Relevance and Various Functions
Central University of Punjab, Bathinda has established a chair in the name of Baba Satguru Ram Singh, the founder of Namdhari Movement in India. Baba Satguru Ram Singh played a great role in our freedom struggle and mobilised a very strong protest against the British rule. Namdhari tradition claims that Baba Satguru Ram Singh began to convert people in the fold of Sikhism and organised a congregation on the day of Baisakhi in 1857 to create ‘Sant Khalsa’. The ‘Sant Khalsa’ was asked to observe the maryada which was essentially the maryada of Guru Gobind Singh’s ‘Khalsa’.
He mobilized the people for the freedom of India from British Rule and against the evil customs of the society. He inculcated religious awareness among the people because it evoked the feeling of self-respect and the spirit of nationalism in the country. In a short period, lacs of people flocked to him. A spirit of national fervour and religious enthusiasm grew among the followers and the personality of Satguru Baba Ram Singh became the focal point of a close and well-organized order.
Baba Satguru Ram Singh adopted non-violence and non-cooperation as the two important weapons to succeed in his mission. Namdharis boycotted the English regime and everything connected with it was shunned. “English education, law courts, mill made cloth and other imported goods were boycotted.” The Namdharis also avoided the use of Post Offices and depended upon their own postal system, which was remarkably efficient. They adopted their own legal system and rejected the British system as it did not suit the Indian way of living. Baba Satguru Ram Singh himself held the courts initially and later on this responsibility was given to his lieutenants.
During their brief span, Namdharis revolted against the British three times. Baba Satguru Ram Singh and eleven of his followers were deported to Rangoon. Baba Satguru Ram Singh died in Rangoon in 1885 but this movement marked a significant stage in the development of national consciousness in the country. The Namdhari movement occupies a very important place in Indian history. He always believed that the political liberation and socio-economic upliftment of the people would be possible by improving the quality of individual human beings. He has considerable followers in Ludhiana, Bathinda and adjoining areas of Punjab. It was because of his single minded devotion that the Kuka Movement spread in different parts of Punjab including the area of present Bathinda District. ‘Mastana Dal’ of this Movement included many revolutionaries from Bathinda district who took an active part in the freedom struggle; many of them lost their lives. In July, 1871, Gurmukh Singh, Mangal Singh and Mastan Singh of village Pitho, the then part of Phul district of Nabha State (now in Rampura Phul Tahsil of Bathinda district) also came to prominence.
It was because of his motivation that Shree Ram Singh and Shree Sham Singh, village Joga, Mansa Tehsil of Bathinda district (where the Central University of Punjab is located) laid down their lives for the freedom of our country from the British rule. Therefore it would be certainly an honour for Central University of Punjab, Bathinda to establish the chair dedicated to Baba Satguru Ram Singh.
The areas of studies of this chair would be the formation of Namdhari sect, evolution of beliefs and practices and its relation with the contemporary cults and sects. Main emphasis would be on religious, socio-cultural, political and demographic status of the movement especially in the Malwa region. Collection of archival data and literature would be the main focus of this chair. In addition the chair would perform many other academic functions like to strengthen the role of Universities/Academic in comparative study in religions, sects, cults, National Unity and Integration.
|Prof. Kuldeep Singh, Chairperson Baba Satguru Ram Singh Chair|