KSWS TAKES UP THE CAUSE OF KARNATAKA SIKLIGAR SIKH FAMILIES
In many districts of Karnataka, Sikligar Sikhs are living in poverty for decades. Their living conditions have been dismal. They adopted Sikhism during the times of Gurus and had played significant role in its evolution since eighteenth century. Along the passage of time they, despite being hardworking, industrious and upright people, they lost their bearings and are currently struggling to rediscover their roots. The pressure of poverty had forced their children to earning for their very survival, thus depriving them the ordinary pleasures of childhood and benefits of education. In August 2000, Karnataka Sikh Welfare Society (KSWS), Bangalore had two wings namely A) Publication of News Magazine and Directory etc for improved communication within the community and B) Youth Wing for providing proper grooming towards community service; decided to collaborate with Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council (NSWC), New Delhi and jointly setup a Nishkam Wing with a pledge to help the disadvantaged Sikligar Sikhs with the following goals:
To reunite Sikligar Sikhs with the main stream of Sikhism, by encouraging them to attend religious services at Gurdwara Sahib and learning Gurmukhi.
Put the children through schools and provide facilities for education to their full potential.
To provide for their rehabilitation with proper housing.
To provide modern medical help wherever needed.
KSWS having taken the view that the education can be the only vehicle, which will eventually take out these families from their miserable conditions and bring them in to the main stream of Sikhism. Currently appx. 500 children have been admitted in various schools of Karnataka where the school fees, books, stationery and uniforms etc. are being provided to all these children with the support of Sadh Sangat so that there is no burden on the families and they don't think of withdrawing them from the schools. The promising children, who return good results, are provided scholarships, with support from the Relief Committee of Greater New York, so that they are motivated to perform even better.
Gurmukhi teaching, Gurmat teaching and Gurmat Sangeet classes are continuing for the last 13 years at Bangalore. All the school going children are regularly reciting Nitnem Banis in the mornings and evenings. Many of them have been initiated to reciting Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Children are performing Kirtan regularly at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha on Sundays.
A Gurmat missionary has been posted by NSWC at Belgaum for providing Gurmukhi and Gurmat teaching to children and youngsters.
The families are encouraged to attend the Gurdwara Sahib on Sundays where they are encouraged to perform Seva in preparing/ distributing Langar at Bangalore. At Hubli, Dharwad, and Belgaum the families are attending Gurdwaras on Sundays. At Mudhol, Bailhungal and Rukmani Nagar and Belgaum make shift Gurdwaras have been built for the benefit of families living in that area.
With the financial help from NSWC, 22 houses and 1 Community Hall was constructed at the cost of Rs. 12.23 Lakhs The project was started in October, 2001 and completed in August, 2003.
With financial support from “Trust for Welfare of Vanjaras and other Weaker Sections” Chandigarh, 20 girls had been provided training in Tailoring and 6 boys trained in the trades of Welding/Turner and they have been gainfully employed. Training in Tailoring has also been provided at Dharwad, Nipani, Bailhungal, Mudhol with equally encouraging results.
Nishkam Medical Fund had been created to take care of medical emergencies of Sikligar families from not only Bangalore but from whole of Karnataka. In certain deserving cases even non Sikligar families below the poverty line have also been provided timely help in crises situation, irrespective of religion, caste or creed.