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Sikh News Operation Education

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Aman Singh, May 1, 2009.

  1. Aman Singh

    Aman Singh
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    Jun 1, 2004
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    The literacy percentage of Sikhs across India as per Census 2001 was 60.55 percent. The percentage of Jains was 84.1%, Christians 69.46%, Buddhists 62.16%, Hindus 54.92% and Muslims 48.05%. The percentage of literacy is not a race amongst communities, but Sikhs need to buckle up their efforts for cent per cent literacy. The Sikhs outside Punjab in the country and abroad are better in Sikhi appearance, education, maintaining good social relations and status. In Punjab the Sikhs have a low literacy percentage of 58.67, whereas the literacy rate among Jains is 86.10 %, Hindus 64.79 %, Buddhists 62.94 %.

    Furthermore, India's Planning Commission observes that according to economic factors of growth, as per their latest assessment in the Eleventh Plan document, there is the disturbing truth that economically Punjab would be a laggard state, at the bottom in terms of growth during the Eleventh Plan [2007-2012]. Obviously, amongst the population in Punjab, Sikhs will be hurt most.

    Minority Status of Sikhs

    The Section 2 (C) of the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 of the Indian Parliament has notified Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians (Parsis) as minority communities. The Sikhs equally hold the status of minority community at par even in
    Punjab and all other parts of the country.

    According to the statement made on the floor of Indian Parliament by Mr. Abdul Rehman Antulay, 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. Deserving Sikhs can apply for both, but one individual is eligible for only one scholarship. The details of the scheme and applications format are available on respective websites of the State and Union Minorities’ Welfare Department, Minorities’ Finance Corporation or by any other name. Like the Muslims, who propagate about such facilities at benefits after Namaz in mosques, Sikhs too need to take this up in Gurdwaras, especially in areas where they are economically weak.

    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 may have embraced Sikhism. He/she is eligible to obtain all the benefits of his original caste or tribe, and this should not be foregone.

    Scheduled Caste Status

    In 2007,
    India 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 loss of millions of rupees in government and private properties and resources. This underscores the significance of seeking reservations for the benefit of the community at large.

    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. During her visit to
    India last week, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Ms. Navenathem Pillay referred to this as a welcome development.

    The same Justice Sachar Committee’s report of 2006 revealed 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 Government of India) 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, 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.

    The Sikhs outside Punjab in the country and abroad are better in Sikhi appearance, education, maintaining good social relations and status. In Punjab the Sikhs have a low literacy percentage of 58.67, whereas the literacy rate among Jains is 86.10 %, Hindus 64.79 %, Buddhists 62.94 %.

    Volunteers of social and human rights organisations active amongst Sikhs must enable such people to get their community certificates from the bureaucracy, motivate and train them to obtain governmental benefits and religiously and socially mingle with them and treat them as one of our own. Failure to do so will make them vulnerable to the missionary activities of Christians, Brahmins and Buddhists alluring them to give up their roots.

    Scheduled Cates and Scheduled Tribes people who embrace Sikhism are in further advantageous position and even better than the so-called higher caste Sikhs, and eligible to get all the benefits of his original caste or tribe. As the literacy percentage is low, it is time to fight for their legal and constitutional rights.

    As the academic sessions commence in India in June-July, we should keep our eyes and ears open to notice advertisements issued by the government of India seeking applications from students of minority communities and 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


    All you have to do is download the forms, fill them and submit it to the head of institution where the child studies. Most of the needy persons do not have 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 those who badly need it. All it takes is a few minutes on the internet and scores of young children can start studying.

    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 minorities. These details are also available on government websites.

    It is time to take up this activity with a missionary zeal and search for several other philanthropic corporate business houses and individuals who grant liberal scholarships for higher education to deserving and meritorious students. The National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation, New Delhi, on www.nmdfc.orgcan be visited for margin money assistance, educational loan, micro finance and several other schemes. The Moulana Azad Education Foundation, New Delhi, on www.maef.nic.in may be visited for grant-in-aids to minority educational institutions and scholarships to girls. There are certainly many more.

    Career Guidance

    Career guidance should be taken up as seriously as religious indoctrination. Students should be suggested examination tips, career and vocational guidance should be imparted on professional lines taking into account the circumstances, performance, attitude and aptitude of each individual.

    Even the physically challenged (handicapped) are eligible for admissions in medical colleges, reservation in Civil Services and admission for higher studies.
    In this age of cut-throat competition, it is our prime duty to equip our progeny for respectable survival alongwith strong moral and ethical foundations.

    Gurdwaras, Panthic institutions, social bodies must come forward to provide free coaching, if need be with stipends for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes for admission tests of professional courses, written, oral and physical tests for recruitment of any services. In fact, this facility is to be extended to all those who need and are interested to study. Efforts must be made to persuade students to study at various governmental facilities.

    Vocational Training

    As education is linked with jobs, for generation of employment, there is another net work all over the country imparting free training in different trades to the public particularly the minorities. They enable entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and 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. Housewives 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. In each district, the District Collector/ Deputy Commissioner are in charge of the affairs, and despite the difficulties and hurdles one may encounter the office of the DM at district headquarters must be contacted for all such purposes.

    Empowerment of Women

    Man-woman ratio is declining in Punjab and perhaps the Sikhs top this shameful list in the country.

    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 is not 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. We must remember the good old proverb, “If you educate a boy, you are educating an individual. If you are educating a girl, you are educating a family”.

    My humble submission to every Sikh is to feel his/her own responsibility instead of looking at others to do this sewa for the “Guru Panth”. It is time to get up and do something. Each drop counts. Become the drop and miracles will follow and that will bring change in the future of the community.

    Nanak Singh “Nishter” is a Hyderabad based orator, writer and Urdu poet. He is a regular columnist of World Sikh News. He is an activist-academician making immense contribution to the social and cultural welfare of Sikh society. He is director of International Sikh Centre for Interfaith Relations. He may be contacted at nanaknishter@gmail.com

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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    Aman ji

    I remember this from another place on the Internet. Very good thinking on the part of "Nishter" and we may need to borrow him to give the US some tips on creative potential.
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