Seremban to celebrate Guru Nanak’s birthday on Vaisakhi, first (major) gurdwara in Southeast Asia

“We are blessed that our Sanggat at Gurdwara Sahib Seremban is aligned with the Sikh Rehat Maryada and the teachings of all our Guru's." - ARJAN SINGH

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Gurdwara Sahib Seremban in a photo in 2017 – Photo: Ravs Studio

By Asia Samachar | Malaysia |

Sikhs in Seremban, capital of the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan, will be making history when they celebrate Vaisakhi this year.

As well as celebrating the establishment of the Khalsa, they will also be marking the occasion of the birthday of Guru Nanak.

Gurdwara Sahib Seremban (GSS) joins a growing number of gurdwaras and Sikh societies around the world that have decided to celebrate Guru Nanak’s birthday (Guru Nanak gurpurab) on April 14, and not in the October/November period as done by most gurdwaras, including the historical Sikh gurdwaras in Panjab.

The decision, a major departure from the norm, was made collectively by the local Sikh Sanggat (congregation) at the gurdwara’s Biennial General Meeting (BGM) on March 3, 2024.

“It was a unanimous decision by the Sanggat,” GSS committee president Arjan Singh told Asia Samachar. The gurdwara is organising various programmes for #Vaisakhi2024, including a Akhand Path – the continuous non-stop reading of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib – that begins tomorrow (April 12).

Since the last few years, more and more gurdwaras around the world have started celebrating Vaisakhi as the actual birthday of Guru Nanak in 1469 as well as the establishment of the Khalsa (Khalsa Sirjana) in 1699.

In 2022, for example, gurdwaras in Frankfurt in Germany, Tampa in the United States and Chandigarh in India had informed Asia Samachar that they were celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday in April. In that year, groups in Malaysia and Singapore had also organised Vaisakhi to mark both Guru Nanak’s birthday and Khalsa establishment.

FOR MORE REPORTS ON GURU NANAK’S BIRTHDAY, CLICK HERE

Seremban becomes the first major gurdwara in Malaysia, and probably the first in Asia outside India, to celebrate Guru Nanak’s birthday in April.

“We will no longer be celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday in the October/November period,” said Arjan.

Arjan Singh showing the back entrance to the Seremban entrance – – Photo Grab from video by Sandakan Eagle

In the GSS BGM, the members passed two resolutions. First, that only SGGS Ji, Bhai Nand Lal Bani and Bhai Gurdas Ji’s Vaaran to be ;recited in the Guru’s Darbar in line with Sikh Rehat Maryada (SRM) and based on the spirit of Ek Path, Ek Granth, and Ek Maryada.’

Second, Guru Nanak’s Gurpurab was proposed to be celebrated annually in line with Vaisakhi on 14 April, ‘taking into account all facts and history that has been shared by learned Sikhs during our Diwans.’

Arjan said that both motions were received well by the Sanggat with majority support, by show of hands, and subsequently minuted.

SEE ALSO: Something very different this Vaisakhi

SEE ALSO: 13 Questions on Guru Nanak’s Birthday

In a letter sent to the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) and shared with Asia Samachar, Arjan wrote: “Moving forward, the Management Committee will execute the decision of the Sanggat accordingly. We are also excited to announce that Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Gurpurab will be celebrated for the first time at Gurdwara Sahib Seremban in conjuction with Vaisakhi on this 14 April 2024 and we look forward to this celebration.

“We are blessed that our Sanggat at Gurdwara Sahib Seremban is aligned with the Sikh Rehat Maryada and the teachings of all our Guru’s. In addition, the Management Committee, throughout the years, has received tremendous support from our Sanggat to keep Sikhi alive as well as to enable and drive all initiatives in the best interest of our Sikh Panth. We hope the same for all other Gurdwara’s in Malaysia and we trust MGC will continue to take the lead to do the needful and the Management Committee of Gurdwara Sahib Seremban will continue to extend our fullest support to MGC at all times.”

MOVING AHEAD

Vaisakhi is both a cultural and religious celebration in the Punjab and amongst Sikhs world-wide, including Malaysia. Vaisakhi falls on the 14 of April, the beginning of the second month in the Sikh calendar called the Mool Nanaksahi Calendar.

“Socially and culturally, it is a harvest festival but to Sikhs it is celebrated as the birthday of the founder of the faith Guru Nanak Sahib Ji in 1469. Another important event in Sikh history that receives the most attention was the Vaisakhi of 1699 when the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh ji, introduced a specific initiation ceremony and transformed the Sikh identity,” Paguman Singh, a former secretary of the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC), wrote in a recent article in Asia Samachar.

Generally, Sikhs are familiar with the idea of Vaisakhi being the celebration of the establishment of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru, in 1699. This historic event took place in the month of Vaisakh (which corresponds to the month April in the Gregorian calendar).

However, celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday in this time of the year is something new and probably alien to many Sikhs. The birthday of the first Sikh Guru has usually been celebrated with pomp and splendour in the month of Kathik (sometime in October or November). But researchers have established that Guru Nanak was actually born in the month of Vaisakh.

While established and major Sikh organisations are reluctant to make the change, pockets of Sikhs have decided to make the jump, moving ahead to celebrate Guru Nanak’s birthday in April.

“More and more people are becoming aware that they have been celebrating Guru Nanak’s birthday on the wrong date. At this point, many gurdwara management committees are still reluctant to make the change. They fear backlash,” said a Kuala Lumpur gurdwara official, who did not want identify himself. “But the change will eventually happen as the Sanggat members become aware of the facts.”

In Seremban, Asia Samachar understands that the local Sikhs have actively discussed the topic of Guru Nanak’s birthday, examining it from various angles during their various programmes.

“There were sceptics, but we approached them with facts and in-depth explanations. We were fortunate to have a local Granthi who is well versed with the issues at hand,” another GSS official told Asia Samachar.

RELATED STORY:

Something very different this Vaisakhi (Asia Samachar, 6 April 2022)

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. You can leave your comments at our website, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. We will delete comments we deem offensive or potentially libelous. You can reach us via WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 or email: asia.samachar@gmail.com. For obituary announcements, click here

7 COMMENTS

  1. Mohinder Saran
    Pointless to ask Asia Samachar to “fact check before publishting” and to “up their journalistic integrity.” The one who needs to fact check is you and you alone.
    Equally pointless asking me “which website you used lah” ? You need to ask yourself if you used a fake website that you created yourself.
    Here is the link to SGPC.net (The one that you are suggesting). It’s clear that you don’t know what is on the website you yourself are suggesting. And u want to question the “journalistic intergrity of Asia Samachar?” Tolong lah sikit. Kasi up sikit u punya cerita karut.
    https://sgpc.net/ten-guru-sahibs/guru-nanak-sahib/#:~:text=Sri%20Guru%20Nanak%20Dev%20Ji%20%28the%20First%20Nanak%2C,present%20distrect%20of%20Shekhupura%20%28Pakistan%29%2C%20now%20Nanakana%20Sahib.

  2. Koomar Singh,

    Which website you used lah? Not the false one created with the word ‘old in it’? The people who bought it have to be more creative lah.

    Mate you are in the wrong website. Fact check lah dulu sebelum hantar. It is utterly false bro.

    Please use SGPC.net. And there is clearly says 30 Katak, 15th Nov.

    Asia Samachar, can you fact check before you publish? Tolong lah sikit. Kasi up sikit your journalistic integrity. ????

  3. Mohinder Pal Singh Saran has a point. Why not check with Akal Takhat? I checked. This is the result. The institution that runs the Akal Takhat, pays the pujaris, hires and fires the personnel at Akal Takhat and funds the budget is the SGPC. The SGPC website says Guru Nanak was born in Vaisakh. So now the question is: Why is SGPC and Akal Takhat celebrating Guru Nanak’s Parkash on a different date?
    The reason is that Sikh institutions such as SGPC and AT are in the hands of Sikhs in name only, and the real keepers of both are aligned with the very forces that altered the birth date from 1st of Baisakh to the Puranmasi of Katak to serve their specific and disturbing agendas.
    The dilemma of the Sikhs is that the SGPC and AT are being guided by the Brahmin Pandits/anti-Sikh Scholars/Sikh Baba-derawalas. The other dilemma is that we have Sikhs who are asleep to the point that they keep telling us “Oh dear, did any of you check with the AT?”

  4. The history of the sikhs have been distorted by the writers and many of our clergies. The truth is slowly but surel been revealed now. The caretakers of the Akal Thakat need to lead the way, unfortunately they are been ruled from the Govt. in power in Delhi. So anyone sikh who happens to go against the power’s of Akal Thakat is boycotted and expelled from revealing the truth. However the gurdwaras outside of India are now comming to realise the truth and slowly accepting the truth on the birth of the Khalsa and the birthday of Guru Nanak. The change will come. The sikhs are a very patient lot. Truth will prevale ultimately.

  5. Oh dear. Did any of you check with the Akaal Takht? A quick check will inform you that the birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is on 30 Katak on 15th Nov this year. Please go to the SGPC.net website which has the calendar.

    Hope this clarifies the date. ????

  6. Congratulations to the sangat and parbandhaks of GS Seremban and GS Kangar. Celebrating both Guru Nanak’s Purab and Khalsa Divas on Baisakhi day is however, the easier part. Lots of Gurdwaras can do such and many indeed do celebrate both purabs on Baisakhi day. The real question however is this: “Have these Gurdwaras decided to NOT celebrate Guru Nanak’s Parkash in November, or will they ALSO celebrate it November?” This is the real test – to take a stand and not play both sides of the divide. Seremban Gurdwara has passed this test. Its president S. Arjan Singh has made it clear that they will NOT celebrate it in November. So the fact remains that GS Seremban is the ONLY Gurdwara in Malaysia (and perhaps the region) to have got it right fully. Will be good if S. Pritpal Singh can confim if this is GS Kangar’s position too.

  7. I think you have got your facts wrong. A number of Gurdwaras in Malaysia have been celebrating Guru Nanaks Aagmn Purb and Vasakhi together on the 14th April. The Sanggat of Gurdwara Sahib Kangar has been celebrating these two Mahan Sikh Events simultaneously on the 14th April since 2019.

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