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Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving

State of the Panth, Report 8

Friday
,
14
January
2022

Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving

State of the Panth, Report 8

Friday
,
14
January
2022
State of the Panth
Philanthropy
Sikh Panth
⟵ Back to articles

Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving

State of the Panth, Report 8

Friday
,
14
January
2022

As the world becomes more interconnected, we understand how some have an abundance of monetary wealth, and others do not, and the more we understand the various needs unaddressed in our backyards and abroad.

As the world becomes more interconnected, we understand how some have an abundance of monetary wealth, and others do not, and the more we understand the various needs unaddressed in our backyards and abroad. People want to give. People need to give. But do we understand what it means to give?

This report aims to understand and explore what it means to give in a Sikh context, how giving is conceptualized and understood through Sikh history, and how it is understood and practiced today.The report analyzes ideas conveyed in the Nam-Dan-Isnan (Identifying-Giving-Cleansing) doctrine from a Gurmat (or Guru’s Way) perspective, as inferred from Bani (wisdom), Tavarikh (history), and Rahit (lifestyle).

The Bani section explores Nam-Dan-Isnan as it is found in primary and secondary texts. The Tavarikh section traces and analyzes conceptions of giving, both charity and philanthropy, from their beginnings with Guru Nanak Sahib through their development, institutionalization, and application through time and context over 553 years — covering the Guru Period, the Khalsa Raj, the Sikh Empire, the Sikhs and the Crown, and the Sikhs and the Indian State. The Rahit section explores present-day understandings and application of Nam-Dan-Isnan doctrine in Sikh institutions and organizations across India and the diaspora. It explores the following questions: How are Sikh organizations spending their money? Is there more of an emphasis on short-term charity or long-term philanthropy and institution-building? What is the relationship between homeland and diaspora in the context of giving?

A global survey, included in the report, was responded to by more than 700 self-identified Sikhs from 23 different countries. Its purpose was to gain insight into Sikh understandings of giving, especially regarding its application in the current realities and needs of the Panth (Sikh collective). The majority of respondents (59%) said that impact and outcomes most inform their perspective on the effectiveness of Sikh nonprofits, followed by public relations and social media, and transparency. The majority of respondents (56%) said that Sikh nonprofits do not do enough to stay accountable to the Panth and expressed a desire to see philanthropic projects that address the long-term needs of the community.

This report makes recommendations based on Gurmat to help individuals and institutions better understand giving within the Nam-Dan-Isnan doctrine. It also provides criteria that individuals and institutions can use to evaluate nonprofit organizations from a Gurmat perspective.

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Revised:

This Content has been made available for educational purposes only. SikhRI does not make any representation concerning the completeness of the Content. This Content is not intended to substitute research or a deeper understanding of the topic. SikhRI encourages readers to read multiple authors to gain a complete understanding of the topic.

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Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving - Report

This report aims to understand and explore what it means to give in a Sikh context, how giving is conceptualized and understood through Sikh history, and how it is understood and practiced today.

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Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving - Report

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Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving - Report Checklist

This is a download of the checklist that was designed for the State of the Panth report "Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving."

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Dan: Sikhi, Nonprofits & Giving - Raw Data

A global survey, included in the report, was responded to by more than 700 self-identified Sikhs from 23 different countries. Its purpose was to gain insight into Sikh understandings of giving, especially regarding its application in the current realities and needs of the Panth (Sikh collective).

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Written By

Senior Fellow, Research & Policy

Harinder Singh is the Senior Fellow at the Sikh Research Institute. He holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University, an MS in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas, and an MPhil from Punjab University in the linguistics of the Guru Granth Sahib. 

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Research Associate

Jasleen Kaur is a Research Associate at the Sikh Research Institute. She has received a Religious Studies B.A./M.A. from the University of Virginia, focusing on South Asian Religions through the lens of literature and poetry.

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