By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |
She may not have been the face of major Sikh activities and events, but Piar Kaur Ala Singh has played a momentous behind-the-scene role for the Malaysian Sikh community.
Bibi Ji, as many fondly call her, passed away yesterday (28 April 2019). She was 85.
She was the wife of Chatar Singh, an active Sikh volunteer and a former Jathedar (chief) of the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), from 1974 to 1977.
For a good part of the 1970s, their bungalow opposite the Assunta Hospital in Petaling Jaya served as the headquarters of the SNSM.
“No 81, Jalan Templer was an iconic address. Many Sabha exco meetings were held here. The Sabha magazine was also printed from our home,” Piar’s son Manmohan Singh tells Asia Samachar.
“My dad used to type out the pages and then print the magazine on the cyclostyle machine. It was hand-driven. I used to operate the machine,” he added.
With all the meetings and gatherings, Bibi Ji would play a pivotal role in ensuring hospitality at the bungalow which the family occupied in 1961.
“Everyone would come over to our home – family and extended family members as well as friends. Many had stayed here, some up to a year, when they moved into the city from their hometowns. My mum made would make sure that everyone was comfortable, that they got their meals,” he said.
Manmohan and his six other siblings had also played active roles in the Sikh community affairs. Manmohan himself served SNSM in various capacities, including as a Meet Jathedar (deputy chief) in 2017.
His younger brothers Sarabjeet Singh and Inderjeet Singh had served the SNSM as exco member and secretary, respectively. They both now live in Canada.
Born in Punjab in 1934, Piar moved to Malaya when she was just three years old. Her dad, Ala Singh, was handling accounts for the national train company Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM). She grew up in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur.
“He got so many Sikhs a job in KTM,” said Manmohan.
Bibi Ji would meet her future husband in Sentul when he did kirtan at the gurdwara that was then known as the Railway gurdwara. Born in Taiping, Perak, Chatar was active in athletics and rugby. He was a staunch Tiger (old Edwardian).
Chatar had moved to Kuala Lumpur after his studies. They married in 1954.
She leaves behind 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
The saskaar (cremation) will be at MBPJ Crematorium in Kampung Tunku at 3pm, Thursday (2 May 2019). (Date corrected).
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