Vaisakhi Proceeds Amidst The Pandemic With Strict SOP
Written by: Rienna Kaur
Edited by: Amirah Syazwani Shawel
KLUANG, April 12 - Vaisakhi this year will be a little toned down in terms of celebration if not all for the Malaysian Sikhs with the pandemic still looming on all of us as well as the partial movement control order in place.
Vaisakhi, a celebration of the Sikh New Year, Punjab’s harvest festival, to celebrate the birth of Khalsa and the founding of the Sikh faith. The traditional celebration will usually be held on a really grand scale of three days with the recitation of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book at the respective gurdwaras all around the world. Meals will also be provided during the course of those three days and scores of people from the Sikh faith and otherwise are welcome to join in on the celebrations as well.
Unfortunately, that will not be possible this year as the majority of Sikhs will be celebrating either with their immediate families in the comfort of their homes or by following strict SOP’s that have been put in place by the government to avoid congestion in gurdwaras around Malaysia.
The President of Gurdwara Sahib Kluang, Datuk Mandev Singh has stressed that only a certain number of people will be allowed to join in the festivities in the gurdwara, and there will be no special treatment given as to who can be present and who cannot.
“Entrance to the gurdwara will be on a first come basis as it will be unfair to only let certain people in.”
He has also emphasised that once the gurdwara has reached the amount of people allowed there won’t be anyone else authorised to enter as per the rules, nonetheless for those celebrating at home, there will be live streams of Akhand Paath prayers available for them.
The ones that have planned to celebrate Vaisakhi at home like Paramjeet Kaur have expressed their sadness in not being able to indulge in the long-running tradition of reciting prayers at the gurdwara, having grand meals together with friends and family along with the games and competitions organised by the community for kids and adults alike. However, she is also profoundly grateful for a lot of things like being able to spend Vaisakhi with her whole family present with her at home in spite of this partial movement control order in place. She realizes that most people don’t have the same privileges, and she knows that she will cherish it.
The Sikh community in Kluang, Johor specifically has been known to be a very small one consisting of mostly the elderly with only a handful of the young ones with many that have moved to other states over the years. The community will take all steps necessary to help curb the spread of the virus as much as they can with cooperation among everyone.
Vaisakhi has always been fundamentally about celebration, remembrance, community, as well as progress. This week, Sikhs will gather with their communities at gurdwaras, local places of worship and reflect on these values.