Small in number, but Sikhs in Kelantan are as connected as ever

Celebration goes on: The small Sikh community in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, celebrate Vasakhi at their local gurdwara – Photo: Suwaran Singh Dhillon

They may be in number, but they are connected with the wider Sikh community in Malaysia and the world over in their passion to celebration Vasakhi, one of the most significant events on the Sikh calendar.

Meet the Sikhs in Kota Bharu, a city in the Malaysian state of Kelantan about 440km from Kuala Lumpur.

They held a rumah terbuka (open house) today at the local gurdwara. Rumah terbuka is a unique Malaysian tradition where groups or individuals hold open functions to celebrate events like the Aidilfitri (or Eid), Chinese New Year and Diwali.

“Pre Vasakhi Celebration today. Small number of Sanggat but they are keeping the tradition going !!! I was obsessed to listen Sikh Members talking in Kelantan Dialect (Kecek Kelate) among them,” Suwaran Sikh Dhillon, a retired Malaysian defence personel, updated in his Facebook entry.

Kelantan has gurdwaras in Kota Bharu, Tumpat and Kuala Krai, a reflection of the bigger number of Sikh population it once had. They were mainly in the armed forces and the civil service.

Today, they are mostly professionals like medical doctors, dentists and police officers. You have retirees, businessmen, teachers and students and lecturers mostly from Universiti Sains Malaysia Health Campus (medicine and dentistry). There also foreign workers from Punjab.

Gurdwara Sahib Kota Bharu welcomes visitors to their Vasakhi open house – Photo: Suwaran Singh Dhillon



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