World’s first Sikh University to come up in Punjab

August 31st, 2008 - 1:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab), Aug 31 (IANS) This holy town in Punjab, where two sons of the 10th Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, attained martyrdom in the 18th century, is set to be home to the first Sikh university - the Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University.Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will Monday lay the first stone of the foundation monument - the ‘Minar-e-Ikonkar’ (Tower of God is one) - in this historic Sikh holy town, around 60 km from Chandigarh.

The university, spread over 84 acres given by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), is coming up in an year which also marks the 300th anniversary of the ‘Gurgaddi’ (installation) of the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib, at ‘Harmandar Sahib’, the holiest of Sikh shrines, in Amritsar.

Though founded with traditional values espoused by the Sikh religion, the university will deal with contemporary issues like the authentic interpretation of Sikhism in the modern context and idiom, role of Sikhism in the making of the 21st century society and the third millennium civilization, a state government spokesman said.

It also aims at addressing contemporary problems of Sikh identity vis-à-vis forces and processes of globalisation, facts about the Sikh diaspora and role of Sikhism and global interfaith dialogue, he added.

Sikhism is one of the youngest religions in the world, founded by the first Sikh guru, Nanak Dev, in the 15th century. The Sikhs, considered one of the most progressive communities, traditionally hail from the north Indian state of Punjab.

Besides the routine courses in arts, science and other fields, the university will focus on emerging technologies such as bio-technology, nano-technology, information technology and disciplines like ecology, human rights, feminism, empowerment of the down-trodden and other related spheres.

To give the university a 21st century outlook, it is looking at multi-national companies and other international universities for tie-ups. The spokesman said that arrangements will be made with foreign universities to enable scholars of Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University to be sent abroad as part of the course study.

Regional and overseas extension centres of the University will be established in India, North America, Europe, Southeast Asia and other countries wherever Sikhs and Sikhism have reached.

The university authorities are also planning to rope in the Sikh diaspora in the new venture.

The university also gives the students an option to undertake advanced studies in Sikhism - its philosophy, ethics, relation with other religions, history, music, linguistics, holy shrines and historical places associated with the religion, architecture, paintings, way of life, martial arts, diaspora and role of Sikhism in the 21st century.

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