Battle of Kampar: Sikh veterans plan annual prayer on third Sunday of every year

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 | Kampar, Malaysia | 28 Jan 2017 | Asia Samachar |
Sikh veterans and others present at the maiden prayer at Gurdwara Sahib Kampar on 22 Jan 2017 in memory of the Battle of Kampar (1941-1942) – PHOTO / MAFSVA

The Battle of Kampar – where Sikh soldiers gallantly stormed the Japanese lines with their bayonets between 30 Dec 1941 and 2 Jan 1942 – will be remembered with an annual prayer prayer on the third Sunday of every year.

The first formal prayer, organised by the Malaysian Armed Forces Sikh Veterans Association (MAFSVA), took place at Gurdwara Sahib Kampar on 22 Jan 2017.

Plans are also underway to preserve the Green Ridge site where the battle took place 75 years ago and also to build a monument in memory of the battle. Kampar is located about 40km to the south of Ipoh, the present state capital of Perak.

“The association has made the Battle of Kampar monument as their signature project. We are all working hard towards making it happen,” Major (Rtd) Bhagwant Singh Virik tells Asia Samachar.

SEE ALSO: The Battle of Kampar 

SEE ALSO: Malaysian armed forces Sikh veterans form an association 

Bhagwant, who served in the Malaysian Army from 1965 to 1990 as a logistic officer in the Service Corps, now known as Kor Perkhidmatan DiRaja Malaysia, was initially chairing Battle of Kampar project team.

After MAFSVA was formed, Bhagwant handed over the reigns of the project to the association. MAFSVA held its inaugural meeting meeting at SSU Kelab Aman in Kuala Lumpur on 31 July 2016.

“I thought I had better hand over while I can still do it, and let the younger carry on. The new team is good and they working very hard for the project,” he said in a telephone conversation.

In one media report entitled ‘Special prayers to be annual affair‘ (The Star, 27 Jan 2017), Battle of Kampar organising chairman Major Tara Singh said: “In conjunction with this year’s prayers, which marks the 75th anniversary of the battle, we have also detailed the chronology of the battle in the form of an exhibition.

“The exhibition includes the various initiatives taken by Khalsa Diwan Malaysia throughout their journey in championing the commemoration of the battle.

“Commemoration efforts are still an ongoing project that dates back to the very four days the battle took place. Our association is currently spearheading the initiative.

“With a plethora of information collected from historians and Khalsa Diwan, we have thousands of pictures, videos, paper cuttings and books for visitors to view at the gurdwara.”

Around 500 people attended the prayers, including over 200 veteran members of the Malaysian armed forces. Following the prayers, Khalsa Diwan Malaysia president Santokh Singh presented a synopsis of the Battle of Kampar, the report added.

Speaking on the progress of the erection of a monument, a gallery and the preservation of the Green Ridge site where the battle took place, MAFSVA secretary Major Swaran Singh Dhillon said the blueprint for the project is ready.

“We have been briefed by the state government and the Indian High Commission in Malaysia on the paperwork that have been finalised.

“We are in the process of talking to the state on the land preservation, as it is pending land ownership approval for the gazetting of the site,” he said, adding that the entire project would cost around RM10mil,” he was quoted in the report.

Once the site has been gazetted with the monument and gallery fully constructed, Major Swaran and Major Tara expressed hope that the place has the potential to become a tourist attraction.

Last February, MetroPerak reported that Kampar residents want the Green Ridge site to be gazetted as a heritage site and turned into a war memorial.

It was also reported that the 4.85ha piece of land, sandwiched between two equally historically significant sites, Thompson Ridge and Cemetery Ridge, does not belong to the state government, the report added.

Also present at the prayers was Chief Coordinator of Non-Muslim Affairs of the Perak Mentri Besar’s Office Keshvinder Singh, who later presented a cheque of RM10,000 to association president Major Baldev Singh.

RELATED STORIES:

Tribute to Battle of Kampar Sikh soldiers (Asia Samachar, 23 Jan 2017)

Battle of Kampar: Battle worthy of mention (Asia Samachar, 23 Nov 2016)

The Battle of Kampar (Asia Samachar, 10 Jan 2016)

 

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