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Press Release

November 22, 2010
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SikhRI & Ensaaf Team Up for Children

"Our objective for the lesson plan is to not only present the facts, but also to help children process the complex reactions that often arise from studying such violent events."—Ensaaf

(Seattle, WA) Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI) and Ensaaf are pleased to announce the launch of a jointly produced lesson plan aimed at educating 6th to 8th grade Sikhs on an important chapter in Sikh history: The Ghallughara—the massacre—of 1984. The Indian Army attack on the Golden Temple and 41 other Gurdwaras was carried out on June 6th, the martyrdom anniversary of the fifth Sikh Guru, and one of the most celebrated religious holidays in the Sikh calendar. The Gurdwara attacks, and the subsequent executions by the Army, are believed to have killed thousands of individuals, the majority of which were Sikh pilgrims.

Ensaaf approached the project from a human rights perspective, ensuring historical accuracy of the information provided to students, and SikhRI contributed its innovative educational approach to the plan's design, which emphasizes hands-on interactive activities.

"Our objective for these lesson plans is to not only present the facts," said Jasmine Marwaha, Program Associate at Ensaaf, "but also to help children process the complex reactions that often arise from studying such violent events."

In addition to interactive activities, the lesson plan relies on Gurbani by presenting a Sabad in detail and discussing the principles of justice espoused by the Sikh Gurus. Group discussion, meditative writing, poetry, and opportunities for artistic creation also offer means for students to channel their reactions to the 1984 attacks. For each activity, guides and supplementary materials are provided to teachers.

In response to the success of the project, SikhRI and Ensaaf plan to continue their partnership to design a more in-depth lesson plan targeted at high school students.

On November 13th, Jasmine Kaur, SikhRI's Director of Education and Harliv Kaur, a developer of educational materials for SikhRI, facilitated the first live run of the lesson plan at the Sikh Center of San Antonio. Participants, instructors, and community members ended the workshop in the divan hall, singing and reflecting on the Sabad that had been taught as a component of the day's lesson. Jasmine Kaur responded to the success of the day's event: "Sikh children are eager to engage with their history, and the dynamic activities of this lesson plan create a safe place to learn the facts and react to the emotions that 1984 brings up."

To download The Sikh Ghallughara Lesson Plan for Grades 6-8, as well as supplemental teacher resources visit the Sikh Educators Network. If you are not a member yet, you will need to join the Network for access to these and other exciting materials. Becoming a member is free and easy, so sign up today to start enjoying all the benefits of the Sikh Educators Network community!