The newly fitted lift at the local gurdwara is godsend for the large elderly Sikh community in Taiping, a town about 270km from Kuala Lumpur.
For years, they have resigned to catching the darbar sahib (prayer hall) proceedings on a television stationed on the ground floor, thanks to a video conferencing facility.
Hence, they were all excited when the gurdwara, first built on the same spot in 1921, finally unveiled a lift to allow them to go to the prayer hall with ease. No more having to trouble others to carry them up or lift their wheelchairs.
“I thank Parmaatma [God] for this lift. I can now go up and pay my respects in person before the Guru,” said Daljit Kaur @ Shanti.
The 84-year old lost the ability to waltz her way up to the darbar sahib as she used to do all those years that she has been living in Taiping.
Due to a spinal injury in 2002, she has not been able to support herself and needed a walker to move around. In 2005, she had to resort to a wheelchair.
“It’s wonderful to see my mother able to go to the Darbar Sahib. She has been talking about it non-stop,” Daljit’s son, retired policeman Harbans Singh, told Asia Samachar when contacted a few days after the unveiling of the lift on 16 Sept 2017
“We have many old folks in Taiping. And they come to gurdwara. I don’t see that many old folks coming to the Penang gurdwaras. It could be something to do with the hassle-free travel here, perhaps,” he said.
Harbans, who retired from the police force recently, had served for a long time in Penang. While working there, he had been involved actively in the gurdwara scene, including as the secretary of the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang.
“It’s great to see the elderly being able to go upstairs to the darbar sahib. I told the committee this is a great seva,” he added.
Taiping joins gurdwaras in Kuantan, Pahang, and Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, to install lifts in their buildings which were built before lifts were made mandatory for such places. The new gurdwara buildings – like the one in Shah Alam and Puchong as well as Subang Jaya which is under construction – come planned with lift services.
Sri Guru Singh Sabha Taiping (SGSS Taiping), the organisation that runs the local gurdwara, celebrated its centennial celebration last year. In 1916, SGSS Taiping was formed by local Sikhs who then successfully build a gurdwara (at the current location) in 1921. A new double story building was built in 1971.
The lift and its civil cost RM125,000, said SGGS Taiping president Balraj Singh.
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