It’s time to be proud of our Arts

It is heartening to see our youth labouring hard for this beautiful and engaging story, JAGDESH SINGH writes on an upcoming play in Malaysia touching on the life of Bhai Mardana


| Opinion | Malaysia | 21 Aug 2017 | Asia Samachar |

There was a crowd gathered at the gurdwara at Jalan Parlimen, Kuala Lumpur, popularly called Parliament Gurdwara. It was a mixture of young and old, similar faces and new faces. But the energy from each of them was the same: vibrant. At a bright warm Sunday noon, the weekend still alive for all of them.

They were gathered here to rehearse for the upcoming Bhai Mardana Sangeet festival. I was an innocent passerby, who happened to be there to witness something so artful, thriving and shining. Actors, directors, script writers all working hard to bring alive their version of Bhai Mardana’s journey as the earliest true friend of Baba Nanak, aptly named ‘Marjaana To Mittar’.

I won’t say anything about the play now, because I’m pretty sure it’ll be a blockbuster, from the little I’ve seen. And I stand accused of being biased as most involved are dear friends of mine. So, we’ll leave it at that.

But what really struck me during this small window of opportunity was that the arts of our Sikh community here in Malaysian diaspora is alive! This play is proof. Sure, we’ve got kavita, syair and debates in the successful Bhasa Melas (Punjabi language carnivals organised by the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia), but a play of this scale is something to shout about. The barometer of how a community is maturing and advancing is the health of its arts. Interpretation of history and how it molds us as people has always been through the eyes of arts.

SEE ALSO: 200 to take part in Malaysian Punjabi language competition

There’s a distinction between Punjabi arts – thanks to Bollywood, isn’t showing any signs of dying a natural death – and Sikh arts. We’ve seen our martial arts getting the limelight, with many from our youth entranced with the valor displayed at every demonstration. But the more gentle arts of written, drawn, painted and playwrights were always beyond our social radars. A play, about someone so integral to the seeds that were sown into our Sikh psyche, is a refreshing progress.

And what’s even more profound, the arts like this play is a powerful tool for the younger and more impressionable generation to absorb our values through creativeness and organic innovation. It is heartening to see our youth labouring hard for this beautiful and engaging story. Youngsters and young adults embarking on such an ambitious project can only be inspiration to all in our community.

The youth will be gifted with this treasure. The irony is this gift was beautifully crafted by the youth themselves.

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

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.


[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:]



I’m not sorry my Mom was a Chinese  (Asia Samachar, 13 Aug 2017)

Mixed marriages: We can’t stop them anymore (Asia Samachar, 11 Aug 2017)

Sikhi doesn’t belong to Punjabis only (Asia Samachar, 10 Aug 2017)

Mixed marriage dilemma (Asia Samachar, 8 Aug 2017)

Gurdwaras must adopt changes, marriage counselling badly needed, Ipoh Sikh seminar told (Asia Samachar, 23 July 2017)

Mixed faith marriages should be banned in UK gurdwaras (Asia Samachar, 16 Sept 2016)

Mixed marriages in gurduaras (Asia Samachar, 31 Aug 2015)


[The fastest way to reach Asia Samachar is by sending us a Facebook message. For obituary announcements, click here]