| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 21 Jan 2017 | Asia Samachar |
A woman has been chosen to lead a global Sikh organisation that is still in the early stages of its making.
Kanwaljit Kaur from the United Kingdom will helm the Global Sikh Council (GSC), an umbrella body of national-level Sikh organisations.
The out-going vice president was elected unanimously at the council’s annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday (27 March 2017), taking over from Gulbarg Singh from the United States who declined nomination.
“She’s a capable person. She speaks well, and carries her well,” Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) president Jagir Singh tells Asia Samachar.
Lady Kanwaljit is the wife of Dr Indarjit Singh, a member of UK’s Network of Sikh Organisation (NSO) and a House of Lord crossbench life peer carrying the title The Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE.
MGC, the umbrella body for more than 100 gurdwaras in Malaysia, hosted the meeting.
The other elected officials were Ajmer Singh (Australia) as vice president, Gurdip Singh Kundan (Switzerland) as secretary, Harcharan Singh (Malaysia) as assistant secretary and Gurpreet Singh (India) as media and public relations officer.
Three new nations – Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh – have also joined the GSC, which has representation of Sikh national organisations from some two dozen nations.
Among its members are American Sikh Council (ASC), MGC, NSO, National Sikh Council of Australia, Pakistan Sikh Council, Federation of Sikh Societies of Canada and Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Chandigarh.
“It is great to see Sikhs coming together to tackle our common issues,” said Narotam Singh Narang who represented Guru Nanak Dharam Parchaar Center (GNDPC) which runs the second gurdwara in Bangkok, Thailand.
Ramesh Singh Arora, the first Sikh lawmaker in the state assembly of Punjab, Pakistan, said if properly mobilised, GSC can help to resolve some of the issues facing Sikhs globally.
“I invite the council to come to Pakistan. Let us build consensus on some of the issues. We can start with the Nanakshahi calendar issue,” he told the conference.
“In Pakistan, we are following the original Nanakshahi calendar released in 2003. We had developed consensus amongst the Pakistan sanggat,” he told the delegates.
Ramesh, who was elected to the Punjab state assembly in 2013, is also a member of the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC), the counterpart of the larger and more influential Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (SGPC) based in Amritsar in Punjab, India.
The maiden meeting for the establishment of GSC took place in 2014 in Australia, said Gulbarg, who was a former president and chairman of the ASC.
“The name was chosen yet then. The idea was to achieve collaborations between national Sikh organisations, those established by Sikhs themselves, not those by the Government or the babas,” he told Asia Samachar at the sidelines of the meeting.
On Saturday, GSC organised a one-day conference with invited speakers presenting papers on various topics, ranging from Gurbani, Sikh parchaar and challenges facing Sikh organisations.
Gurpreet Singh from Kendri Singh Sabha, Chandigarh spoke about ‘SGPC: Its actual and assumed role’, Dr Davinder Singh Chahal spoke via Skype on ‘Pronunciation of Sikhi Logo’ and Dr S.S. Sidhu from Malaysia on ‘Sikhi: Inclusive or Exclusive’.
Other speakers included Balwinder Singh ‘Sagar’ from Gurmat Parsar Sewa Society (Regd) who spoke on ‘Discussion on Streamlining of Gurmat Parchar’, Jagir on ‘History, authority and subjugation of Takhts’ and Col (Rtd) Manmohan Singh from India on ‘Efforts to undermine Sikh philosophy starting from Guru Sahib times’.
Kuala Lumpur to host next annual Global Sikh Council meeting (Asia Samachar, 21 Jan 2017)
Global Sikh body backs Malaysia, US councils (Asia Samachar, 29 Nov 2016)
‘One Granth One Panth’ call from Global Sikh Council (Asia Samachar, 11 April 2016)