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Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is one of the oldest and topmost universities of India. A society with the name The Hindu University Society was registered on 15th December, 1911 for the establishment of the BHU. A large sum of money was required to set up this university. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, a key member of the Hindu University Society, issued an appeal on 15th July, 1911 for donations of one crore of rupees. The Sikhs responded favourably to this appeal. When the Hindu University delegation visited Punjab cities, the Sikh Sangats warmly welcomed the delegation and made generous contributions. Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha made a donation of Rs. 1,00, 000. Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala donated Rs. 10, 000 and also sanctioned a recurring grant of Rs. 6, 000 per annum to support a Chair on Agricultural Botany. Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of Patiala made a donation of Rs. 5,00,000 for teaching in the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering. He also gave a recurring grant of Rs. 24, 000 per annum. The Banaras University Act was passed on 1st October, 1915. About a year before the passing of this Act, the Hindu University Society decided to make a beginning of the University by laying the foundation of Sanskrit College by a Sikh saint Sant Attar Singh Mastuane Vaale (1866-1927). In May, 1914 Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya went to Punjab to invite Sant Attar Singh personally. As a mark of respect to Sant Attar Singh and caring little for summer heat, Pandit Malaviya removed his shoes at Sangrur railway station and walked bare-foot on the sandy and hot road for about 8 kms to reach the Ashram of Sant Attar Singh at Mastuana. After reaching, he conveyed to Sant Attar Singh the request of the Hindu University Society for laying the foundation and requested him to perform five Akhand Paths (non-stop recitations) of Guru Granth Sahib before the foundation ceremony. Sant Attar Singh agreed to reach Banaras a few days before the foundation laying ceremony to be held on 24th December, 1914. Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha, brought Sant Attar Singh to Banaras by his private royal train. Near the site, where the foundation of Sanskrit College was to be laid, a beautiful open 'pandal' was erected and continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib (Akhandpaths) for 10 days was done in a special tent. After performing of 'Ardas' (Sikh Religious Prayer), Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner brought the building material in a silver 'tagari' (plate). Maharaja Prabhu Narayan of Kashi State offered 11 gold bricks. Sant Attar Singh with a golden 'krandi' put lime in the foundation (buniad) of Sanskrit college and placed 11 gold bricks on the lime. After the ceremony, the Maharaja of Kashi requested Sant Attar Singh to stay at Kashi for one week. Out of great respect for Sant Attar Singh, he requested him to sit on his throne on which he never sat considering it a seat of Lord Vishwanath. On the occasion of the foundation laying ceremony, a Hindu saint of Niranjani Akhara, Asi Ghat Bhadaini, composed a poem which was later published. One line of the poem was "Hindu University neev pawitar Attar Hari ne dhari kar se" (the foundation of the Banaras Hindu University was laid with the hands of Sant Attar Singh Ji"). The above account of the foundation laying ceremony is based on the description given in the book "Jiwan Katha, Gurmukh Piare Sant Attar Singh Ji Maharaj, Part I" (Life story of Gurmukh Piare Sant Attar Singh Ji Maharaj) written by Sant Teja Singh (M.A. Punjab, L.L.B. Punjab, A.M. Harward, U.S.A.). After the passing of the BHU Act on 1st October, 1915, the foundation-stone laying ceremony of the BHU was performed by the British Viceroy Lord Hardinge on February 4, 1916. A fortnight before this ceremony, religious ceremonies were started which continued till the evening of February 8, 1916. These ceremonies included Sikh religious ceremonies too. An Akhand Path (non-stop recitation) of Guru Granth Sahib was performed near the site where foundation-stone laying ceremony was to be conducted. The foundation ceremony of 4th February was followed by lectures by distinguished experts on 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th February. The closing function on 8th of February, 1916 consisted of religious ceremonies which again included Sikh religious ceremonies. Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha attended the closing function in person. At 3:00 PM in the afternoon Bhai Arjun Singh and Sant Amar Singh made recitations from Guru Granth Sahib in the School Hall. These recitations were followed by an address by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in Hindi on the Hindu religion in general and Guru Granth Sahib in particular. The Banaras University Act, passed on 1st October, 1915, came into force on 1st April, 1916. As per this Act, 14 heads of local administrations in British India became Ex-officio Patrons of the University whereas 18 Ruling Princes or Chiefs were appointed to be the Patrons of the University. These Patrons included two Sikh Maharajas, namely, Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha and Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala. Further, as per the Act, highest governing body named as Court was constituted for the university. After the inclusion of the names of the elected members on August 12, 1916, the total strength of the Court became 140 members and out of these, the following 8 were Sikhs: 1. Maharaja Ripudaman Singh of Nabha 2. Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala 3. Sardar Bachan Singh, Education Minister, Nabha 4. Bhai Arjun Singh of Bagrian, District Ludhiana 5. Baba Gurbaksh Singh Bedi of Kullar, District Rawalpindi 6. Major-Genral Bakshi Puran Singh of Kapurthala 7. Dewan Lilaram Singh of Hyderabad (Sindh) 8. Bhai Sardul Singh, Editor, Sikh Review, Delhi Presently, the Court consists of only 51 members out of which 30 are nominated by the President of India. In December, 2005, the then President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, nominated the author of this article as the Member of the Court of BHU for a period of three years (2006-2008).
Baba ji used to observe: "Advancement of Sikhs will take concrete shape only when all get up at 3am and perform worship as ordered by the Satgurus” "All have got great desire that the Sikhs should make advancement in all directions. But please do remember and firmly believe that this can be possible only when in the first place, each day, early morning at 3am you all get up from your beds, sounds of taking baths on the wells etc, of the village and cities are heard and then melodious sounds of "Sat Naam " are heard on all sides....." "The primary Dharmic duty of every man is to repeat the Name just as the clock goes on striking "tick, tick." Every Sikh should attach his mind with each breath with the Name." Again, again, and again remember God. Drink this Nectar (of the Naam) and satiate the thirst of the mind and the body. Please take care of every breath. Do not allow any breath to go waste." "The word 'Prem' means that the devotee "leave I-am-ness". He leaves his self and gets fully absorbed in the object of love. Such should be the love of the devotee for the Satguru. Such love attracts the attention of the beloved automatically, without using any words or outwardly ways of communication. The Satguru, then comes to the assistance of the true devotee."