Chandigarh: Akali stalwart Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra who lorded over the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for more than quarter of a century was a leader who was the most dedicated to the Panth after Master Tara Singh. This tribute was paid to him by eminent historian and former Guru Nanak Dev University vice-chancellor Dr J S Grewal at Gurcharan Singh Tohra Memorial Function organised by the Sikh Education Society (SES) at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College here today.
He said the single point agenda of these two leaders was to work for the advancement of the Sikh religio-political affairs while hammering exclusive and separate Sikh identity.Dr Grewal said Tohra ensured that both the SGPC and the Akali Dal did not digress from their well-defined path.
Eminent Punjabi writer Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana and English magazine ‘The Sikh Review’ were honoured with Panth Rattan Gurcharan Singh Tohra Memorial Award. Dr Tiwana was honoured for her contribution to Punjabi language and literature and The Sikh Review for making effective intervention in Sikh religious discourse.
Dr Grewal traced the origin of Punjabi language, literature and culture and said this language had developed fully by the time of Baba Farid. He rejected the propaganda that was resorted to by the opponents of Punjabi Suba demand in the mid-fifties that Punjabi was not even a language and if any all it was so, there was nothing like Punjabi literature. He stressed that language is always the basis of identity of a community or people living in a region and because of the richness of Punjabi language, the Punjabi and Sikh identity are deep rooted. Literature of high quality has been written in Punjabi and continues to be written.
Speaking on ‘Sikh, Sikhism and Sikh youth-situation and direction’, Dr Gulzar Singh Kang, Director, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Study Centre, GNDU said the present crisis had its genesis in the alienation of the Sikhs from the very doctrine. He called for pragmatic approach to check this trend among the youth.
Senior journalist Karamjit Singh said there were no two opinions on the need for start campaign on Sikh awareness but said it would serve its purpose only if it was also linked to political consciousness otherwise it would end up just as a reform movement.However, Dr Gurmukh Singh of Punjabi university did not agree that the Sikh youth had gone astray and said the new generation was laying down its own framework.
SES President Gurdev Singh proposed the vote of thanks while Col. (Retd.) JS Bala welcomed the audience in the outset of the function.