Brandon Sikh community supports study of human rights

November 13, 2020

A women and four men stand, spaced apart, in front of a building. Between the second and third men is a sign that says Clark Hall
From left to right, Harpreet Kaur Dhak, Brandon University President Dr. David Docherty, Ramjit Singh Mann, Sukhbir Singh Minhas and Dr. Nasib Singh Randhawa pose in front of Clark Hall prior to gathering restrictions. Dhak, Mann, Minhas and Dr. Randhawa are representatives of the Brandon Sikh community, which has made a donation for the creation of a new scholarship honouring Guru Tegh Bahadur.

A new scholarship founded by the local Sikh community will support Brandon University (BU) students who demonstrate an interest in studying human rights issues.

Seventeen members of the Brandon’s Sikh community have raised $11,520 to date to establish a scholarship in honour of Guru Tegh Bahadur, a key leader in the history of Sikhism. The scholarship, valued at approximately $500 annually, will be awarded in alternating years to students in BU’s Sociology and Gender and Women’s Studies programs who have demonstrated high academic performance in courses that deal with the subject of human rights.

Known as the “Shield of India,” Guru Bahadur traveled extensively throughout India, spreading his mission of human rights, before he was executed in 1675 for refusing to renounce Sikhism. His martyrdom is celebrated each year on Nov. 24.

“Guru Tegh Bahadur sacrificed his life for the human rights and dignity of humankind,” said Ramjit Mann, one of the leaders of the effort to create the scholarship. “This scholarship would present an opportunity to recognize and raise awareness about human rights violations around the world. Sikhs are strong believers in education and believe that all humankind has the right to education. We feel our small contributions toward establishing the Guru Tegh Bahadur Scholarship for Human Rights is one of the best ways to help youth in education.

“The knowledge or wisdom gained through education would be applied to the welfare of humanity.”

This is the second BU scholarship initiated by Brandon’s Sikh community in recent years. In 2015 they raised funds for an endowment to create a scholarship honouring Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. Initially funding a scholarship of approximately $1,400 per year, the endowment for the Guru Nanak Dev Scholarship has grown to the point that it now generates an annual award of more than $1,900 for a student who shows significant academic merit and community service through volunteering.

“We are very grateful to Mr. Mann and his fellow donors for their generous support of Brandon University students,” said Carla Eisler, Director of Advancement and Alumni Affairs at BU. “Their contributions help to give our students a strong foundation and provide enlightenment on important issues in our society.”