Balwant Singh Rahal: Indonesia loses an illustrious Sikh activist

Balwant was the prime mover for the setting up of the Jakarta Selatan gurdwara and a school adjoining the gurdwara building

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Balwant Singh Rahal
By Asia Samachar Team | INDONESIA |

Indonesia lost a hard working and dedicated Sikh volunteer in Balwant Singh Rahal who passed away yesterday (5 May 2019). He was 75.

Balwant was the prime mover for the setting up of the Jakarta Selatan gurdwara and a school adjoining the gurdwara building.

“Even in his old age, he was very much concerned about advancing Sikhi. His work with the youth is highly commendable. I feel Sikhs have lost a great leader,” retired Indonesia senior civil servant Harbrinderjit Singh Dillon, popularly known as HS Dillon, told Asia Samachar.

“He had put his life earnings for good use, including the setting up of the gurdwara. I have great admiration for him,” said Harbrinderjit who had known Balwant since they were children. Balwant’s wife Kartar Kaur was his classmate.

In 2017, he led efforts that saw Indonesia hosting its first ever international Sikh conference to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Gurdwara Yayasan Sosial Guru Nanak Ciputat (YSGN) in Tangsel in South Jakarta. It also marked the more than 100 years presence of Sikhs in the republic.

Called the 1st International Sikh Conference which carried the theme Revival of Sikhi in Indonesia, it attracted participants from neighbouring Malaysia and Thailand as well as India, United States and Switzerland. The event was organised by the Jakarta gurdwara with the assistance of the Global Sikh Council (GSC).

Balwant had made trips to Malaysia, Singapore and other countries earlier when he was raising funds for the gurdwara and the then-planned school.

In later years, he was championing moves to set up some kind of a coordinating council for Sikhs in Indonesia. In 2015, he floated the idea of the Indonesian Sikh Council.

Born in Medan, Indonesia, on 5 May 1944, Balwant passed away on his 75th birthday. He leaves two sons (Darwinder singh Rahal married to Iqbal Kaur) and Gurkiran Singh (married to Dr.Sangeet Kaur Puarr) and five grandchildren.

The cremation (saskaar) will be held today (6 May 2019) and the antim ardas (concluding prayer) on Sunday at the Jakarta Selatan gurdwara.

 

RELATED STORY:

Indonesia’s first international Sikh conference (Asia Samachar, 11 Dec 2017)

Plans to set up Indonesia Sikh Council (Asia Samachar, 5 Oct 2015)

 

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |

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