Dr. Avnish Jolly, The India Post, Chandigarh, 2st September, 2008:World’s first Sikh university would be set up in Fatehgarh Sahib, the holy town in the northern Indian state Punjab. The university, Guru Granth Sahib World 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 civilisation, a state government spokesperson shared. The university authorities are also planning to rope in the Sikh diaspora in the new venture.
Fatehgarh Sahib city is headquarters of Fatehgarh Sahib district, one of the twenty districts in the state of Punjab in North-West India. History
The city is an historically important town north of Patiala, especially for the Sikh faith. Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib, marks the site of live entombment of the two younger sons of the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Sri Guru Gobind Singh on 12 December 1705, by the Governor of Sirhind, Wazir Khan , the place is the today commemorated by Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, 5 km. north of the Sirhind .
It is named Fatehgarh, meaning Town of Victory, because in 1710 Sikhs under the leadership of Banda Bahadur overran the area and razed the fort (built during Balban’s rule) to the ground. Gurudwara Jyoti Sarup Sahib is about 1 Km from Fatehgarh Sahib on Sirhind- Chandigarh road. It was at this place that the mortal remains of Mata Gujri, the mother of Guru Gobind Singh and his two younger sons, Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh were cremated. Wazir Khan, the then Faujdar of Sirhind refused to allow the cremation of the bodies unless the land for the cremation was purchased by laying gold coins on it. Todar Mal, who was an ardent devotee of Guru Gobind Singh, purchased this place of land by offering gold coins as demanded. And thus etched his name in the annals of Sikh history and earned the salutation of Deewan.
The town has four memorial gates surrounding it, each in the memory of four important persons from the Sikh history associated with Sirhind. These are: Deewan Todar Mal, Nawab Sher Muhammed Khan, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur and Baba Moti Ram Mehra. All belonged to different castes / religions, thus depicting the harmony and brotherhood among people of those times.
Sirhind is famous for renowned Mujaddad Alif Saani – Sheikh Ahmad Farooqi Sirhindi(Rh), great sufi saint a founder and repairer of Naqshbandi- Majaddaddi school of Sufiism and graceism. His and his sons Hz. Masoom Sahib’s and various others mausoleum is there, 200 meters from Gurdwara Fateh Garh.
The historic & pious District of Fatehgarh Sahib came into existence on 13th April 1992, Baisakhi Day, deriving its name ‘Fatehgarh Sahib’ from Sahibzada Fateh Singh, the youngest son of 10th Guru Gobind Singh, who were bricked alive by the orders of Suba Sirhind.
The Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh fought against the atrocities of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, due to which he bore the wrath of the Dynasty. The youngest Sahibzadas of Guru Ji namely Sahibzada Zorawar Singh & Sahibzada Fateh Singh alongwith their grandmother Mata Gujri were martyred here. The Gurudwara Fatehgarh Sahib has been constructed at this place in their holy memory.
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. It also aims at addressing contemporary problems of Sikh identity vis-Ã -vis forces and processes of globalisation, facts about the Sikh diaspora and role of Sikhism and global interfaith dialogue, the spokesperson added.
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 spokesperson added 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 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.