Society: Sikhism: Institutions:
Educational Institutions of the Sikhs
Education and Sikhs
in Sikhism means, continuous development and integration of human
personality. The education or knowledge is treated as the third
eye through which an individual can see in and outside. Education aims
at widening the wisdom horizon of a person for development of spiritual
tendencies. It aims at making a person wise, academically and spiritually.
Next to worship of God , Guru Nanak Dev loved the acquiring of knowledge.
Guru Nanak Dev says,
“By the Guru’s grace, man dwells on the Lord’s
knowledge and, reading and studying it, gathers glory.”
The concept of education in Sikhism is summarized as
gur prswdI ividAw vIcwrY piV
piV pwvY mwnu ]
“He is learned indeed who is benefactor of others.”
Bhagat Kabir says,
ividAw vIcwrI qW praupkwrI
“To instruct his mind, man ought to study Divine
knowledge to some extent.”
But the education and knowledge comes to a person with the
mercy of the Lord.
mn smJwvn kwrny kCUAk pVIAY
Guru Nanak Dev remained busy in gifting the concepts of
life and spreading his mission. Guru Angad Dev took keen interest in imparting
education to the Sikhs and gave them a systematized Gurmukhi primer.
In the times of the Gurus, Gurdwaras were used as Pathshalas
to teach Gurmukhi to the Sikh youths. All the Sikh Gurus tried to teach
Gurmukhi to their followers so that they could read and understand Gurbani
enshrined in holy Granth Sahib.
in Eighteenth Century
Eighteenth century was a test period for the Sikhs when
more than two hundred thousand Sikhs were killed in less than fifty years
on the altar of religious bigotry. Many a times, the Sikhs had to flee
to Jungles where education facility was not available. They could not find
time to give attention towards education of their new generation.
The period from cross to crown of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was thus
not favorable to the Sikhs education wise. After consolidation of
his empire, the Maharaja started few of the schools. Soon after his death,
the times were again not favorable. The British rulers tried to impose
the system of education as suited to them.
in Nineteenth Century
Many evils interrupted into the society due to which the
Sikh faith also faced a little jolt.
By the end of the 19th century, the Sikhs had realized
that all their efforts to bring reforms would be fruitless unless they
educate the community. The Sikh youth were vulnerable to the onslaught
of spurious values and harmful practices. The best time for the Sikhs to
fight against the vices was to “catch them young”.
of Khalsa Schools and Colleges
The Sikh Educational institutions were founded with a
mission in mind.
One Daud Singh, was the first Sikh to embrace Christianity
in 1852. He was baptised in Kanpur. Maharaja Duleep Singh accepted Christianity
Four Sikh pupils Aya Singh, Attar Singh, Sadhu Singh and
Santokh Singh of the Amritsar Mission School proclaimed their intention
to join Christianity in 1873. Sikh literature was garbled at behest of
the British. This shocked the Sikh nation.
The Singh Sabha movement took its birth to provide an
answer to the educational problems of the Sikhs. The Sikh organizations
started taking keen interest in promoting education among the Sikhs.
The first idea was to open Khalsa College at Lahore to give education to
the Sikh youth according to Sikh philosophy. On insistence of some Sikhs,
it was agreed to by the government to open the Khalsa College at Amritsar.
Thereafter many Khalsa schools were opened in Punjab.
in Twentieth century
century played a significant role in the Sikh learning. There are few of
the missionary institutions to teach Sikhism in and outside India. There
was a flux of Khalsa Schools and Colleges in Punjab. Guru Nanak Dev University
and Punjabi University were opened at Amritsar and Patiala respectively.
Punjabi language and Sikh literature was given opportunity to flourish.
There seems to be a proposal by the Shiromani Gurdwara
Parbandhak Committee Amritsar to open a new University to promote
Sikh literature and the Sikh way of life. Sikhs in foreign countries have
opened many Khalsa institutions to impart academic education along with
education about the “Sikh Code Of Conduct”.
Majority of the Gurdwaras are running Punjabi schools
throughout the world. Similarly, there is chain of educational institutions
started in England, Canada, America, Malaysia, Singapur, Africa, Australia,
Norway and other countries of the world which promote Punjabi language
and Sikh philosophy.
The Sikh institutions throughout the world have created
great Sikh scholars, educationists, writers, scientists, mathematicians
It was encouraging that many Khalsa Institutions were
opened in Post independence era in Punjab. Many Public schools started
giving good education to the students. Bad luck played its part.
Most of the Khalsa Schools which were established to spread Sikh way of
life, were handed over to the government by the governing committees alongwith
mega buildings and rich resources. This imprudent act resulted
in estranging the Sikh youth from the Sikh way of life.
of Sikh Educational Institutions
After the fall of the Sikh Empire and with the advent
of Macaulay’s English Education, the Sikhs felt real threat to their
religion and identity. Sikh boys and girls were weaned away from the Sikh
way of life and were being attracted towards the glamorous cultures of
foreign countries. They were drifting away from their roots. There arose
a feeling of renaissance in the Sikh thought during the nineteenth century
to save its youth from the invading cultures. The Sikh youth needed to
be provided with education in such a way that they develop the feeling
of pride in being a Sikh with identity as given by Guru Gobind Singh Ji
on the day of Baisakhi in 1699 at Sri Anandpur Sahib.
Great need was felt to make reforms in the education system.
Singh Sabha movement was spurred to spread the Sikh philosophy and
Sikh way of life. The intention was to insulate the Sikh youth from the
undesirable and unsavory onslaught of the western culture.
Various schools and colleges were opened to preserve the
culture and Sikh heritage. These institutions made all possible efforts
to create awareness among the Sikh youth through the Sikh values and cultural
parameters. In fact, the real objective of establishing the educational
institutions was not merely teaching the prescribed curriculum but to develop
the personality of the Sikh youth as a whole so that the youth might become
proud of their culture and live the honorable Sikh way of life. The ultimate
objective was search of the truth. It was to inculcate the sense of knowing
the cardinal principles of Sikhism so that the youth could contribute meaningfully
to the growth of Sikh society.
According to Sikhism, man may read cartloads of books
or carry loads of them, he may read for years together but he alone is
the learned who has attained God.