When sins soil the soul,
Prayer alone shall make it whole,
Words do not the saint or sinner make,
Action alone is written in the book of fate.
The way to permanent peace.
It was the beginning of the 20th century and India’s struggle for freedom was at its peak. There was suffering all around and not a ray of hope was at hand to eliminate the avalanche of pain. In the year 1906, the legendary saint of his time, Sant Attar Singh Ji, envisioned the creation of a higher humanity through the blend of moral and modern scientific education. To establish permanent peace and bring solace to all beings, he conceptualized this mission statement:
To establish permanent peace in the world through value-based education and spiritual rejuvenation creating good global citizens.
To translate Sant Attar Singh Ji’svision into reality, his Harvard educated devotee Sant Teja Singh Ji, in 1956, revealed the hither to unknown Tapo Bhumi, a meditation site, ensconced in the midst of seven mountains in the pristine environment of Himachal Pradesh.
This was Baru Sahib, the valley of Divine Peace.
Sant Teja Singh Ji traveled around the world and broadened the context of the vision. In the early 60’s, he laid the foundation of The Kalgidhar Society.Taking the lead further, Baba Iqbal Singh Ji, in 1986, settled down in Baru Sahib after completing a distinguished innings as the Director of Agriculture of Himachal Pradesh. Thus began the brick by brick building of this glorious organization, from mere 6 students in 1987 to 60,000 today. In 1987, he started the first educational institute, the Akal Academy, a residential, co-educational school, under the aegis of The Kalgidhar Society. Today, The Kalgidhar Society is a charitable organization that supports education, healthcare, social welfare and relief and rehabilitation by building schools, hospitals and welfare centers in rural India. The Society annually benefits the lives of more than 500,000 people of rural, backward and underprivileged in remote areas of Northern India.
The Akal Academy has evolved into a network of 129 Akal Academies, where around 60,000 students are being imparted quality education. The Society is focused on rural areas, where it is difficult to find quality educational institutes. Moreover, parents can hardly support the education of their wards. So, it is the Society that has to motivate and even sponsor the child’s learning. All the Akal Academies are run on subsidies provided by The Kalgidhar Society, where the facilities of E-Classrooms have been provided in the rural areas. The recent establishment of IB School at Baru Sahib is the first IB School in Northern India apart from National Capital Region, Delhi.
The education of the girl child is high on the organization’s agenda. The Society not only sponsors the education of underprivileged rural girls but also takes care of their boarding, lodging and even higher education, addressing the burning social issues such a female feticide and infanticide. Besides the Elementary Teacher Training, these girls are also given training in stitching and tailoring. The entire program is FREE of cost and The Kalgidhar Society bears expenses of boarding, lodging and training, which comes to about Rs. 60,000/- per student per year.
The Society emphasizes on imparting moral and value-based education, blending it with modern scientific knowledge, because scientific study in isolation, the society believes, becomes the root cause of mass destruction.
Music, culture and tradition have always been a part of eternal play. The Society started the divine college of music, resurrecting ancient musical instruments, which were devised and used by the Gurus. Today, the Society is home to a 32-member string or chestra. Students, with their sincerity and dedication, play soul-stirring and vibrating music to give us a true spiritual experience.
The focus of The Kalgidhar Society today is Punjab.As the food basket of India is going through another unproductive phase. The Society, through its various initiatives, is helping Punjabis to acquire knowledge to distinguish between right from wrong.Under the project NVLV, that is ‘no village left behind’, The Kalgidhar Society aims to take value-based quality education to 12763 villages in Punjab. Donors approach the Society and donate land foropening branches of Akal Academy in their respective villages, so that they can have their share of education and prosperity. Almost invariably, the district topperin the CBSE examination is anAkal Academian. Our alumni from villages have gone to CASA to become astronaut, cleared IIT with All India ranks of even 65 and placed in MNCs. Each student of Akal Academy is a role model, who influences the life of 35 to 40 people around him. They help in building a drug-free society by organizing anti-drug rallies and influencing their families. More than 8150 alumni of Akal Academies studying in various countries are today messengersof peace.
The free education scheme of The Kalgidhar Society is benefitting hundreds of rural poor students, especially the children of Granthis.
About one-third of people of India, particularly those living in tribal areas, have a critical health status. Long distances have to be covered to avail even the most basic medicine facilities. The Kalgidhar Society has established Akal Charitable Hospital, a 280-bed hospital in the remote rural hilly areas of Himachal Pradesh, to provide integrated health services to neglected communities.In addition to the routine services, the hospital organizes free medical camps five times a year. More than 6927 patients benefit from each of these camps, in which specialists from different parts of India and abroad, volunteer their services virtually at their door steps.
Under the green initiative, solar plants have been installed at Baru Sahib and other branches of Akal Academy. In future, Baru Sahib is to be transformed into a solar valley. The tree-plantation drive on a large scale has been taken up by the students in all Akal Academies.
Baba Iqbal Singh Ji and his team are well aware of the growing epidemic of drug abuse in Punjab. Through de-addiction centers at Cheema and Jharon, the Society is trying its best to counter it. These centers have a success rate of 70% because of the inherent spiritual component. This makes thesede-addiction centre the most sought after by the affected rural folk of Punjab. Till date, the centers have successfully treated 2400 patients. It has helped in controlling vices among the rural folks and is bringing down the crime rate, conflicts, mitigations, marital discord and exploitation of women.
With a population of about 400 million, Northern India is the most socially deprived region of India. The Kalgidhar Society lays a special focus on its welfare programs. The Society runs an orphanage at BaruSahib and a home for the elderly, where in more than 200 hundred underprivileged aged men and women are provided with their daily needs, food, clothing, medical services and lodging, so that they can spend their twilight years in safe, secure, comfortable and serene surroundings in this valley of divine peace.
The home for widows and destitute women imparts vocational training in various fields to make them self-dependent.
The Kalgidhar Society’s initiative for higher education, Eternal University, established at Baru Sahib in 2008 to impart value-based education in arts, sciences, nursing, engineering and technology, divine music, spiritualism and public health, is a world class multi-faculty university with 24 programs and schools spread over 8,00,000 sq. ft. The University is developing outstanding engineers, scientists, administrators, teachers and global citizens with high moral values to act as messengers of peace. Eternal University has proven itself as the safest campus for Girls, especially College of Nursing, where international conferences are organized annually.
Akal University Guru ki Kashi
The Kalgidhar Society’s second university, Akal University Guru ki Kashi at Damdama Sahib in Bathinda district of Punjab, is the new project of 500 crores. Akal University has been established as per the divine prediction of Guru kiKashi by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Its first session is on after its inauguration in July 2015. The first phase of the project was completed in 24 months with 6,50,000 sqft of built-up space. Akal University offers Bachelors as well as Masters degrees in Economics, Commerce, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, English, Punjabi and Music. In a first, Akal University would also offer Bachelor with Honors in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Studies.
The sustenance of all philanthropic projects of The Kalgidhar Society depends on the support of selfless worldwide benefactors. Volunteers, sponsors, full-time employees and donors – all join handsto become an integral part of this noble task of bringing about the welfare of humanity.
The chanting at AmritVela in Darbar Sahib, is a major source of inspiration for the students as well as the staff. The Society, through its specially designed projects like Sehaj Paath, Anahad Bani, Dhur ki Bani, daily telecast of three and half hour on national channel, prays for peaceful coexistence of various faiths and for the well-being of the entire universe.
The Kalgidhar Society is an unassuming fountain-head that is exploring silently towards advancing all aspects of life – education, health, socio economic uplift and empowerment, particularly of the women, leading to the establishment of permanent peace in the world.
Eternal Global University
Eternal Global University is another initiative of The Kalgidhar Trust aimed at reaching out to the youth.
Incorporated in the American state of Maryland, the University undertakes a historic step to educate approximately 2 million Sikhs in North America and 30 million worldwide online. Eternal Global University offers courses in Sikh Scripture and Philosophy, Divine Music and Spirituality, Comparative Religion, Sikh Ministries and Management, Sikh Pastoral Care and Counseling as also Value-based Sikh Youth Education.
~ R. S. Chadha
~ Baru Sahib