It has been a while that Sikhs have had a unique message to share – one of universality and equality. What continues to distinguish The Sikh is the belief that oneness should be an innate quality above and beyond caste, creed, gender or status. We may be a religion today with a clear identity as a “religion” but we place primary importance on the idea of blurring the lines/transcending differences between human beings and perceiving them as one.
The Sikh intends to bring forward how oneness is viewed through a lens of learning or Siksha. We must proclaim the nature of learning to be inclusive and introspective. We must make progress as culture and society move in many directions, constantly shaped by the forces of economics and sociology. We must progress yet keep intact our core identity and philosophy. We must assimilate not disintegrate. Virtuous through Siksha.
An ode to our inspiration and legacy:
We must give credit where credit is due. In each family, there is an origin of realised intellectual inclinations. The spirit of intellectualism for us has a source so pure that anyone who lives thereafter is left with large shoes to fill. A legacy to be carried forth and propagated is that of Mr Kulraj Singh.
Born in Peshawar in the then North-West Frontier Province of undivided India in 1923, Mr Kulraj Singh (fondly known as Professor) took the degree of Master of Arts in English Literature from the Punjab University, Lahore in 1946. Thereafter, he taught English Language and Literature in different colleges before joining the Indian Revenue Service. He served as a Civil Servant until his retirement and was widely known in Calcutta, where he served a majority of his career.
Keenly interested in Sikh Studies he was in contact with scholars, historians and religious leaders constantly.
He was not afraid of raising his voice whenever he felt an injustice was being done to Sikhs. He was deeply pained by their inner contradictions and conflict and tried to create awareness through his articles on various political events. He was a secular genuine Sikh.
He wrote for various publications on the topic of Sikh philosophy, most notably in The Sikh Review, a journal based out of Calcutta.
The pinnacle of his intellectual actualisations (or anyone’s in this case) was the translation of the Sikh Rehat Maryada from Gurmukhi to English. A task so herculean yet integral, that it has left an indelible mark on the Sikh spiritual fabric. His contributions are among the most noteworthy of the handful of Sikh Scholars who have existed in the past two centuries.
He was the Convenor of the World Sikh Conference in 1995, though unfortunately, he passed a few months before the conference and did not live to see but had laid the groundwork for it.