The massive celebration in Mogok, marking the 800th anniversary of the Myanmar town, continued this weekend with Sikhs taking an active part, proudly presenting their culture and the displaying the Guru Ka Langgar.
Sikhs from Mogok and other towns and cities in Myanmar converged for the celebration.
Among those present were the well-known local Sikhs like ruby trader Manmohan Singh and medical doctor Dr Harra Singh.
Joining them were officials from Sikh organisations, including All Myanmar Sikh Religious Council president Sukhdev Singh and Gurdwara Sahib Lashio committee president Ranjit Singh.
Sikhs are taking an active part in the 800th anniversary celebration with prayer, Guru Ka Langgar and get-togethers.
On 24 March, Sikh youth wearing Punjabi dresses joined a procession, proudly holding the sign ‘Sikh Family’.
SEE ALSO: A day of rejoicing, reunion at Mogok
On Wednesday (28 March 2018), some 200 Sikhs and 700 others joined a celebration at the Gurdwara Sahib Mogok to kick-start their participation. The local media was present.
“We will also be distributing some 2,000 langgar boxes per day on March 30 and 31,” Mogok-born Sikh entrepreneur Rajeev Singh had earlier told Asia Samachar. Rajeev runs a tyre business in Mandalay.
Sikhs have been present in Mogok for more than 150 years through the Indian army. Today, there are less than a dozen families in the town located about 800km north of Yangon.
For centuries emperors, kings and warlords have vied for control over the valley of Mogok, north of Mandalay, once known as the “land of rubies” for its extraordinary treasure trove of jewels. Its unique “pigeon-blood” stones are the most expensive coloured gems in the world. In 2016, the so-called Sunrise Ruby sold for a record US$30.3 million (RM136.12 million), over US$1 million a carat, reported AFP.
It is nestled in a valley between a number of large mountains where, due to its altitude (1,170 metres), a cool temperate climate can found all year round.
“Most youths from this town went outside to set up businesses or for job in cities like Mandalay Yangon and Taunggyi due to the poor economic condition. Some of them are back for this celebration,” Rajeev told in the same interview.
Like many other traditions preserved in Myanmar, mining in Mogok today involves little to no mechanisation and is based on intensive use of manual labour, concentrated on hillside deposits, through open trenches, deep pits, or through excavating tunnels directly into the limestone. A number of bustling ruby markets, including Panchan and Aungchanthar markets, can be found in the centre of town (note that gems sold in markets in Mogok can only be purchased at government licensed dealers), according to a Go-Myanmar.com, a website promoting the country to foreign tourists.
Located in Mandalay Division and bordering Shan State, the Mogok area hosts a diverse ethnic population, including Bamar, Shan, Lisu, Palaung, and Karen ethnic groups, as well as Chinese, Indians and Gurkhas (descendants of a Nepalese group).
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A day of rejoicing, reunion at Mogok (Asia Samachar, 28 March 2018)
Sikhs join 800th anniversary of Myanmar’s famed Land of the Rubies (Asia Samachar, 24 March 2018)
Sikhs in Myanmar (Asia Samachar, 17 June 2014)
Gurdwara in Monywa, Myanmar (Asia Samachar, 14 June 2014)