By Ranjit Singh
MALAYSIA: Holla Mahala, the Sikh martial festival which is celebrated in a set of games in Malaysia, will kick-off on March 14.
Organised by the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), a Kuala Lumpur-based organisation, the annual games this year enters its 16th edition.
Among the games are badminton, athletics. telematches, kabaddi, soccer, netball, hockey, tug of war, carom, scrabble, chess, checkers and arm wresting.
The games are poised to attract 800 to 1,000 participants.
“We’re still receiving entry forms. Those interested to participate can contact their local gurdwaras,” SNSM exco member Jai Nanak Singh told the Asia Samachar.
The team from Gurdwara Sahib Pulapol emerged champions in last year’s games which saw 25 teams taking part. Gurdwara Sahib Tatt Khalsa Diwan emerged as the first runners up while Subang the second runners up.
Pulapol is short for Pusat Latihan Polis, Malay for police training centre. There is a gurdwara sahib housed inside the Kuala Lumpur police training centre.
Holla Mahalla (also spelt as Hola Mahalla) is a Sikh festival which takes place on the first lunar month of Chet which usually falls in March. This follows the Hindu festival of Holi.
However, unlike Holi during which people playfully sprinkle colour, dry or mixed in water, on each other, Guru Gobind Singh made it an occasion for the Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills in simulated battles, according to an entry in Encyclopaedia of Sikhism (Punjabi University, Patiala).
In Punjab, the event which normally lasts for weeks in Punjab consists of camping out and enjoying various displays of fighting prowess and bravery followed by kirtan, music and poetry.
The event was started by, the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji who started the Khalsa order in 1699 in Anandpur Sahib.
In Malaysia, SNSM launched an annual set of games in 2000 to celebrate the Holla Mahala.
Badminton and futsal will be held at KSL Sports Centremart, Setapak in Kuala Lumpur on March 15. Badminton will have two categories: under 16 and under 21. Futsal boys is for U12 and futsal girls for U21.
Athletics (under 12, 16 and 21) and telematches for children will be held on March 21 at Kompleks Sukan Bandar Sri Permaisuri, Kuala Lumpur. There will also be a kabaddi exhibition match on that day.
Most of the other games – soccer, netball, hockey, tug of war, carom, scrabble, chess, checkers and arm wrestling — will be held at Club Aman in Kuala Lumpur on March 22. – ASIA SAMACHAR (6 March 2015)
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
Hola Mahalla – Encyclopaedia of Sikhism (Asia Samachar, 6 March 2015)