DisVimther Kaur | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 19 June 2015 | Asia Samachar
Retired teacher DisVimther Kaur was one of the eager participants at the Chabeel seva in Kuala Lumpur on 14 June in commemoration of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs. She shares her experience.
Everyone was in high spirits. The dozen or so volunteers were eagerly preparing the ground to distribute the cold air bandung (syrup water) to the passers-by outside a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur.
Preparation began at the Gurdwara Sahib Main Duab, just a short distance from the Pudu bus station in Kuala Lumpur. Here, dedicated sewadars put their expertise to prepare extra large sized water canisters of this drink. It was then transferred, together with the tables, to the distribution site.
The water canisters and drinks in clear plastic cups were an appeasing site for a hot afternoon. Men and women, young and old, were at hand to serve the drinks to the people at large.
The ladies from a Sikh women organisation came in bright red T-shirts, complimenting the bright orange T-shirts of the male volunteers.
The sevadars exuded the spirit of chardi kala (ever optimistic) with their charming, welcoming smiles. The high spirit for service invited shoppers and passers-by to stop and quench their thirst.
The atmosphere was jovial with shout outs of ‘free drinks…” free drinks….come one , come all, have some…”. In between, there was also the Malay shout out: “Air bandung percuma, jemput minum.”
People from all walks of life — young and old, citizens and foreigners, children and employees — came over to our corner to accept the drinks.
“Terima kasih,” said a many of them. That’s thank you in Malay.
“Thank you, God bless you,” said a good number of others.
“This is wonderful, Singhs are good people,” said a few others.
“You’re most welcome. God bless all. Come, have some more,” our team members responded.
We were part of the Chabeel seva organised in commemoration of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs.
Chabeel, literally in Punjabi, means way or place where drinking water is available. The word has been used when free drinks are served, mostly in conjunction with the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs.
In Punjab and many other places, the martyrdom was observed towards the end of May. Sikhs had got together in their local communities to hand out cold drinks to passers-by to remember the sacrifice of their fifth Guru.
The event was spearheaded by the Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations (CMSO), with the support of Gurdwara Sahib Main Duab, Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya and the Punjabi Education Centre (PEC). It was held in front of Pasaraya Haniffah from 1.00pm to 3.30pm on June 14.
Some wanted to know the significance of the occasion. Many came back for second helping and also to collect for their friends and family who were shy or not so close by. There were some who politely said no because they were diabetics.
There were some hitches. We ran out of cups and needed more ice. Well, to the sewadars there, no problem is ever too big that it cannot be handled. They ran and scouted for them and were on hand to serve again.
By 3.00 pm the place was cleaned, tables back into the waiting lorry and the sewadars thanked each other for the fun filled service. They shared chocolates given by some well wishers.
‘God, Your will is sweet to me.’ Be blessed with chardi kala, and we pray for sarbat dha bhela (goodwill to all).
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan – BBC (Asia Samachar, 19 June 2015)
Chabeel seva on martyrdom of 5th Guru (Asia Samachar, 18 June 2015)
Selangor Vaisakhi Open House: CMSO (Asia Samachar, 17 May 2015)
Malaysia’s CMSO works with Khalsa Aid to aid Nepal (Asia Samachar, 29 Apr 2015)
Selangor state urged to assist teaching of Punjabi language – Asia Samachar (17 Dec 2014)