Tuesday, December 06, 2016
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GURDWARA SAHIB BUKIT MERTAJAM, PENANG

(No longer exists) circa 1940's

The Gurdwara Sahib Bukit Mertajam was built after the Second World War. The building was a single storey wooden structure with a zinc roof. It was located in Jalan Stowell opposite the Bukit Mertajam railway station. A Government contractor, Babu Massa Singh, donated most of the material for the building.

Bukit Mertajam is a railway junction town for the main railway line as well as the branch line to Padang Besar and Thailand. The Sikhs employed by Malayan Railways used to stop over at the Bukit Mertajam Gurdwara Sahib to rest and pray. The management of this Gurdwara Sahib was under the care of Babu Jawala Singh Baduwal of Malayan Railways, who was also its only President.

The local Sikhs used to travel either to the Gurdwara Sahib Butterworth or the Gurdwara Sahib Perai for various religious functions (jormelas). The weekly Karah Parshad was prepared at the Bukit Mertajam Gurdwara Sahib until 1949.

Due to the communist emergency, the Sikh Railway Police used to go to Gurdwara Sahib Perai to rest.

In the early 1950's, the Gurdwara Sahib building was converted into two small houses. The rental received from these houses was given to Gurdwara Sahib Perai until 1999. At this date, these houses were demolished to make way for development. The compensation received for these two houses was also given to Gurdwara Sahib Perai.

Babu Jawala Singh Baduwal was also active in other railway Gurdwara Sahibs such as Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, Railway Gurdwara Sahib Ipoh as well as Gurdwara Sahib Perai where he was elected as President.

(Note: Sardar Malkiat Singh Lopo-Dhaliwal from Perai has very kindly provided the information on the Gurdwara Sahib Bukit Mertajam.)

Courtesy:
Sikh Gurudwaras in Malaysia&Singapore
Saran Singh Sidhu AMN,PNM,FRNS

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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