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Annual General Meeting, ISC
– KeyNote Address –

Dr Kharak Singh

Dear Colleagues,

Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa; Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

I had been looking forward to this AGM with great excitement. Just imagine my frustration, when due to ill health, I find myself bedridden and unable to welcome you personally. Instead I am sending this ‘Message’ which is indeed a poor substitute for personal appearance.

In my illness during the past month and a half, I have received numerous enquiries about my health, messages of good wishes and prayers to the Almighty for my speedy recovery. It has been difficult to respond individually to all my friends and well-wishers whose prayers have already put me on the road to recovery. I am indeed deeply grateful to them all, and assure you that with Satguru’s grace I shall very soon be back at your service with full commitment and devotion.

The organisation of the ISC is one of the greatest events in our history after the Creation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh. It is still in its nascent stage and facing problems common to all new organisations. But the way all initial formalities, such as, official registration, setting up a central, regularly functioning office, constitution of Executive Committee and the five Advisory Councils, exemption of income tax on donations to the ISC, establishment of ISC Chapters in several cities, enrolment of members, etc., inter alia, have been undertaken is no small achievement in such a short period. This has been possible through untiring efforts of Gen Kartar Singh and your constant ungrudging support. The contribution of Giani Harinder Singh in providing accommodation for the Central Office deserves special mention.

As we all know, the functions of the ISC are to be performed through its five Advisory Councils manned by ablest men among our community. You have already selected most eminent leaders like Justice Mota Singh, Dr Sardara Singh Johl, Giani Harinder Singh and Dr Charan Kanwal Singh to head these councils. Their credentials are well known, their achievements familiar, and their commitment and integrity are acknowledged by one and all. Dr Gurcharan Singh Kalkat, although at the moment reluctant to accept any office due to his other crucial responsibilities in the govt, is an equally great asset. With such a team and many more eminent Sikhs from Delhi, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and abroad, there is no limit to the achievements that can be expected from the ISC.

It must be remembered that the ISC is only a corollary to Guru Gobind Singh’s doctrine of Guru Granth – Guru Panth which means that while Guru Granth Sahib is the Soul, the functions of the body have to performed by the Khalsa, or the members of the fraternity themselves. The Gurus from the very origin taught us to look after our own affairs ourselves, and not look to an avtaar or God Himself as a human being to restore dharma. “nkgfD jEh nkgDk nkg/ jh eki ;tkohn?” was the clear message of Guru Nanak.

Such are the ultimate aims of the ISC — representing the Panth, taking decisions on all vital issues of common interest to the community, taking care of all its members wherever they are and ensuring their freedom and fundamental rights. This is only a follow-up step of our daily ardas for ‘ijK ijK ykb;k ih ;kfjp sjK sjK ofSnk fonkfJs’. This implies struggle for freedom to wear our five symbols and practise the Sikh way of life. The ISC has to settle all Panthic disputes and controversies in the spirit of Gurbani through this organisation as Sarbat Khalsa. The ISC has to uphold the position of Sri Akal Takht Sahib as the Supreme Authority of Sikhs. The ISC has to take up a comprehensive campaign to explain and spread the message of our great Gurus, not only in our own interest but also for the benefit of the entire humanity.

While I sincerely believe that performance of the ISC so far is commendable, and the cooperation from members and public encouraging, I do feel that we need to speed up the pace of our activities. Our Advisory Councils have to be more vigilant and active to ensure that Sikh rights are not violated in any part of the world.

The ISC passed three vital resolutions:

a) To set up Guru Nanak Education Fund.
b) To set up a 24-hour TV Channel for the spread of Gurus’ message.
c) To prepare a standard English Translation of Guru Granth Sahib.

These resolutions need to be implemented without delay.
Some other points that need to be considered urgently are:

a) Expansion of the ISC membership in order to have an active Chapter in every major city of India as well as abroad. Ludhiana affords an excellent example.
b) Campaign to mobilise financial resources.
c) An appeal to all major Sikh organisations to become patrons of the ISC, since its aim its to support all Sikh institutions, and not replace any.
d) It is necessary to mount special mission consisting of eminent and influential members of the community to go round and organise the ISC activities.
e) Implementation of the five-point minimum common programme adopted in the recent Conclave organised by the ISC, where a large number of dera heads, sant babas and Sikh organisations participated.
f) Organisation of the Governing Council.

I hope the AGM will consider these humble suggestions and many more, and ensure follow-up actions, so that the ISC is seen as an active organisation working for a brighter future of the Panth, and not merely as a debating club. Once this agenda is approved by the AGM, the Executive Committee and the Advisory Councils will come out with the details of the activities envisaged, and work out a plan required for their implementation, as early as possible.

I wish the meeting all success and have no doubt that S Gurdev Singh, IAS (retd), the Co-convenor, and Gen Kartar Singh, CEO, will not only conduct the meeting in their usual exemplary way, but will also look after the members as best as possible.

Thank you,

Kharak Singh

April 26, 2008 Convenor, ISC


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