Khalsa Diwan Malaya
Khalsa Diwan Malaya
Singh Sabha Reform Organisation 1903
Was established on 27 December 1903 at Taiping at a divan at the gurdwara of the Malaya State Guides celebrating the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh. The Khalsa Diwan was assigned to promoting Sikh religion, managing Sikh temples or Gurdwaras in Malaya, securing the educational advancement of the Sikh youth and to providing facilities for the teaching of Punjabi language. An executive committee consisting of 21 members from different towns from Alor Star (6°-07’N, 100°-22’E) in the north to Kuala Lumpur (3°-09’N, 101°-43’E) in the south was elected.
The members of the Khalsa Diwan were expected to be amridhari Sikhs maintaining the five symbols of the Khalsa and subscribing to the tenets of the faith. A missionary fund was opened to provide for a cadre of preachers and scripture-readers. Sikh scholars and lecturers were invited from India to address the religious divans and a series of tracts and pamphlets on Sikhism was launched.
In 1925, the Diwan obtained legal recognition for Sikh marriages solemnized under the Indian Anand Marriage Act. In 1933 was convened a Sikh women’s conference which led to the establishment of the Malaya Istri Satsang. On 24 September 1950, Guru Nanak Institution, a regular school with admission open to all communities, was started in Ipoh. The Khalsa Diwan Malaya was affiliated to the Chief Khalsa Diwan of Amritsar. It also retained its interest in the religious and political developments in the Punjab, which were often discussed at its periodical conferences. Differences of opinion on the questions of affiliation with the moderate Chief Khalsa Diwan and the lukewarm attitude of the executive of the Khalsa Diwan Malaya towards the Kamagata Maru sufferers led to the establishment of a separate Khalsa Diwan at Selangor in January 1918. The rift was complete during the annual Sikh conference held jointly by the two Diwans in 1919 at Penang. The dissident groups strongly disapproved of the Chief Khalsa Diwans progovernment views on the Jalliahvala Bagh massacre and opposed the executive’s proposal to remit its surplus funds to that Diwan. Kalgidhar Diwan Malaya as a parallel central body was established in place of the Khalsa Diwan Selangor. Annual conferences continued to be held jointly till 1927, but repeated efforts to reunite the two Diwans proved abortive.