Rawang Sikhs plan gurdwara complex for next 50 years

Gurdwara Sahib Rawang, set up 85 years ago, last saw major renovation some 5 decades ago. Now, Sikhs in the Selangor town are setting in motion plans for a major makeover. Gurdwara building committee chairman Harmendar Singh Khosa gave this speech at a high-tea on Jan 29. 2023 as the plans move into high gear. We reproduce the speech.

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The 1973 Rawang gurdwara committee standing in front of the old wooden structure – Photo: GSR

By Harmendar Singh Khosa | Malaysia |

On behalf of the Parbandhak & Building Committee, I would like to say a big welcome to everyone present here today. We are gathered to celebrate a monumental event that we have awaited for a very long time.  Before I move on further, I would like to take everyone on a reflection of our journey thus far. 

This idea for Gurdwara renovation and upgrading was mooted almost 20 years ago. And I dare say that there was much effort from the Gurdwara Parbandhak Committees from that time onwards to make this dream come true. I remember when I was serving as the Punjabi School Manager in 2006, the ideas were being discussed at the Committee meetings. 

The President at that time was our Late Sardar Mahinder Singh Sidhu from Sidhu Brothers. Then followed by Late Sardar Lakhbir Singh, followed by Sardar Kartar Singh Jassal, Sardar Dr Nirmal Singh, and now under the auspices of Sardar Amarjit Singh Jassal. 

I daresay that every committee had laboriously worked towards bringing this dream to a fruition, laid the foundation, ranging from finding the actual size of the Gurdwara plot from Pejabat Tanah (Land office), getting the correct title, raised money to purchase the current assets, developed the concept for rebuilding, had many discussions with the architect, and many many more actions. 

What every committee has done since then, together with the Sanggat, is to lay the foundation, brick by brick, to bring us towards getting all the paperwork in order, in obtaining all the approvals from all the relevant depts. Eventually. All this was done as wonderful sewa by all members. I won’t mention who you are, as there are too many of you wonderful Rawang Sikhs who have contributed to these efforts. You know, and Waheguru knows, what you have contributed and may you be blessed by Waheguru for this Sewa. 

IN FULL FORCE: Attendees at the hi tea on renovation plans for the Rawang gurdwara complex on Jan 29, 2023. You can view the old structure on the right – Photo: GSR

Our elders took the challenge to built this Gurdwara in 1938. The late Babu Bachan Singh, father of our Sanggat member, Sardar Baldave Singh, was the Mining Overseer for the Rawang Tin Mines at that time. There were many Sikhs working in the dredging mines then, and Babu Bachan Singh one of the few learned Sikhs in Rawang. Together with the Sanggat, he managed to convince the Rawang Mines Manager, Mr McCormick to allocate a piece of land for the construction of the Gurdwara. That piece of land is the very same one where we are standing on today.  Babu Bachan Singh did the Secretary and Treasurer Sewa from then until the early 80s. 

The first structure of the Gurdwara was a wooden one, and the current concrete Darbar Sahib sits atop very same foundation, at that same very height. The concrete base foundation has never been touched since. 

Rawang Punjabi school, circa 1956/7. Seated seventh from left is Mata Isher Kaur, the first Punjabi school teacher. – Photo: GSR

The Punjabi School was then started, with one teacher, Sardarni Isher Kaur, who went on to serve as Teacher until the late 60s. Her former students might be sitting here with us today.      

In 1974, the wooden structure was replaced by a concrete one. As the older folks of Rawang might remember, the President at that time was Sardar Resham Singh, who was the General Manager of Len Bus Co. He stayed on a president for almost 20 years. 

Now it has been almost 50 years since the last major renovation. I believe we all can emulate the sewa of these very fine Sikh pioneers who gave their man, tan and dhan so that the sanggat of today can enjoy this wonderful venue. 

THE NEXT PHASE

And the time is ripe for us, to continue the good work of our pioneers so that the next generation of Sikhs in Rawang can continue to pray, socialize and do good in tandem with the times. 

As time passes, there are always new needs and upgrading, as we upgrade our own lifestyle and homes, and we also continuously renovate our homes to suit ourselves. Our new structure includes a two storey multi purpose building comprising Granthi and Pathi residences, langgar hall, a modern kitchen, storerooms, toilets, chota darbar (small prayer room), classrooms and office. It should be able to cater to the growing Sanggat needs, as we can host Kirtan Darbars, wedding parties, Samelan and other Sikhi based events. 

We would like to thank each and every one who has continuously made our Gurdwara not only a place of worship, but a very important part of the social life of Rawang Sikhs. Special thanks to all our Dhesi veer, and sisters, who have always stood by our side in sewa and in carrying all our activities actively. 

This is our Gurdwara, where we have celebrated Gurpurbs, weddings, birthdays, deaths, amrit sanchaar, kirtan, samelan, Hola Mohalla and Vaisakhi games, and not forgetting Punjabi school.  We have always stood together, old and new Sanggat side by side in this together, and now we invite everyone to take this huge big giant step to do it better, again, together. 

Harmendar Singh Khosa (left) briefing hi tea attendees on renovation plans for the Rawang gurdwara complex on Jan 29, 2023 – Photo: GSR

My dear brothers and sisters, children, and elders, the time has come now for us to take up this challenge do sewa, as you have always done.  We need as much as much dhann, as we can to make this Amarat that can be utilized efficiently for the next 50 years. What we are building today, will be much used by us, and more so by our children, and their children in the future. We already have a very beautiful Darbar Sahib, and all other social activities and the new langgar hall will complement of whole Gurdwara complex. The generations to come will appreciate what we have done, as we appreciate our elders for what they did in 1938, and then in 1974.  

Although the Covid had stalled our plans for a couple of years, we are today back on track. Our cost of construction has escalated from a price of RM2.6 million to RM3.4 million, up by 30%, due to the higher cost of materials and labour. We have in our coffers today about RM650,000. We must raise RM2.7 million to make this dream come true. And we are starting the ball rolling today. 

We have about 150 Sikh and shardalu families here in Rawang. We are confident that the Rawang Sanggat will rise to the occasion and raise the bulk of the funds. We shall also be coming to your homes, like how our elders did in 1938 and again in 1974, so that we can achieve our target. Of which I have no doubt that we can! 

Waheguru jika Khalsa , Waheguru ji ki Fateh! 

The Gurdwara Sahib Rawang darbar sahib, renovated in 1974, will not be touched. – Photo: GSR Facebook

HOW YOU CAN HELP? You can contact Harmendar Singh Khosa at +6016-6685900 for more details. Cheques can be made to GSR Building Fund (Account No: 8008 600 827, Bank: CIMB Bank).

RELATED STORY:

Rawang Sikhs set to raise RM2.4m to renovate gurdwara complex (Asia Samachar, 15 Feb 2023)

Lessons in building a gurdwara (Asia Samachar, 9 Dec 2015)

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