50th Session of Punjab History Conference at Pbi Uni
The 50th Session of three days Punjab History Conference was organised by the Department of Punjab Historical Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala in the Senate Hall of the University. The theme of the conference was The Gurdwara Reform Movement: A Reassessment. The inaugural session of the conference was presided by Professor B.S. Ghuman, Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala. Professor Balwinderjit Kaur Bhatti, Head of the department introduced the audience with history of establishment of Punjab History Conference and theme of the present session of the conference. Professor Bhagwan Josh, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi delivered his Presidential Address on the theme Indian Nationalism and the Sikh Past. Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Deputy Director (Research), Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi was the Guest of Honour.
Professor Bhagwan Josh focussed his study on three leading Indian intellectuals, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindarnath Tagore and V.D. Savarkar who were attracted to the struggles of the Sikhs at the beginning of the movement for independence. He explained with the help of examples that how leading Indian thinkers returned to Sikh past and included in defining the Indian National movement. They seemed to believe that no other branch of literature can inspire people, awaken their self respect and bring high aspirations into their hearts as could the national history. These three appropriations of the Sikh history underline the idea of sacrifice and fearlessness for the cause of India’s liberation. Professor Josh highlighted that there was huge difference in eastern and western philosophy in terms of freedom struggle and sacrifice. He recited the poem of Tagore based on Sikh sacrifice which was translated by Surjeet Pattar with the help of his Bengali friend Pradeep Bose. In his address he laid stressed on the point that Sikhs overcome the fear of punishment, imprisonment but had fear of God. In this way he traced relevance of Ghadar Movement, Swadeshi Movement and Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence with Sikh history.
Dr. K.T.S. Sarao, Professor and Head, Department of Buddhist Studies, Delhi University, Delhi delivered Professor Sita Ram Kohli Memorial Lecture on the theme Baku’s Fire Temple, Bābā Nānak, and the Udāsī Sampradāya. On this occasion, the publications of the Department : The Proceedings of the forty ninth session of Punjab History Conference; one issue of The Panjab Past and Present and the ‘Sita Ram Kohli Memorial Lecture’ of the previous session were released. In this Golden Jubilee Session well known historian Professor Kirpal Singh and Professor G.S. Nayyar were specially honoured by the department. The General President, the Sectional Presidents Dr. Shyam Narayan Lal (Professor), Department of History, University of Jammu, Jammu; Dr. Sulakhan Singh (Professor), Department of History, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar; Dr. Sukhmani Bal Riar (Professor) Department of History, Panjab University, Chandigarh; Dr. Harish K. Puri, (Professor Retd.) Department of Political Science, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar of Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Punjabi Sections respectively and the speaker of Sita Ram Kohli Memorial Lecture were honoured by Professor B.S. Ghuman, Vice-Chancellor. He appreciated the efforts of the Department in conducting this conference in well organised manner and suggested the researchers of history to read history of the region in terms of national and international perspectives. The vote of thanks was proposed by Professor G.S. Batra, Dean Academic Affairs, Punjabi University, Patiala. Over two hundred delegates from different regions within and outside India participated in this conference.