Malaysian gurdwaras to cancel Vaisakhi celebration

Malaysian Gudwaras Council (MGC) is advising all gurdwara to cancel Vaisakhi celebrations on 14 April 2020 in compliance with the movement control order (MCO), noting that there was a possibility the order may be extended.

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Taiping gurdwara Vaisakhi 2016 – Photo: GS Taiping Facebook
By Asia Samachar Team | MALAYSIA |

Malaysian gurdwaras will skip the congregational prayers and all gurdwara-based programmes for Vaisakhi which falls on 14 April, the last day within the extended partial lockdown for Covid-19.

This will be the first time that the Vaisakhi celebration, which usually attracts a strong turnout at most gurdwaras, for many decades.

Malaysian Gudwaras Council (MGC) is advising all gurdwara to cancel Vaisakhi celebrations on 14 April 2020 in compliance with the movement control order (MCO), noting that there was a possibility the order may be extended.

“This is a difficult decision and MGC hopes that all the Sanggat would understand the rationale behind it,” said MGC president Jagir Singh in a letter (see full letter below) to be sent out to all Malaysian gurdwaras.

Vaisakhi, which marks the establishment of the Khalsa brotherhood in 1699, is one of the largest functions for gurdwaras globally.

When contacted, Jagir told Asia Samachar it was a unanimous decision by the council’s executive committee.

Across the causeway, Singapore gurdwaras have decided to cancel all congregational prayers and gatherings from 27 March to 30 April, which would mean that the Vaiskahi celebrations will not be taking place at gurdwaras. See here.

In an earlier decision, Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA) had announced the cancellation of the Vesakhi Mela 2020, a signature event of the SKA and one of Singapore’s largest Vaisakhi events. It was planned for April 11-12. See here.

When contacted, Khalsa Diwan Malaysia (KDM) and Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (SNSM), two of the larger Sikh organisations in Malaysia, welcome the decision.

“Under the present circumstances, it’s good advise. We are supportive of the move,” said KDM president Santokh Singh.

KDM’s Punjabi education wing has suspended the running of 43 Punjabi Education Centres (PECs), the weekend Punjabi classes mostly operating gurdwaras nationwide, in line with closure of schools under the MCO.

On its part, SNSM jathedar Dr Jasbir Singh said it was devising Sikhi-related activities that families can undertake in their homes for Vaisakhi and beyond. “They are being finalised as we speak,” he said.

Kuching gurdwara, home to the largest Sikh population in Sarawak in East Malaysia, will adopt the MGC advisory.

“We are not out of the woods yet (with Covid-19). The safety of the Sanggat and the larger population comes first. We may organise a programme at a later date, depending on the situation,” said Sarawak Sikh Temple Association (SSTA) president president Dr Kalwinder Singh Khaira.

Malaysian Gurdwaras and other places of worship were ordered close from 18 March when Malaysia initially imposed the MCO to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Also ordered close were all government and private premises, except providers of essential services such as utilities, telecommunications, transport, banking, health, pharmacies, ports, airports, cleaning and food supplies.

 

THE FULL LETTER FROM MGC DATED 27 MARCH 2020

SUBJECT: Coronavirus – Advisory 6 – Vaisakhi Celebration (14/04/2020)

1. The YAB Prime Minister has announced that the MOVEMENT CONTROL ORDER (MCO) which was originally for period from 18 March 2020 to 31 March 2020 has been extended to 14 April 2020. Vide Section 11(4) of Act 342 read together with Section 24(a) of the same Act, it is an offence to contravene any of the provisions of the MCO.

2. Vaisakhi that is the Sajna Divas of the Khalsa falls on 14 April 2020 which date is within the MCO. There is also a possibility for the MCO to be extended further if the situation does not improve enough.

3. The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) after due deliberations and taking all above factors into consideration including the need to ensure the safety of the Sanggat has decided on the following:

(i) The Vaisakhi celebrations on 14 April 2020 should be cancelled in compliance with the MCO. This is a difficult decision and MGC hopes that all the Sanggat would understand the rationale behind it.

(ii) The Gurdwaras Committees at their absolute discretion may hold the Vaisakhi programme at a later date when conditions permit. This will be especially so where the Gurdwaras have kept the Sadharan Paath in commemoration of Vaisakhi day.

(iii) At all times, there should be strict compliance with MCO. All social distancing rules should be observed.

(iv) All Sikhs are encouraged to recite Gurbani Paath in their own homes and then to do Ardas for the well-being and health of the whole world community (Sarbat Da Bhalla).

(v) For the duration of the MCO from 18 March 2020 to 14 April 2020, the following amongst others, to be complied with:

a) Places of worship to remain closed.

b) No gatherings allowed.

c) Gurdwaras may allow private worship and essential religious rites subject to the group size being not more than 10 persons.

d) Social distancing to be observed, that is persons remain more than 1 metre away from the next person.

6) Absolute hygiene and cleanliness to be observed all the time.

Dhanwad.

Jagir Singh, President, Malaysian Gurdwaras Council

 

RELATED STORY:

Singapore gurdwaras cancel all programmes  (Asia Samachar, 26 March 2020)

Gurdwaras to shutdown under Malaysia’s partial lockdown (Asia Samachar, 16 March 2020)

 

ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: editor@asiasamachar.com | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here |

1 COMMENT

  1. Good time for e-paath Maala
    e-Paath Maala

    With Social distancing, which means no more gathering, no more travelling to places of worship, Akand Paath & Satsangs confined to homes. A Massive changes in the coming years.
    This era, in which we fortunately are in, has the best technology. Smartphones are prevalent to almost everyone.
    e-paath Maala is about doing Sedharan Paath (Reading in parts) of SGGS by registering oneself on a WhatsApp group.

    You can create your own group and perform reading Sri Guru Granth Sahib from the comfort of your home or at any place you may wish to read. The person reading will mention “Paath in Progress”. This would mean that no body within the group will duplicate reading the path that is being read. Once the current reader finishes reading, he or she will mention the Page Number and the Salokh from where the next reader should continue. This way the whole of Sri Guru Granth Sahib can be completed reading. There can be times in which the SSGS is not being read by the member of the group. It does not matter, after all it is Sedharan Paath.

    The respective Gurdwaras could take a lead. Especially During Gurpurab and Vasakhi.
    e-Paath Maala needs no boundaries, members living in other countries can contribute in reading.

    I would suggest every unit family to form a respective WhatsApp group for this very purpose. Download a SGGS App. Those who cannot read in Gurmukhi Punjabi can do so in Romanized Punjabi. Perhaps many of the younger generation would be encouraged to join the e-paath maala. This way, everyone would actively take part, as compared to the traditional reading of the SGGS.
    e-Paath Maala is a right fit to the lives of Sikhs in this era.

    Anyone willing to join our e-paath mala, could drop an email to preetbains.clouds@gmail.com Please include your Name, address and mobile contact details.

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