KHĀLSĀ PRACHĀRAK VIDYĀLĀ, TARN TĀRAN, an institution established in 1906 by the Khālsā Dīwān Mājhā. From its inception in 1904, the setting up of centres in the rural areas to conduct worship services and reform programmes among villagers had constituted a vital part of the Dīwān's mission. The new organizational structure in turn required preparation of specialists who, well versed in Sikh theology, history and kīrtan, could meet the needs of the masses. Following lengthy discussions and detailed planning, a committee comprising Sardār Sant Siṅgh of Rasūlpur, Risāldār Basant Siṅgh of Naushahrā Pannūāṅ, Bhāī Nihāl Siṅgh of Kairoṅ, Bābā Diāl Siṅgh of Kairoṅ, Bhāī Īshar Siṅgh of Ḍhoṭīāṅ, and Bhāī Mohan Siṅgh Vaid of Tarn Tāran, was formed to establish a school, the Khālsā Prachārak Vidyālā, at Tarn Tāran, to train Sikh preachers.

         The Vidyālā opened on 6 November 1906 and began instruction of young men in Buṅgā Bahoṛū attached to Srī Darbār Sāhib, Tarn Tāran. Although members of the advisory committee gave considerable part of their time to administering the institution and raising funds for it, Bhāī Īshar Siṅgh devoted his lifetime to it and became its headmaster and manager. Bhāī Mohan Siṅgh Vaid was the secretary and honorary lecturer in medicine. The curriculum included a two year course on Sikh religion, comparative study of religious history of the Punjab and Sikhs, elementary knowledge of medicine (hikmat), Braj Bhāshā, kathā or exposition of the Sikh texts, and kīrtan or recitation with music. Khālsā Dīwān Mājhā also moved its headquarters from Kairoṅ to Tarn Tāran early in 1907 and the school came under its direct supervision. A year later, the Dīwān amalgamated itself with the Chief Khālsā Dīwān, and the Vidyālā became part of the network of educational institutions that was developing in the Punjab under the aegis of the central body.

         The expanding role of the Vidyālā in Sikh affairs soon necessitated purchase of separate facilities for training students. Land was secured at the present site, on the outskirts of Tarn Tāran, and then a sustained effort was made to secure funds for the construction of a suitable building. The Chief Khālsā Dīwān generated some funds, as did special appeals at annual sessions of the Sikh Educational Conference. The bulk of the building costs, however, came from local donations and especially those collected by Master Īshar Siṅgh on numerous trips through South East Asia.

         The rāgīs and prachāraks trained in the Vidyālā soon earned respect for themselves and for their alma mater, as evidenced by the incessant pressure on the school to provide touring groups for virtually every religious occasion.

         During the last century or so the Vidyālā has continued to expand and to incorporate new programmes. Classes for Giānī and Budhīmān examinations have been added to the old curriculum. Free lodging is given to young Sikhs studying to become rāgīs and granthīs. In 1973, the Srī Gurū Har Krishan Public School became part of the institution, thus combining religious education with preparation of the Sikh youth for many aspects of modern life. A local committee manages the two institutions under the auspices of the Chief Khālsā Dīwān.

Jagjīt Siṅgh