Reported by Rajveev Singh | MYANMAR |
Sikhs in the Kachin state of Myanmar drove some four hours to a town about 200 kilometres away to hold a special function in a gurdwara that is no longer operational.
Today, some 100 Sikhs from Myitkyina descended upon the town held a number of programmes in the gurdwara. There are chatter, laugher and a hive of activity at the otherwise quiet building that serves as the Bhamo gurdwara.
It was a special day of joy and events at a Sikh gurdwara that is otherwise largely abandoned for the rest of the year simply due to circumstances.
Bhamo is located some 3,600km to the north of Singapore or about 1,800km from Bangkok or some 450km from Mandalay. The Irrawaddy River runs on its left and the China border is located about 100km to its right.
But every year, the Sikh Sanggat from Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, will make their way to this town for the up-keep of the Sikh place of worship as well as to engage with the local community.
There are no more Sikhs in the Bhamo (also spelt Bhamaw). Many of the Sikhs, who were originally from India, had left for India in the 1960s during the nationalisation. Another exodus happened in the 1990s.
“There is no Sikh left in this area now,” Gurdwara Sahib Myitkyina committee president Manmohan Singh told Asia Samachar. “We come annually to have a programme here, we change the nishan sahib.”
The town of the northernmost state of Myanmar may no longer have any Sikh population living there, but the beautiful gurdwara building well maintained. It is understood that a local Hindu family takes charge of it.
Manmohan, Myitkyina secretary Aatam Singh and others in the delegation had prepared Guru Ka Langgar which was distributed to the local community as the commemorated the 550th birth of Guru Nanak, joining various other gurdwaras in Myanmar in doing so. The mood was one of joy and laughter as they went about preparing the food.
This time around, they had prepared 2,000 Langgar boxes.
They also performed kirtan and had a nishan sahib selami, i.e. the changing of the Khalsa flag. Interestingly, it was noticed the nishan sahib was red in colour.
They had also extended donations to the Buddhist monks and the old folks home.
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