A Malaysian Sikh organisation is putting together a programme to train granthis and Sikh parcharaks (preachers) to fulfil the needs of the local Sikh community.
Sant Sohan Singh Ji Melaka Memorial Society Malaysia (SSSJMMSM) is embarking on the programme to train granthis, gianis, parcharaks and ragis in India.
“We are finalising the details. We hope there would be takers for the initiative,” SSSJMMSM secretary Daljit Singh told Asia Samachar.
The course intends to groom ‘well trained’ granthis, gianis, parcharaks and ragis, according to a poster released by the organisation. It promises allowances during internship, attractive salaries, job perks and full scholarship.
Open to both males and females, participants must be keshadhari and willing to attend the India-based course.
SSSJMMSM, popularly known as the Vidyala, was established in 1972 in the memory of Baba Sohan Singh, the renowned granthi of Gurdwara Sahib Malacca and a respected Sikh preacher in Southeast Asia in the 1960s and 1970s.
The late Sohan Singh, easily the most respected granthi and parckarak in Southeast Asia, had himself shown importance of proper training and education to become an effective granthi. It is clearly illustrated in his life, as captured in Sant Sohan Singh Ji of Malacca 1902-1972: His Life and Times, a comprehensive 425-page book authored by Saran Singh Sidhu.
Sohan, earlier known as Kaka Ooday Singh (Kaka), came to Malaya in 1926 when he was 24 years old.
At that point of time, he was already well versed and proficient in Punjabi folk songs (lok bolian/geet) and kavisheri (a type of traditional poetry). He was also a practicing akhand pathi and a trained in the Sikh martial art of gatka, according to the book.
After a one-year stint at Gurdwara Sahib Seremban, Sohan was then appointed as a granthi at Gurdwara Sahib Malacca.
In 1932, Sohan applied for an open dated leave from the sangat and the Malacca gurdwara management committee to return to Punjab.
“He informed the sangat that though he was returning to his village Chathewala to visit his family, his main intention was to further his studies on Sikhism. This knowledge would then enable him to do Gurmat parchaar,” according to the book.
Sohan did the Giani (an academic qualification equivalent to B.A. Honours conducted in the Punjabi language) and the Maha Giani (an academics qualification equivalent to M.A. Honours) courses. He had also studied Sanskrit.
On 10 June 1934, Sohan took over the duties of Granthi at the Malacca gurdwara.
SSSJMMSM is now preparing the ground with the hope of producing the next generation of home-grown granthis for Malaysia.
Interested applicants can contact SSSJMMSM president Rejinder Singh (+6108-229 9620) or Daljit (+6017-872 9924) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Giani Rann & local granthis (Asia Samachar, 25 Jan 2015)