The Tribune – Sikligar Sikhs eager to be back in mainstream

Khalsa Diwan ready to adopt 100 children

G S Paul, Tribune News Service

Amritsar, 27 February 2017. As a community, they possess an incredibly rich history, yet they are longing to return to the mainstream even three centuries later.

Endeavoured by Glasgow-based charity organisation Sikh Council of Scotland (SCS), a group of 173 Sikligars from Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were fortunate enough to enjoy pilgrimage to the Golden Temple and other gurdwaras in Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib, Chamkaur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and Delhi.

Originally named Sikligar by Guru Gobind Singh, they were known to be blacksmiths having incredible craft of weapon making and armed the Khalsa Army in the 17th century.

But in the present era far from education, development and health facilities, they lead a poverty-ridden life in the far flung villages and hilly jungle terrains of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and beyond.

In Amritsar, Chief Khalsa Diwan president Charanjit Singh Chadha too extended a helping hand by offering free education, boarding and lodging of at least 100 children belonging to the Sikligar community.

Very little is known about the Sikligars as they have been displaced through years of colonisation and government oppression.

Sikh Council of Scotland president Sulakhan Singh said they came to know about Sikligars through an article written by a Cambridge University professor Dr Harbhajan Singh in 2001. He resented that the SGPC should have come forward to help them out to have better life with changing times.

Chadha said: “We are ready to adopt 100 Sikligar tribal community children who are away from civilisation, if they agree to come to Punjab. We will be happy to provide them free education and employment opportunities to merit holders as we have an established placement cell here.”

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/sikligar-sikhs-eager-to-be-back-in-mainstream/370449.html

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