Sikh flag should be yellow or dark blue, says MGC

In June, a Malaysian gurdwara unfurled a dark blue nishan sahib, something alien to most Malaysian Sikhs of present generation


By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

The Nishan Sahib or Sikh flag should be either basanti (Xanthic) which is yellow or surmaee (dark blue) and not the dark orange that is commonly used in most gurdwaras around the globe today.

This was the advice provided by the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) in a letter released today.

“This letter was prompted by requests by members to some members to provide some clarification on the matter,” MGC president Jagir Singh told Asia Samachar.

The matter came to light when Gurdwara Sahib Butterworth, a gurdwara in the Malaysian state of Penang, unfurled a dark blue coloured nishan sahib, something alien to most Malaysian Sikhs of the present generation.

Like Sikhs around the world, most present day Sikhs are more familiar with the kesri or orange-coloured nishan sahib, with the Khanda usually in black.

The 16-page letter, emailed to Asia Samachar, makes references to a number of sources and argues why dark blue is the actual colour of the nishan sahib. SEE LETTER HERE.

It said that in the times of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, the Nishan Sahib was of navy blue in colour and that the Nihangs had preserved the colour to date.

“The Kesri colour flag found in many Gurdwaras is not SRM compliant. It was mostly introduced by Nirmalas, Udasis and Mahants from about 1715 to 1920. In the 1930’s/1940’s G.S. TOHRA, the Jathedar of Akali Dal then changed the colour to Saffron in many Gurdwaras,” it said.

In the letter, MGC noted that the SRM is an ‘approved Sikh Constitution’.

It said that the document was a panthic maryada approved after 14 years of laborious work and consultations.

“There may be some reservations regarding certain provisions in SRM but overall SRM has succeeded in uniting Sikhs and unifying the Code of conduct and religious practises in Gurdwaras. Without SRM it would have been free for all. Thus, any discussion on Nishan Sahib must necessarily begin with SRM provisions on the matter,” it said.

Butterworth gurdwara goes dark blue


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  1. Wow, so great to see this small community imploding and getting at each others throats because of a colour. Great job folks! So many social issues plaguing the community and these einsteins are arguing over colour. Mass conversion of Sikhs into abrahamic faiths but nothing is said or done about it. Massive intermarriage with tamils and malays and nothing is done to educate the young about it.

    Alcoholism,drugs,gambling,prostitution,domestic violence, Job discrimination towards Turbaned Sikh men and women yet these issues are never addressed. Great job to all the commentators.Keep on feeding Muslims during”Iftaar” in Gurudwaras and virtue signal while fighting within your own race. You people only become Lions when it’s against your own race and religion.In front of others the modern “Sikh” is the biggest coward on this planet.

    These days more thambis are wearing ‘kadas’ than Sikhs are wearing.No wonder these days 4 out of 10 punjabi girls weddings are with thambis. This already shows that the end is very near. No missionary or taksali can save this faith.Soon the official dish in Gurudwaras would be thosai,idli and parpu. It is damned as the people have collectively decided to assimilate,capitulate and spread their legs to other more dominant races around them. You guys keep on fighting about colour. Eat more rotis,dhaal and chicken to strengthen yourselves so you can fight with your fellow Sikhs more. Syabas!


    Taran Singh Bedi: During the times of Guru Amar Das Ji the Nishan Sahib was white, to represent peace and simplicity. During the time of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji however the Nishan Sahib changed into a shade of yellow(pila), known as Basanti. After the creation of Khalsa, Guru Gobind Singh Ji introduced blue nishan sahib (flag), which is still the colour of the Nihang flags. The first Sikh flags were plain, but emblems were introduced by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The first Sikh emblem, was not the Khanda, but the three weapons, the Kattar(dagger), Dhal(shield) and Kirpan(sabre). Later these emblems were also used by the Sikh warriors and the Empire. During the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Sher e of Punjab, the Sikh flag became red or deep orange. Even though, earlier the Sikh Imperial flag(nishan) was still blue, the Dogra vassals of the Empire requested Maharaja Ranjit Singh, to change it to saffron and add the picture of the Devi on it. Ranjit Singh ji refused! to add any deities on the Sikh nishan, but changed the colour and allowed the Dogras to have their own regimental flags in the Sikh Khalsa Army. The Khanda, a Sikh symbol, is rendered in Blue on the Saffron background since than. The khanda is placed very high up on a flagpole as a sign for all Sikhs and indeed any other people to see it from far away that they can come and pray in this building. Great respect is shown to this flag(nishan) and the flag is considered sacred and washed using milk and water every year in April at the festival of Vaisakhi. The Nishan Sahib is changed once the Saffron color has faded. The color of the Nishan Sahib of any other Gurdwaras aslong theres a Khanda on it are not going to bring any difference to the Sikh panth. We Sikhs should always look forward to bring our Sikh panth together under one Khanda Nishan Sahib no matter what the colour is, our Gurus excepted all the colours we are not believers of any particular colours or rituals. Sikhi is way above all this rituals and colours.
    WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa WaheGuru Ji Ki Fateh Ji.

    Jindeh Hundal: Taran Singh Bedi well said

    Parkash Kaur: The flag and the pole is not ‘sacred’ and does not require religious ablution. There is no need to pray nor metha thek to a nishan sahib. The nishan is a ‘nishanee’ – a jhanda ਝੰਡਾ flag;banner, a sign marking a gurdwara. This jhanda should not be associated with meaningless manmat ritual we tend to see practiced blindly by most sikhs during ‘vasakhi’. On the matter of colour, we should just stick to one colour.

    Parkash Kaur: A ‘gurdwara’ that this jhanda marks is not a house of god – it is not a place of worship per say – it is however a place of learning gurmat!!


    Wajinder Singh: in India Keshri (saffron) is a color of an abandoner/ascetic – a TYAGI. A monk who has sacrificed worldly possessions & pleasures to live like a hermit, withdrawn from society like a Buddhist monk, radical hindu RSS is a strong advocate of Keshri color. just see their flags and robes.
    I still remember my childhood in Wadda Gurd. Kg Pandan it was anyway Basanti (yellow), but my mum says its been Blue long before. Looks like systematic Brahmanism crept in our gurdwaras un-noticed for generations. Those who don’t upgrade well its their regressive loss.

    Kesh Singh: Colour also becomes an issue for religious people. LOL.

    Rishi Sarjit Chawlaa: Confusion upon confusion…….those days used to be yellow…..

    Jasmail Singh: What kachera color, hahaha? What about turban color? What maryada???

    SK Dhilon Sukhbir Kaur: Yes kesari are khalsa color..must be kesari..


    Melinder Kaur Dhillon: Surmaee from my memory is grey colour.Hence i opened the English Translation of the SRM and true;Chapter IV Article 5(r),colour of nishan sahib SHOULD be either xanthic or greyish blue.
    Now that colour there is NOT greyish blue.Please get the colour right from the palette of blues and greys!This is a serious matter!

    Gurnam Singh Dhaliwal: Melinder Kaur Dhillon read the Gurmukhi version as the English translation are not accurate and not done word by word with no quality at some places . Sometimes additions are added and not as what stated in Gurmukhi version .

    Melinder Kaur Dhillon: Gurnam Singh Dhaliwal yes shabadkosh says Surmai(spelling as per SRM in gurmukhi) is greyish blue or steel grey.Urdu word in origin.


    Anildev Singh Malhi Keep on changing our practices. Well done, MGC.

    Girjeet Kaur Sidhu: Hope to see the change soon. Well done MGC

    Taran Singh Bedi: Try changing your self first bhenji than you will see the change in everything.

    Savinder Manjit Randhawa: It should be only one colour,which should be the Khalsa colour.Please don’t confuse people by saying it should be either surmaee or basanti..Totally surprising that the M G C can’t even solve this simple a decision for all Sikhs to follow.How then can you try to unite all Sikhs under “”One Umbrella””

    Gurmukh Singh: Section 3 Chapter 4 of the SRM also provides that there should be a Nagara installed in every Gurdwara. Awaiting the next directive accordingly?

    Gurnam Singh Dhaliwal: Requirement has been there in SRM but some gurdwaras never followed , now is time to follow SRM by all gurdwaras as a standard . Anyway I like the blue colour . Looking forward in seeing a standardisation at all gurdwaras . Bravo MGC .

    Who is the ultimates authority on such matters?
    Am not against any colours but let’s comply with the directive from the highest Sikh authority.
    SRM also stipulates the do’s and don’t on many other matters. Why are they ignored?

    Gurnam Singh Dhaliwal: Jas Shinder pls understand history . So Akal Takth do not allow women to do kirten in Darbar Sahib , so why we allow in Malaysia . They wash the floor of Darbar Sahib with milk every morning , so why not here .? Akal Takth allows ppl to metha tikh on a tree and a pole when we should only bow to SGGS . So you are selective . SRM is the best guidelines and is approved by SGPC and Akal Takth . I suggest Akal Takth amend the SRM as what they do and we follow eg , no kirten can be done by women and wash gurdwara floor with milk . EK Granth= SGGS / EK Panth / EK Maryada. MGC is just enforcing the maryada per SRM and all gurdwaras should adhere to that , otherwise all the non approved maryada will come in and destroy the unity , By the way , is already happening with hijacking and taking over the President . I saw this happening in one of the gurdwara but the Sanggat decided the direction to go , SRM. ,
    Oh yes , Hazoor Sahib cur goat head for blood and put tikka on forehead . They bring “holy water “ and throw on the walls but that person must be a bachelor. Why you don’t encourage this for Malaysia Gurdwara, after all is being done by Hazoor management.