By Kiranjit Kaur Sidhu | TRIBUTE | MALAYSIA |
Sardar Hardev Singh Kahlon (1955-2021) was an embodiment of virtue and had principles that drove him throughout his life. While many of us think we have principles, Sardarji was one of those rare examples of someone who lived what he believed. For Hardevji, his principles were not something he had as a matter of convenience or lived up to when times were good but principles that controlled everything he did.
A man in a million, we mourn his loss, but we cherish the legacy he has left behind. At first glance, he was often taken as a strict man. But beyond the stern façade is the kind and loving soul with a jovial spirit whom we all cherish and love. Sardarji’s fun-loving spirit and sense of humor would spread joy among everyone around him.
Often, as we live our life, we forget we are here just as temporary visitors. We wish we could stay alive forever and stay with our loved ones. Unfortunately, life has its end and so it happens that our very own Sardarji completed his beautiful journey on earth on 28th May 2021.
Sardarji was a man passionately devoted to his family, friends, and community. Sardarji was a people person and always ready to serve others whether friend or foe. He loved connecting with people and listening to their problems and would think of consequences in any given situation. Sardarji was actively working in both social work and politics to help people in matters related to education and finance. Hardevji was a rock you could rely on.
Born into the family of Sardar Sadu Singh Kahlon and Mata Pajan Kaur, he was the fifth child among 12 siblings. Coming from a big family, he always wished to have one of his own to fill his home with love and laughter. So, he got married in his late 20s and was blessed with seven beautiful children. While he was a constant pillar of support and the pride of his family, his home life was simple. His remarkable wisdom and assistance have touched so many lives.
Hardevji was not only a noble citizen of our society but played a key role as the president of Gurdwara Sahib Tambun, Perak since the early 1990s. Initially, Gurdwara Sahib Tambun was abandoned after World War 2 and the land was occupied by a family. Later, in 1982, Hardevji found Nishan Sahib Cement and 40 ft deep well after confirmation from the government that the said land was gazetted for Gurdwara Sahib Tambun, and in the same year, Gurdwara Sahib began to rebuild.
Sardarji’s father, Sardar Sadu Singh was among the first few sewadars who had the vision to build a beautiful Gurdwara for everyone. After his father’s demise, Sardarji took it upon himself to fulfill his father’s vision. Sardarji worked relentlessly for the improvement of the Gurdwara such as securing funds from Government bodies to driving donations, his dedication was admirable. He worked on the design and architecture of Gurdwara envisioning a Gurdwara built with full white marble, imagining how peaceful it could be. He pursued this dream for the community and even managed to secure funds from the Perak State Government for retaining walls around Gurdwara’s compound, langgar hall roof, main entrance (Dershani Derwaja) of Gurdwara Sahib Tambun.
In 2012, Sardarji led the Gurdwara Sahib Tambun committee to conduct a donation drive to purchase 10,000 sq ft of land for the gurdwara compound worth RM250,000 and managed to purchase the said land within three months, that was the proof of his dedication. Since January 2016, he also initiated the Akhand Path prayer collectively. They would have it monthly and where everyone was welcome to participate for only RM100 per family. Sardarji spent his entire life on religious duties till the last days. Sardarji would always encourage the younger generation to participate in Gurdwara affairs, be it sewa or organizing events and we hope we can live up to his expectations.
Hardevji was also deeply involved in social work/politics such as:
- Initiated a group called myPPP Punjabi Affairs Malaysia in the early 1990s to resolve matters related to Punjabi affairs.
- Gave a sword (Kirpan) as a gift and memorandum to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to request for Vaisakhi leave in 1997.
- Sardarji also went to London for a conference representing the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism in the late 1990s.
- Sardarji was an active member of the Malaysian Gurdwara Council (MGC) since its inception and was also elected as the Vice President of the Council since 2019. Sardarji constantly raised Sikh-related issues to the higher authorities and was a pillar of support for the community.
- Initiated a program with Perak State Government to supply dry ration for needy Sikh families.
- Allocated free spectacles for myPPP Punjabi Affairs from Federal Government through myPPP HQ which were then distributed to the Punjabi community after eye check-up mainly at Tambun Gurdwara and Changkat Tin Gurdwara.
Sardarji was honoured for his countless contribution and his meritorious service to the country. To name a few:
- Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (P.J.K.) by DYMM Sultan Perak in year 1997
- Pingat Pangkuan Negara (P.P.N.) by Yang Di Pertuan Agong XI in year 2000
- Ahli Mahkota Perak (A.M.P.) by DYMM Sultan Perak in year 2003
- Kesatria Mangku Negara (K.M.N.) by Yang Di Pertuan Agong XI in year 2014
Hardevji will always be an inspiration to his family and our entire community. He might be gone but his legacy lives on in many lives he has affected. We still wake up every morning hoping this is a dream, and it hurts knowing he is gone forever. Never again can we rely on his guided hand and lean upon him for advice. Sardarji’s demise has left a void that nothing else can fulfill but we hope his soul lives a fulfilling afterlife like the one he has lived on earth. Sardar Hardev Singh Ji will be missed deeply by his family and will forever be in our hearts.
In the light of FMCO, the Path da Bhog will be held privately on 13 June 2021, strictly among immediate family members only. We truly appreciate your thoughts and prayers.
“We will meet again. Don’t know where, don’t know when but I know we will meet again, some sunny day”.
(The writer is the niece of Sardar Hardev Singh Kahlon.)