the benefits of reservations in seats, services and scholarships of their original caste or tribe. If they are deprived anywhere, we should help them to get their benefits as their legally and constitutionally conferred right. Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=24666
At the commencing academic year in the months of June-July, we never notice any advertisement calling the applications from the minority students for awarding handsome educational scholarships from class 1 to
Ph. D. level. The procedure is so simple that you need not go to any office for any information. You can find the details of the scheme and applications format at the Government of India website www.minorityaffairs.gov.in
You have to just download, fill it up and submit to the head of the institution. The needy person may not have any resources to get all this, but those who are fortunate enough to have access to internet, may render this Seva of collecting the information and distributing it to our less-fortunate brethren. Generally most of our institutions or we as an individual do not have the aptitude and intention to work and spend for the uplift of our people. At least now onwards we should resolve to help them to avail it by down loading the application form and filling columns etc.Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=24666
Minority Welfare Schemes:
Apart from the Government of India, almost all State Governments and Union Territories also award educational scholarships, loans at lower rate of interest and margin money ( non-refundable subsidy ) and other incentives for self employment of minority communities. The details of the schemes and applications format can be visited at the State websites in the Minorities’ Welfare Department, Minorities’ Finance Corporation or by any other name. For further details we can visit the Google site and search for the country wide minority schemes and of your concerned area. Several other philanthropic corporate business houses and individuals are granting liberal scholarships for higher education to the meritorious students. National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation, New Delhi, on www.nmdfc.org/
can be visited for margin money assistance, educational loan, micro finance and several other schemes. Moulana Azad Education Foundation, New Delhi, on www.maef.nic.in
for grant-in-aids to minority educational institutions and scholarships to girls, so on and so forth.
Knowledgeable persons should take the responsibility of guiding them for their career, as in every other religious society is being done. Students should be suggested before school final examination, instead of joining the college in a traditional way, which line of education or vocational training is proper for them according to their circumstances, performance, attitude and aptitude. Even the physically challenged (handicapped) are eligible for admissions in medical colleges, get reservation in Civil Services and liberal scholarships. For higher studies getting admission into prestigious courses, it is important to compete with others and distinguish yourself leaving behind all others. It is an Age of Competitions, and it is our prime duty to equip our coming generation for respectable survival of the community. For Minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes, free coaching even in certain cases by providing stipends for out station students also, for admission tests of professional courses, written, oral and physical tests for recruitment of any services. A net work of coaching centres has been spread all over the country by the Universities and Governments. Several organisations are also working to support their own communities
For providing self employment, there is another net work all over the country of giving free training in different trades to the public particularly the minorities to enable them to start their own business. In certain cases, stipend is also provided to the candidates. From the level of illiterate to the level of professionally skilled persons of either sex, training is imparted. House wives are also being trained to enhance their income in the spare time. After completion of training, loan and margin money is also provided to start their ventures. For physically handicapped persons special incentives of educational scholarships, training and loans up to rupees five lakhs are given on a subsidised rate of interest and simple terms and conditions. Jana Sikhshan Sansthan, Youth Welfare Department, Women and Child Welfare Department, Industries Department, Minorities Welfare Department, Minorities Finance Corporation and several other voluntary organisations are also providing training at all district head quarters.
The steep declining ratio of women population is very alarming especially among the Sikhs that tops the global list. In the year 2006 in a T.V. report, a Sikh woman was shown married to three Sikh brothers in a village of Punjab. She has to live with 3 persons at the same time. Even this has not shaken our intellectual, social, political and religious leadership so far.
The latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS) compiled by the International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, has released its report in November 2008. It says that, “ Infamous for its male fixation, 25% women in the state of Punjab are said to suffer from spousal violence. Surprisingly, spousal violence isnot limited to rural or uneducated sections alone. Of the 25% women who reported spousal violence, 23% are from urban pockets and 13% are well educated ”. Though this survey is based on population, obviously most of the Sikhs are responsible for it in proportion to their population. To brighten and secure the future of the community, we have to concentrate our attention and energy for bringing up girls. There is good old proverb, “ If you educate a boy, you are educating an individual. And if you are educating a girl, you are educating a family ”.
Let us all feel our own responsibility instead of looking at others who will never come to your rescue, get up and do whatever you can do at least in your spare time for the uplift of our brethren in what so manner you can. We should not forget that, “ Only the drops of rain fill the oceans ”. Let us become a drop, the miracles and other people will follow you to positively change the future of our community.