Monday, 13 August 2012

Photo Speak III: Malaya: Sangats, Gianis etc

(In progress)
E-mail me if you see a familiar face from the past
Pass on this webpage to Malaysian friends & publications.

Personalities, memories, milestones, adventures etc etc from family "Bassian albums" started by Bapu ji, Giani Harchand Singh Bassian of Malaysia. Recent prompt by youngest brother Dya Singh of Oz when visiting UK July 2012.  Dates & captions to be completed in due course. Still learning how to manage scans.

Click on photos to see full images.

Photo taken about 1926 Baba Munshi Isher Singh Bassian (Bapu ji's chacha ji) seated 2nd from right facing photo.

First Giani/Granthis Samelan in Kuala Lumpur 1953 (Click on photos to see full image).

Bapu ji, Giani Harchand Singh Bassian of Malaysia seated 5th from left facing the picture.

Raub Gurdwara 1951 (Spot Dya Singh of Oz !)

GS standing 1st right facing photo (wearing spectacles): Taiping (Malaya) Sangat 1957. 

Late Baba Fauja Singh, Taiping.  Owe much to prominent Sikhs like him and Taiping Sangat for encouragement during senior school years.  

Changing times half a century ago: Arrival of new generation gurdwara managers (teachers & baboos) with new ideas.
Replace giani/granthi  "Babay da vazir" answerable to Sangat, by obedient granthi sevadar working for gurdwara managers. Usually replaced by next change in gurdwara management team. Start of gurdwara elections in Malaysia.
One example of the new trend below. Another well known case of a scholar Giani with family, put on the ship by Seremban gurdwara managers.
The sacking of a "Babay da Vazir" who refuses to allow the flag of a country to be hoisted on the same flag post as Gurdwara Nishan Sahib. The Giani/teacher, married with three children, two in school,  given 12 days notice to leave Gurdwara accommodation:

"Directed by" whom Gurdwara Secretary Sahib or Pardhan Sahib? Not the Sangat!  

 No reason given. Maybe, sacked for disobedience ?

 Bassian brothers August 1950

 Prefects Board (Mahmood School, Raub) 20.09.53 - My last photo at Raub: Schooling interrupted when Bapu ji sacked a month later on 19.10.1953 as Giani/Panjabi Teacher after serving at Panjabi school and gurdwara for 6 years.

Moved to Klang where Bapu ji worked as bus conductor. Family of 5 lived in a small one room wooden hut, where prominent Sikh scholars  including editors of "Malaya Samachaar" (KL) and "Navjeevan" used to drop in to meet Bapu ji. Continued with Kirtan seva at Klang Gurdwara.  The most challenging years for the family. My first article in Panjabi in Malaya Samachar headed "Laik Sajjan" that year, questioned what sort of "Laik Sajjan" (with reference to Bapu ji's experience, and advertisements for "Qualified Giani/Granthis"), the new generation Gurdwara managers were looking for?
Those years saw the end of traditional scholar kathakaar/kirtania Granthis.

However: "Jis da Sahib dhaadha hoey........."

"Jis da Sahib Dhaadha hoay...."  Sant Fateh Singh's favourite Shabad  (Kirtan by teenager Dya Singh & Bapu ji playing Tabla) 7.09.1976

The journey continues: From village Bassian to Berri, Riverland, South Australia  
(Missing: Bapu ji, Giani Harchand Singh Bassian from 17.11.1975.  Sister, Bibi Sarandeep Kaur in this photo departed on 15.02.2012) 
Photo at farm residence of  middle brother, ex-Cllr Baldev Singh Dhaliwal JP; South Australian Ombudsman Referral Justice;  State and National awards for community service. 

Gurmukh Singh
Sikh Education Welfare & Advancement (SEWA)
©Gurmukh Singh

Items may be published with acknowledgement.

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