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Seva In Sikhism

Discussion in 'Essays on Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    Seva in Sikhism

    by Gurtej Singh

    Seva means service. In Sikhism, seva refers to selfless service for altruistic purposes on behalf of, and for the betterment of a Community.

    Also in Sikhism, one is surprised to know that the institutions which are supposed to act as pillars for the community are not living up to the expectations. On the contrary, some Sikhs as individuals have gone the extra mile out of their love for Gurmat and Panth. One such person is Avtar Singh Dhami. He is the person who put Prof. Sahib Singh’s Guru Granth Sahib teeka on the Internet.

    He is related to Prof. Sahib Singh, I was told. Avtar Singh is of Dhami family in London and is a multi-millionaire—another version but not true. Earlier today I contacted Avtar Singh Dhami on phone pursuing the facts behind www.gurugranthdarpa n.com

    Avtar Singh Dhami is a truck driver who lives in the Bay Area, California. His work hours were such that he would look for a Gurdwara which was open at 2 am. This would be possible only where an akhand path would be in progress. Many a times he would volunteer for the path roll. But one day while he was on roll, a granthi tapped his shoulder and asked him to get up.

    This really upset Avtar Singh. However, he noted the page number of Guru Granth Sahib before he got up and vowed that he would read the rest of Guru Granth Sahib whenever time would permit. This he did subsequently with the help of sainchees.

    Having read more than half of Guru Granth Sahib in this manner he became exited enough to read the complete Guru Granth Sahib. He did not stop there. He started seeking help for understanding Guru Granth Sahib. Having read Guru Granth Sahib himself, he was not satisfied with the translations available. Finally, somebody gave him Prof Sahib Singh teeka vol.4. The teeka immediately clicked with Avtar Singh as he found the translation in simple Punjabi and closer to what he had experienced reading Guru Granth Sahib himself. Later on he purchased a personal set of teeka and read all the ten volumes.

    By this time in the mid 1990s, Avtar Singh Dhami became the President of Gurdwara Freemont (I think so that’s what I heard). When he found that not many people had access to the teeka, he thought of making it available online. He thought of this avenue as the Gurbani CD of Dr KS Thind impressed him a lot and Dr Thind also promised Avtar Singh for all the technical help he was capable of providing him with. Avtar Singh Dhami went to Amritsar to meet Dr Daljit Singh (s/o Prof Sahib Singh) and got his permission for copyright purpose.

    Rough estimates put the cost of digitising this teeka and making it available online around US$15,000. As the then President of the Gurdwara he thought this would be a small amount for a Gurdwara to bear and proposed this expenditure in the next meeting of the Gurdwara. To his dismay, Avtar Singh Dhami found that not even a single member of the executive found any value in this project and this proposal collapsed.

    Disheartened Avtar Singh did not give up this project and sought financial help from his friends and members of the community. He collected some money at least to get the digitisation started. Gradually more money flowed in and he would also top that from his own pocket. Subsequently, Dr Thind helped with arranging page marking of the digitisation to align it with Guru Granth Sahib and also making all the files Internet ready.

    Today, Prof Sahib Singh’s teeka is available globally to every one who has got Interent access. This became possible only due to one person’s hard work.

    Finally, let us all recognise the value of such projects and help as and when possible while asking the institutions to set their priorities right.
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  3. dalbirk

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    May 24, 2008
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    I had contacted Avtar Singh Dhami Ji having the same impression that he was some multi-millionaire to ask him to pursue the English Teeka but I was amazed to know that he was just to very very ordinary man ( resource wise ) . I could help admiring his grit , determination as well as Shardha for Guru Nanak 's house as a Sikh even though he expressed his inability to pusue the Englsih translation however on saturday I came to know that Singh Brothers of Amritsar are getting the English translation of Guru Granth Darpan Print as well as online edition which may take two more years .
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