Sunday, September 25, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

GURDWARA SAHIB KAJANG, SELANGOR

Jalan Sungei Chua, 43000 Kajang, Selangor

In the early 1880s, the earliest Sikh pioneers who settled near Kajang were two brothers, Sardar Bhan Singh (later appointed the first Sikh Justice of the Peace in the State of Selangor in 1920) and his younger brother, Sardar Dhan Singh (the author's father). They were from Village Dalla, Tehsil Jagraon, Ludhiana, Punjab. They established their bullock cart transport service after obtaining a lucrative contract to fill up the marshy land where the present High Court Building in Kuala Lumpur stands. They employed Sikhs as bullock cart drivers and for general labour. By the early 1900s, both brothers had established the Guru Nanak Rubber Estate at the 9th Mile Jalan Cheras, Ulu Langat, that was over 500 acres in size. A considerable number of Sikhs were employed by the estate as security guards, cooks and for general labour.

Due to the efforts of Sardar Bhan Singh J.P. and Sardar Dhan Singh, a piece of land in the town of Kajang, District Ulu Langat was gazetted vide Gazette Notification Number 5674 as a Sikh Temple Reserve by the Resident of Selangor on 4th November 1921. The size of the land is 2 Roods 24 Poles Plan Number 13,409 Lot No. 5 Section No. 13.

The site of the Gurdwara Sahib land was formerly a swamp. After the land had been allocated, a small group of Sikhs objected to the building of the Gurdwara Sahib, Kajang. While the Sikhs were trying to sort out their differences, a group of Punjabi `Musalmans' assisted the Sikhs by offering the use of their bullock carts, free of charge, to fill up the swampy ground.
In 1922, the Sikh Sangat in Kajang and surrounding areas donated generously to build the Gurdwara Sahib. The Gurdwara Sahib building was a single storey wooden structure with concrete pillars and a tiled roof. It was completed by the end of 1922. The design of the Gurdwara Sahib Kajang building was quite similar to that of the Gurdwara Sahib Serdang.

In the early 1920's, the main water pipeline existed up to the town of Kajang only. Sardar Bhan Singh and Dhan Singh, at their own expense, extended the pipeline from the main pipeline in Kajang to the Gurdwara Sahib premises, which was nearly a half a mile away.

Bhai Bhag Singh of village Kot Kror served as a Granthi in this Gurdwara Sahib for more than 10 years from the late 1930s to the 1940s. In 1970, the old Gurdwara Sahib building was in a state of disrepair and was the refore demolished. The new Gurdwara Sahib, which is a single storey brick building, was constructed in 1970 at a cost of RM45,000.00 out of which RM25,000.00 was donated by the Selangor State Government. There is one room available for visitors who may wish to stay in the Gurdwara Sahib.

The Management Committee comprises of the President, Secretary, Treasurer and their assistants as well as eight committee members. There are presently around 150 Sikh families who participate in the religious activities in this Gurdwara Sahib and 15 Sikh students who attend Punjabi classes, four times a week.

The weekly prayers are held on Sunday mornings from 7.30a.m. to 9.00a.m. during which the Asa di War Kirtan is recited. Religious programmes are held as and when necessary at the request of the Sangat. Sikh Naujawan programmes are held on Monday evenings from 7.00p.m. to 8.30p.m. The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Sikh students also participate in this Gurdwara Sahib's programmes.

The author is grateful to Sardar Kehar Singh of village Fatehgarh Karotana, Moga and Sardar Meja Singh of village Kala who provided some of the information on the early history of the Kajang Gurdwara Sahib.

(Note: In August 2001, the Gurdwara Sahib Kajang Development Committee was established. It is now in the process of acquiring the land adjacent to the Gurdwara Sahib known as Allotment 5, Section 13 Jalan Raja Hishamuddin (Jalan Sungei Chua), Kajang. This acquisition is expected to be finalised by the beginning of 2004. The Kajang Sikh Centre, a 4 storey building, is expected to be built on this land at a later date. Once completed, it will include a multipurpose hall, a hostel for students from nearby Universities and Colleges, a career guidance center, Sikh Museum and a library. This project is expected to cost more than RM3,000,000.00. This amount includes the cost of the land, which is RM833,000.00).

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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