Indonesia hosted its first ever international Sikh conference earlier this month coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Jakarta Selatan gurdwara and also marking the more than 100 years presence of Sikhs in the republic.
The 1st International Sikh conference themed Revival of Sikhi in Indonesia attracted participants from neighbouring Malaysia, and Thailand as well as India, United States and Switzerland.
Among others, it saw the first ever Indo-Sikh seminar held at Gurdwara Yayasan Sosial Guru Nanak Ciputat (YSGN) in Tangsel in South Jakarta.
It was organised by the Jakarta gurdwara with the assistance of the Global Sikh Council (GSC).
“The Sanggat was warm, the hospitality magnificent,” Amarjit Singh, a delegate from Malaysia, told Asia Samachar. “It was good to see the local Sikh community coming forward to discuss issues that are of concern to them.”
GSC secretary Gurdeep Singh Kundan said he was impressed with the organising team and the extent they went to prepare for the conference.
“They even had polling on various topics conducted during the conference. I’ve not seen that at any Sikh conference that I took part,” he said.
While the initiative was well-intentioned, United States-based Harinder Singh, who was one of the speakers, said the conference fell short of coalescing the Sikh-Indonesians at large, and young adults in particular.
“With exception of couple of speakers, they weren’t prepared to make Sikhi relevant today. Yet globally, we must remain Sabad-focused to inspire and share the Gurmat-centered Sikh paradigm amidst mediocracy and apathy,” he said in an email to Asia Samachar.
Some of other speakers at the conference were Dr Harbrinderjit Singh Dhillon (Indonesia), Dr Harbant Singh (Malaysia), Gulbarg Singh (GSC founder and first president, US), of GSC from USA, Harsaran Singh (India), Dr Rajveet Kaur (Canada/ India), Bhupinder Singh Kohli (India), Prakash Sabherwal (India), Dr Karminder Singh (Malaysia), Gurmel Singh (Hong Kong) and Kulwant Singh (India).
The event was the brainchild of Gurdwara YSGN committee chairman Balwant Singh Rahal.
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