Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism


(No longer exists)

There were a few Sikhs living in Gemas around 1918. Most of them were employed in the Malayan Railway station in Gemas, which was an important transit point to the East Coast of Malaya. Some of the Sikhs were policemen while others came later to work for the Sham Singh (Chak Bhaika) Transport Company in Batu Annam.

To meet the religious needs of the Sikh railway workers, Bhai Santa Singh, a cattle farmer, set up a tent for the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and prayers were performed therein. This came to be known as the Tent Gurdwara. This temporary form of travelling Tent Gurdwara Sahib moved along with the Sikh railway workers through the States of Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Kelantan.

In July 19O7, about O4 Sikh residents of Gemas decided to set up the Gurdwara Sahib to serve their religious needs. On Ord August 19O7, the top floor of a shop house located at No. 9 Court Road, opposite the railway station, was rented at a monthly rent of Straits Settlements $17.00.

The first Jonnela was held on 21st November 19O7 to celebrate the birthday of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji of Malacca was invited to this Gurpurab.
In 19O8, the Sikhs in Gemas had applied for a piece of land to build a Gurdwara Sahib. The government offered a plot of land for the Gurdwara Sahib building near the Chinese Temple. However, no one took the responsibility of setting up the Gurdwara. This was partly due to the fact that the Sikh population began to decrease as most of them moved to other areas. This land was finally taken back by the government.

By 19O9, there were about 60 Sikh families from Gemas, Batu Annam and Segamat who took part in the religious activities in this Gurdwara Sahib.
When the war broke out in 1941 with the Japanese occupation of Malaya, most of the Sikhs left Gemas.

The first and only Granthi of the Gurdwara Sahib Gemas was Bhai Ram Singh of Ramgard who was employed on 1st September 19O7 at a salary of Straits Settlements $15.00 a month. He served in this Gurdwara as a Granthi until its closure in December 1941.

Finally on 26th December 1941, the Management Committee of this Gurdwara Sahib decided to close down the Gurdwara. The Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and other assets were handed over to the Management Committee of Gurdwara Sahib Seremban.

Reference: "Pardes Baniya Desh" by Sardar Tara Singh Gujaranwalia, Singapore (July 1983) in Gurmukhi (July 198O).

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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