Sarban Singh Ghali: Train controller with unwavering passion for Sikhi

Starting off as a Station Master with Malayan Railways at it was known then in 1957, Sarban Singh Ghali played instrumental roles in various gurdwaras at places he served


ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਜਨਮੁ ਸਵਾਰਿ ਦਰਗਹ ਚਲਿਆ।

Gurmukh Janam Savar Dargeh Chaleya 

(Bhai Gurdas, Vaar 19, Pauri 14)

By Paramjeet Singh | MALAYSIA |

With a heavy heart we wish to inform you that our beloved dad Sardar Sarban Singh Ghali had passed away on 22 Jan 2021 and was cremated on the same day. Due to MCO 2.0 it was done in accordance with the set SOP by close family members.

Father had served in the civil service for a total of 35 years in various positions. Starting off as a Station Master with Malayan Railways as it was known then in 1957 and retiring as Train Controller with Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur in 1992.

As government postings back then required him to move to many towns across the country dad always played a key role in community service and Gurdwaras especially in the small towns where he was posted. When in Parit Buntar from 1964 to 1973 – his longest stint – he assisted in the local Gurdwara Sunday Diwans as there was no Granthi for most of the years. This was when he met Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji Malacca and obtained his blessings.

From Parit Buntar we moved to Gemas Negeri Sembilan. As there was no Gurdwara in this small quint town, our humble dwelling became a makeshift Darbar serving local Sikh community of mostly railway families. We remember we celebrated major Gurpurbs especially Vasaikhi and Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday every year. Families would chip in and dad also consented to doing ardas and allowed metha tek as we had daily Parkash of Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) ji at our home. Dad kept two Birs one of which was joint Gurmukhi akarh which is rare these days.

Dad got transferred to Kota Bharu in 1979 and again as there was no granthi then, dad volunteered to assist the caretaker in the Sunday Diwans doing kirtan and path (and I would do the tabla). He would also consent to request for Sahej path which he would do during his free time. Some weekends we would drive down to Kuala Krai distance of 74km to conduct programmes at the local gurdwara and other times head to Kuala Terengganu 134km away for private events at Sikh homes as there was no Gurdwara Sahib there. The portable palkhi and SGGS Ji taken from our home.

Dad moved back to the west coast in 1982 and was stationed in Kuala Kangsar (our beloved Giani Balbir Singh Ji was the granthi then) and later to Butterworth as Train Controller again involving actively in Gurdwara Sahib Prai. Coming to Kuala Lumpur in 1985 dad became active in Akandh Path Sewa in local Gurdwaras mainly Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya (GSPJ).

Dad won the Best Pathi Malaysia title in the eighties after competing and winning in the Sudh Path competition three years in a row held at and organised by Gurdwara Sahib Sentul.

Later after retirement he began to actively involve in Gurdwara work highlights being the 300th commemoration of the Khalsa in 1999 where he single handedly organised and took full responsibility for the 101 Akandh Paths at GSPJ. Later, he assisted the committee as Chairman of Religious Subcommittee for many years.

Being a common sight at the Malacca Barsi, dad fondly took part in the Semagam Akandh Path annually and did the Patha de Bhog alongside the likes of late Giani Rann Singh and Giani Harcharan Singh.

We only found out recently that dad was also active with Sant Attar Singh Ji Brahm Vidya Niketan Malaysia (Niketan) and was their trustee. Dad was very knowledgeable in Sikhi especially Sudh Path and anything to do with Rehat and SGGS Ji. He wasn’t interested in positions or fame.

He was instrumental in the development of the New Gurdwara Sahib Puchong and served as Vice President for five years before stepping down to do freelance Sewa.

His contribution towards Sikhi, alongside mum’s support, will always be our greatest source of inspiration. We will miss him dearly but will continue to cherish all the good memories we have of him.

Rest in peace our dearest dad. You were the most amazing person and the light of our lives. We will miss you more than words can describe.

(Capt Paramjeet Singh Air Asia is the eldest son)



Wife: Rajinder Kaur

Children / Spouse:

Capt Paramjeet Singh (Air Asia) / Inderjeet Kaur (Advocate & Solicitor)

Manjit Kaur

Harminder Jeet Singh (Singapore)

Surinderjeet Kaur (Kuala Lumpur) / Ajitpal Singh (Ex Maybank)

Charanjeet Singh (Deceased)

Grandchildren: Dr Jaspreet Kaur, Jesroshan Singh, Gurperghas Singh Gill, Gurissher Singh Gill, Harkiranjeet Kaur Gill, Arvindpal Singh Gill


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


  1. Indeed, one of the leading Gursikh souls of Malaysia. Gentle, unassuming, humble man. A great paathi and kirtenia. Always involved in sewa. He is a great loss to the Sikh Panth. Condolences to the family.

  2. Lost another friend . First met him in Wakaf Baru Kelantan Railway Station when went there to audit Station accounts and remained friends ever and met regularly in PJ.
    Pray his soul rests with WaheGuru and family accept it.
    Bless all