AMRITSAR: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday kickstarted his 2-day visit to Amritsar, where he will lead the state-level Independence Day celebrations tomorrow, by dedicating to the people a slew of projects, including the prestigious Sant Prem Singh Murale Wale Chair here at the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU).

On his arrival at the GNDU campus, the Chief Minister inaugurated the Sant Prem Singh Murale Wale Chair, set up in memory of the great spiritual personality and eminent educationist with Rs 1 crore contributed by the state government in the current fiscal. The chair will be headed by a Professor along with three Research Assistants.

Captain Amarinder also inaugurated School of Education (Rs. 6.10 crore), Department of Mass Communication (Rs. 2.45 crore), Department of Hotel Management and Tourism (Rs. 3.30 crore), and laid the foundation stone of Golden Jubilee Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Rs. 3.50 crore) as well as a Shooting Range (Rs. 1.60 crore).

The Chief Minister hoped these projects would be instrumental in helping the University further cement its position amongst the best Universities in the country.

The Sant Prem Singh Murale Wale Chair, he said, will help scholars and researchers undertake extensive research on the life and philosophy of the great saint, who was a pioneer of the practice of imparting formal education at a time when education was not considered important. He expressed the confidence that the research done here would not remain confined to the University’s library but would be published as books etc to enable the world to know about the saint’s contribution and sacrifices. Pointing out that the Internet had made the world smaller and more connected, the Chief Minister said it was the duty of the current generation to ensure that the coming generations know about the great personalities who have shaped the country.

In response to concern expressed by Minister Tript Bajwa about paucity of funds, he said grants would be increased for such research. Bajwa, in his introductory remarks, had lamented that the chairs established in universities die their own death due to paucity of funds.

Lauding the enormous contribution of the Lubana community towards the spread of Sikhism, the Chief Minister said that the pivotal role played by the legendary devotees Makhan Shah Lubana and Lakhi Shah Vanjara, during the lifetime of ninth Sikh Guru Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib, would continue to inspire Punjabis.

Notably, Sant Prem ji established Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa Lubana School in 1921, and subsequently another school was established in the memory of the saint. Even today there are colleges being run by this religious group in Nadala and Begowal towns in Kapurthala district. Sant Prem was elected to the Punjab legislative assembly in 1937 and 1945, and remained a member of the SGPC from 1926 to 1950, playing a pro-active role in the Gurdwara Reforms Movement. After India’s partition, Sant ji came to Begowal and established a religious group under the name of Sant Bisan Singh. He passed away on June 2, 1950.

On the occasion, MLA Amritsar (West) Dr. Raj Kumar Verka proposed the vote of thanks. Others present on the occasion included Higher Education & Languages Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, MLA Tanda & working President PPCC Sangat Singh Gilzian, Member Parliament from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla, Vice Chancellor GNDU Dr. Jaspal Singh Sandhu and Prof. Sarbjinder Singh of Sant Prem Singh Murale Wale Chair.

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