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Heritage Gatka, Shastars And The Museum Of "Shastar Nam Mala"


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
An inspiration to many a youngster in the city, this man at is a master of gatka – the Sikh is martial art – besides being equally well versed with the Sikh religion too. Owing to the same, 33 le year-old Jagdish Singh has the honour of training skilled gatka teams and setting up a museum of shastras mentioned in Shastra Mala at Central Khalsa Orphanage.

A gatka coach for the last 15 years, Jagdish deserves appreciation for initiating the trend of setting up girls’ gatka teams in the city.

For Jagdish, the journey of gatka started while he was a student in the local Khalsa College.

Taking inspiration from his grandfather, Jagdish began learning the art formally at Gurdwara Ramsar.

“Initially, I undertook training under Harbans Singh and later on my training in shastra vidya was done under the guidance of Balkar Singh,” says Singh.

After he mastered the skill, Jagdish decided to disseminate the knowledge among the youth of the city and began formally coaching in 1995.

Jadish,The Coach

Ever since, he has trained gatka artists at various educational institutions, including Khalsa College Girls Senior Secondary School, Khalsa College Senior Secondary School for Boys, Central Khalsa Orphanage, Khalsa College for Women and Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School among others.

Under his able guidance and training, girls and boys of gatka teams from different parts of Punjab have been successful in bagging accolades at various gatka competitions.

Narrating one such incident, the coach says, “The girls’ gatka team of Khalsa College School has been successful in winning the gold medal thrice consecutively from 2002 to 2004 at the gatka competition organized by Punjab School Education Board and have been highly appreciated.” Besides, both the boys and girls’ teams have been honoured at various occasions, adds the proud coach.

Museum Of Shastras

Appreciating his talent and knowledge in the field, Jagdish was given the honour of organizing a museum of the shastra mentioned in Shastra Mala in the Dasam Granth at Central Khalsa Orphanage and initiate gatka coaching at Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Senior Secondary School.

After the labour put in by Singh for nearly four years, the museum ultimately became a reality. Not only weapons, Jagdish also assembled the entire information pertaining to instruments, which has been displayed at the premises.

“It took me nearly four years to assemble every weapon mentioned in Shastra Mala from different parts of Punjab and even other states,” says Singh.

An exhibition of the same was organized by the orphan age from December 17 to 19 and Jagdish was especially honoured for his hard work in setting up then museum.

Like all great souls, Jagdish never forgets to thank the Almighty for all the success that he has got till date. “Only if the blessings of Waheguru are with us, can we achieve anything in life,” he says.

Hard Way Up

However, the journey has not been easy for Jagdish, especially where the girls’ teams are concerned. He had a tough time convincing the authorities in various educational institutions to permit him to come up with a girls’ gatka team.

“Initially, people did not feel that it was right for girls to learn this art. Many parents were also hesitant in permitting their girls, scared that it may cause injury. But seeing their success, their parents are now showing keen interest,” he adds with a smile.



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