By Malminderjit Singh | SINGAPORE | BOOK LAUNCH |
I am not a poet and I don’t consider myself as one.
One such person whose poetry has always touched me is Bhai Nand Lal Ji who was born in Ghazni in Afghanistan in 1633. The 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh had 52 poets in his court. Bhai Nand Lal was one of them who wrote with the Goya pen name. Here is an excerpt of one of his works that has always touched and inspired me:
Deeno Duniya Dar Kamande Aa Pari Rukhsaar-e-maa||
Har do aalam keemat-e-yak taar-e-moo-e-yaar-maa||
Broadly translated, Bhai Nand Lal Ji described the physical beauty of Guru Gobind Singh Ji to that of fairies and that each strand of Guruji’s hair was more valuable than the two worlds put together.
Although he was an accomplished scholar and poet when he had already arrived at Guru Gobind Singh’s court, he worked quietly and anonymously in the kitchen with langgar duties for a considerable time before he assumed his role as a poet in the court. Such love and humility is today hard to find and only one that I can aspire to.
As a matter of fact, the minute I put my name on this book, I have lost a huge chunk of this humility. But that’s precisely why it’s important that I write. We all have good days and bad days and in the days that are challenging where we forget our purpose, mission and sometimes values, we need reminders to take us back, to remind us of how we should be. Some people use photographs. For me, poetry works. So for me the book will hopefully be a reminder of love, compassion, faith and gratitude and of the good days. I hope it will do the same for my kids as they grow up.
For my non- Sikh friends, I hope that the book will help you understand better and relate to spirituality from the Sikh perspective, our history, values and traditions and that you can relate to it from your own faith and experience, too. For my Sikh friends, I hope you will find the work does justice to all that we know and believe.
This is a book about the tensions that exist among all of us in our daily lives – of devotion yet insecurity, of faith yet fear.
Most of all this is an expression of gratitude to the Almighty, so it is terra – yours (God’s) – in Punjabi. In Latin, terra also means earth or ground, so this was intentional in naming the book as I guess without being “grounded” it is difficult being “Yours”. So, I urge you friends, if and when you read these poems, to keep Him in mind. Because this is after all not, and never should be, about me.
Malminderjit Singh’s speech at the launch of his book, Terra – An Eternal Journey. Mal, as he’s known among friends, was a former president of the Young Sikh Association Singapore (YSA) and the secretary of the Singapore Sikh Advisory Board. An editor at a Singapore-based media portal, Mal was an active member of the PAP Policy Forum and a volunteer at a number of PAP branches.
Mal’s writing style is unique, says Inderjit Singh Dhaliwal, an entrepreneur and former Singapore parliamentarian from 1996 to 2015, in a foreword to the book. He should know as Mal used to help him with his parliamentary speeches.
Former journalist Malminderjit bands 51 young leaders on Singapore’s next big thing (Asia Samachar, 6 Sept 2016)