Naujawan Sabha at the crossroads – Take Two

Opinion | Malaysia | 9 Aug 2016 | Asia Samachar | 
The letter to members announcing SNSM's 50th AGM to be held on 14 Aug 2016. On the agenda is, at Point 50.8, 'Election of Jathedar for 2016/2018' - PHOTO / ASIA SAMACHAR
The letter to members announcing SNSM’s 50th AGM to be held on 14 Aug 2016. On the agenda is, at Point 50.8, ‘Election of Jathedar for 2016/2018’ – PHOTO / ASIA SAMACHAR

By Jagdesh Singh

Come this Sunday, there will be a new Jathedar for the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), who will be tasked with the heavy responsibilities of steering the ship afloat very heavy currents.

Make no mistake, this new leader will definitely inherit the ongoing support it has garnered and enjoyed over the past five decades.

With its rich history comes heavy expectations from each generation of the community that it is responsible to serve for. Each of these generations will ask of the Sabha the very same every single year – to uplift the youth of Sikh families all over Malaysia and its neighbors and imbibe the teachings of our Gurus into their daily lives.

Our youth today face many different challenges, yet the salient teachings of our Gurus are no more relevant than the times of our generation and the generations before us. These teachings and practices have always been the panacea to these challenges, then and now.

SEE ALSO: SNSM to elect new Jathedar at AGM on Sunday

SEE ALSO: Naujawan Sabha is broke

SEE ALSO: Naujawan Sabha at a crossroads

In fact, many would argue, our youth probably need them now more than ever. But let’s be honest, that has always been the case for the generations before us.

For the Naujawan Sabha to maintain and sustain its mandate as set by our farsighted founders and pioneers, its outreach has to be appealing to the youth, attracting the youth is as vital as spreading the teachings of our Gurus to them.

To be appealing, the Sabha requires contemporary leaders who have their fingers on the pulse of the youth, leaders who are sensitive to the dynamics that attract and distract the youth, leaders who are sensitive to the fears and concerns of the youth, leaders who can speak the language of the youth. Without this, all the programs and all the infrastructure that we pour our energy, our heart and soul into, would be meaningless with a dwindling population of the Naujawan.

Although the teachings of our Gurus are as relevant as ever, the medium to spread these teachings, the approach that would appeal to the youth has to be in line with what the leaders are sensing from their sensitivities to the youth.

What worked even just as recently as five years back may seem out of fashion or backdated today, let alone what worked for the Sabha when it was formed in the 70s.

The trappings of peer pressure, alcohol and drug abuse, separated parents, abusive parents, sexual predators, addictions, getting lost in the virtual world and losing all sense of reality, and many more challenges faced by our youth are more acute today than ever before.

Sabha leaders will need to address these challenges to as many of our youth as possible, saving even a boy or a girl from any of them will already be any justification for Sabha’s existence. One of the proven ways to address these is education.

For our youth to navigate through their living nightmares and challenges, they need confidence that their decisions are the best ones by they make themselves. They need to learn about their surroundings and their environment, they need to know their own introspection, and they need to know about their own spirituality and what that means as they stand on both their feet. Education, be it from the formal systems in schools or from the informal communities surrounding them, is the key for them to attain the knowledge required for these challenges. Sabha needs to be at the forefront of providing platforms for our youth to access education, worldly and spiritually.

For Sabha to build and sustain these platforms of education, funds are needed. Money talks. Sabha has always been able to sustain its own income for it to run programs, providing education to the youth at many corners of the country. Their annual Samelans (Gurmat camps) are the only visible educational platforms that has grabbed attention over the years, but many other foundational programs and infrastructure has been laid over the past decades, each one requiring funds that Sabha could cough up whenever they needed to.

But the means to generate income as an NGO has always been a challenge for its leadership. Now, more than ever before, Sabha would need to make more money than before with the economic environment getting harsher by the day, and debts having doubled over the years. Perhaps extravagant programs over the years that didn’t really bear tangible results have finally caught up but it’s undeniable that funds need to be generated urgently.

Sabha would need to incorporate more strict and disciplined controls to ensure that the funds which have dried over the years be more prudently managed. Accountability and responsibility need to be clearly outlined with the new leadership team. Stewardship of funds must be second nature, reporting and documentation must happen in tandem. All ambitious projects that cost funds that do not exist or add on to the debts must be canceled or put on hold until the accounts are in the black.

Tis true that the new Jathedar and his leadership team will have inherited the support that will always be there, but they must always remember that the support is earned, just like respect. They must work hard to rebuilding the credibility of Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia.

This Sunday (14 Aug 2016), the Sanggat must be present and must ensure that their new Jathedar is ready to shoulder such huge expectations and responsibilities, the ultimate seva for our youth. The youth need to be represented.

Jagdesh-mugshot-1502Jagdesh Singh, a Kuala Lumpur-based executive with a US multinational company, is a father of three girls who are as opinionated as their mother


[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website:]


Dasam Granth Debate: The double edged sword (Asia Samachar, 4 Aug 2016)

Naujawan Sabha at a crossroads (Asia Samachar, 26 March 2016)

Too young to be an amritdhari? (Asia Samachar, 7 Jan 2016)

Samelan organising committee took a bold (Asia Samachar, 25 Dec 2015)

Looking for next Santokh for Malaysian football (Asia Samachar, 25 Oct 2015)

Granthis aren’t built like they used to anymore – JAGDESH (Asia Samachar, 6 April 2015)

Would it be so bad if I married a Muslim? – JAGDESH (Asia Samachar, 5 Mar 2015)



SNSM to elect new Jathedar at AGM on Sunday (Asia Samachar, 8 Aug 2016)

SNSM gets big waiver for Khalsa Land, 18 Selangor gurdwaras get funding (Asia Samachar, 16 July 2016)

Camp Report: Seremban Naujawans ‘awesome’ time at Khalsa Land (Asia Samachar, 12 July 2016)

Malaysian Sikh NGOs urged to tap Federal Govt funding, deadline 11 April (Asia Samachar, 19 March  2016)

Naujawan Sabha is broke (Asia Samachar, 14 March  2016)

We have long yearned for permanent Samelan premises (Asia Samachar, 22 Dec 2015)

Khalsa Land set to host Malaysia’s largest Gurmat camp (Asia Samachar, 19 Dec 2015)

SNSM AGM: Win back trust, scrutinise Khalsa Land samelan plan (Asia Samachar, 18 Oct 2015)

4 Malaysian Sikh NGOs receive RM950,000 Federal funding (Asia Samachar, 5 Aug 2015)


  1. Having seen some comments from the aspiring jathedaar,regards the ds nmbri koorh kitab and police threats to the Sikhs,under the penal code. the SNSM would be committing the final steps of suicide.

    The SNSM is a strong bastion of Sikhi, connected with the main stream.It has been the life line of the young Sikhs and the geater community.

    Perhaps, bad management and poor unskilled and clueless leadership as described by Sr BS Bhullar has led to the state it is in,but digging a deeper hole to bury what ever remains of it,would certainly be a murder of the not only the SNSM but the Sikhi of Guru Granth sahib and One panth in Malaysia.

    Having seen the last leadership,its antics and its infant style, it reminds me of the old Punjabi saying “tva na angari kahdi bhathiyaii”-a leader is only one who does not depend upon the next for overall leadership skill or quality.

    Thus, I was not surprised to read the headlines “SNSM is broke!”

    Now with a pro ds numbri kitab jathedar , it will not be broken, it will destroyed.Thus if the last leader or committee, and the those gathered could ensure that such declarations be taken in the divan in hazoori of Guru Grantrh sahib that their loyalty lies solely with Guru Granth sahib and current SRM ; and not the ds numbri koorh kitab and tksaali gondas.It is well known knowedge that this ds numbri supporter wants to start a wing of the murderous and false dum dummy tksaal in Malaysia.

    With aspirations like that should this person be standing for a Guru Granth sahib led Sikh sabha?

    Now is the time, to first reject this character from the penal code fame, before he is given an opportunity to officially end this SNSM and murder it for once and good.

    This reminds me of the saying “…tve nu ki haq a deghchi nu mehna mare kale hon da….”its no good blaming another, when YOU are part of building up that blame.

    Please, please do NOT live, to regret this major Sikh organisation being MURDERED in favour of the dubious ds nmbri book-and it’s mislead chellas.

    I sussed this man’s ignorance from his comment about the “hukamnama” ; which in actual fact is a general opinion saying the ds numbri kitab has become part of the general culture not that is any guru.He has lied to pass that off as hukamnama!

    I am simply amused, that he is not as yet a jathedar, he is issuing police threats already!

    This will become worse should this fellow be placed in.Sikhs REJECT this goonish man

  2. It is sad that what SNSM stood for has been destroyed since the sale of the Bangsar Building. This first step, alienated all the Bangsar Residents. (Those who can recall, the Bangsar Residents were the main contributors to the building in Bangsar and the promise by the committee than was they will have a place of worship of their own).

    Next came the election of a Jathedar who brought Gurdwara style politics into SNSM – sign up members aligned to themselves – for self agenda.

    The worst that happened was electing a Jathedar who is “uneducated” has no inkling on how to write a simple letter or a report or a business plan or any type of letter to a govt agency, no financial knowledge, just brawn but no brains. Compound this with Jathedar’s who have no standing in society, a formula for self destruction, a situation SNSM is today.

    Now at this AGM the same mistakes as above are being repeated, as there is a strong lobby by one pro DG (should be Bachittar Natak) self styled ‘giani’ to be the next Jathedar of SNSM.

    Only Waheguruji can save SNSM as members have become disinterested given the headless direction of SNSM over the past 8 years.

    As someone rightly put it, SNSM is not broke but broken.