Gurudwara Sahib Mantin, Negeri Sembilan
Gurdwara Sahib Mantin, in the Mukim of Setul, is believed to have been built in the early 1890’s and is the oldest Sikh Gurdwara in the State of Negeri Sembilan. This Gurdwara Sahib was made of wooden planks with attap roof, which was later changed to zinc. It is situated on a three and a half acre piece of land held under two Land Grants. One Grant is in the name of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and the second Grant is in the name of two appointed Trustees. This spacious area, the greenery around and the scenic countryside beauty with the hills in the distance, gives this place a very quiet and serene atmosphere for meditation and prayers.
The early Sikhs in the Mantin area were either employed as watchmen in the various tin mines in the area or were policemen. A few of them reared cattle for their milk and owned bullock carts.
No proper accounts were kept in the Gurdwara in the early days. All donations received were counted in the presence of the sangat and the expenditure deducted. The balance of the cash was handed over to trusted Sikhs to be kept by them on behalf of the Gurdwara Sahib. This was a common practice in most of the other Sikh Gurdwaras in Malaya in the early years of the 20t” Century.
The new Gurdwara Sahib Mantin building was built in 19O1 at a cost of Straits Settlements $4,791.00 and completed in May 19O2. The Gurdwara land was sloping. To raise the level of the land, all those owning bullock carts and the rest of the Sikh Sangat did sewa from dawn to dusk to fill up and raise the level of the land.
On 1″ December 19O2, the Sikh sangat bought Sardar Jaswant Singh’s rubber land for Straits Settlements $1,500.00. This land was placed under the care of two trustees, Sardar Naranjan Singh and Sardar Bishen Singh. Later, when Sardar Naranjan Singh left for India, he was replaced by Sardar Gurcharan Singh. This piece of land was sold in February 1959 for Malayan $4,51O.00.
In 19O9, the Gurdwara Sahib Mantin’s rooms were rented out for Straits Settlements $1.00 a month to needy Sikhs.
On 17th February 1942, Amrit Sanchar was organised in Gurdwara Sahib Mantin. Both men and women took Amrit from the Panj Piyarae. It was a policy then, if a person’s name was not taken according to Sikh rites from the Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, at the time of birth, then at the time of taking Amrit, a new name would be given derived from the Hukamnama. Many Sikhs changed their names upon taking Amrit.
A Sikh marriage was only permitted if both the bride and bridegroom had taken Amrit prior to the wedding. The couple bowed their heads to the Holy Book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, to denote that they had taken Amrit before the commencement of the actual marriage ceremony
In the 1960’s, there were insufficient funds for the upkeep of the Gurdwara Sahib and to pay the Granthi salary. Sardar Gurcharan Singh from Mantin, Sardar Hakam Singh (Foh Hup Bus Co.). Sardar Jangir Singh (Seremban Transport Co.) and Sardar Atma Singh Gill from Seremban took the lead to collect donations and ensure that the Gurdwara Sahib continued to function. Sardar Gurcharan Singh of Mantin continued to play an important role in the running of this Gurdwara Sahib for many years.
In 1989, the Gurdwara Sahib was repaired and a new dining hall, kitchen and rooms were built to accommodate the Sikh sangat. An Akhand Path was held to celebrate the completion of this project, which was well attended by the Sangat from all over Malaysia.
There was an old discarded well in the Gurdwara Sahib premises which was repaired and brought into use again. The area around this well has been beautified. The water from this well is believed by many people to posses healing properties that could cure many ailments. It is normal to see most of the visitors washing their faces with this well water and in some cases having a quick bath. Many will fill up a bottle of this well water and take it home for later use. Those who have had their problems solved or wishes come true, return again to fulfill their pledges or vows and hold a Sehaj Path or Akhand Path.
In July 2002, a new single storey building was built at the back of the Gurdwara Sahib. It comprises a classroom for teaching Gurmukhi as well as six fully furnished rooms for Sikh visitors. These rooms are usually allocated to those who hold religious functions in this Gurdwara Sahib. A nominal fee of RM100.00 is charged for a three nights stay. Each room can accommodate between 6 – 10 persons.
On 5th August 2002, the Sikh Sangat of Mantin with the assistance of the Sikh Naujawan Sabha members organised the largest gathering of Sikhs in Mantin. A Kirtan Darbar was held during this occasion followed by the Akhand Path. An Amrit Sanskar was also held at which 11 Sikh men and women took the Amrit.
Since the year 2001, the holding of Akhand Path’s Sukhmani Sahib Path and other prayers and functions have increased tremendously. In the year 2002 and 200O, all weekends were fully booked to cater for various religious events.
Plans are being finalised to build another Darbar Sahib in the Gurdwara Sahib compound. With WaheGuru’s blessing and the cooperation of the sangat, construction on this second Gurdwara Sahib building is expected to commence in 2004. Sardar Pritam Singh Bhuller is working hard together with the other committee members, to fulfill this dream.
The longest serving Granthi in this Gurdwara Sahib was Giani Tara Singh who served for 40 years from 1929 until his departure for Punjab, India in 1969.
Sikh Gurudwaras in Malaysia&Singapore
Saran Singh Sidhu AMN,PNM,FRNS