Past President Datuk Sucha Singh speaks of MGC, it’s formation and direction, Then and Now – Part 1

Sant Anoop Singh 

Simran Sant Anoop Singh

The following is the narrative of our interview with Datuk Sucha Singh on his views and experience about the Malaysian Gurdwara Council and its formation.  This is Part 1.  


We understand that you were one of the pioneers and served the M.G.C for many years and you were the President for a number of terms. We will like you to share your thoughts and experiences with us.

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Datuk Sucha Singh

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.  I thank you for asking me to share my views and experience. Thank you.


Can you enlighten us briefly on your background?

Datuk Sucha Singh

I was born in India. I came to then Malaya at the age of seven and started my Punjabi and English education. I obtained credit in Punjabi Language paper in the Senior Cambridge School Certificate Examination. I obtained LLB (Hons) degree from University of Singapore in 1975 and was called to the Malaysian Bar in the same year.I learned Sikh history and Gurbani and became Akhand Pathi at  an early age.


Can you tell us about the events that led to the  formation of M.G.C.

Datuk Sucha Singh

M.G.C is the direct result of the extreme hurt feelings and anger of the Sikhs worldwide arising from the attack on the Harmandir Sahib in 1984.  In Malaysia an ad-hoc committee was formed. The ad-hoc committee was the precursor of the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council. Taking the lead were late Shamsher Singh of Rawang, Senior lawyer Joginder Singh, Harcharan Singh, Hari Singh and the late Harbhajan Singh. The ad-hoc committee performed a great job. They collected and obtained information, news and the truths about the attack from all over the world and disseminated it to the Sangat in Malaysia. They led the protests against the attack and stood up and voiced out the feelings and  sentiments of the Sikhs. Many like me were profoundly affected by the event in Punjab and by the efforts of the ad-hoc committee. I will happily especially mention lawyer Joginder Singh. As a young lawyer then I admired his courage and contribution in standing up and fighting for justice not only in Malaysia but internationally and he sacrificed much for that. As matters cooled down in Punjab it was felt that we needed to mobilise and organize the Gurdwaras and that there was a need for a council of the Gurdwaras. There was overwhelming support from the Gurdwaras and the Sangat for the formation of Council. Finally The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council was formed and registered and it held the first inaugural meeting in 1990 at Kg. Pandan Wada Gurdwara, with Sardar Shamsher Singh as its first President, Joginder Singh as  one of the Vice Presidents and Hari Singh as the Secretary. I was elected as a committee member. In the second year I became a Vice President. I served as a Vice President all the time with four terms as president.  We  had our offices in Sentul Gurdwara and PJ Gurdwara


What were the underlying principles and main objectives on which the M.G.C was formed. 

Datuk Sucha Singh

I can do no better than to draw your attention to what is stated in the Preamble Constitution of the M.G.C. The Sikhs of Malaysia abiding by the principles of the Sikh religion as ordained by the Ten Gurus, Sri Guru Nanak to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji enshrined in the eternal Sri Guru Granth Sahib and enunciated by the Guru Panth.  Resolve to constitute a religious Organisation known as the Majlis Gurdwara-Gurdwara  Malaysia or the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council and to preserve promote  and uphold the doctrine and  principle  of the Sikh religion and to conduct our business in a manner in keeping  with the Sikh  practices and traditions.  As regard the objectives they are approximately the same as in the Constitutions of most religious societies that is to promote, preserve and maintain Sikh religion, Sikh identity Sikh culture and Sikh heritage. However I draw attention to three of objectives relevant to our discussion.

  1. To inculcate and promote the teaching of the TEN GURUS and the eternal principles of Sri Guru Granth  Sahib Ji and 
  2. to preserve, propagate, uphold and practice the Sikh religion in accordance with ESTABLISHED practices and Rehat Maryada.
  3. to respect, maintain and implement independence of Sikh Gurdwaras. 


How did M.G.C. achieve its principles and objectives in the past.

Datuk Sucha Singh

I will not talk about our achievements Suffice to say I am happy and look back to the years spent in M.G.C with a sense of satisfaction M.G.C’s stand was always Panthic in line with the stand and decisions of the Akaal Takhat.  We did our best to preserve promote and uphold the Sikh religion and conducted our business in keeping with the Sikh practices and traditions especially with regards to our allegiance to the Akaal Takhat and decisions, gurmattas, mattas, sandesh or adesh of the Takhats. . 


What do you think of current M.G.C’s performance as far as sticking to its principles and achieving its objectives are concerned.

Datuk Sucha Singh

I will not comment on the current M.G.C or their performance. Ever since I left the M.G.C I have no communications or contact with M.G.C. I have given no thought to their activities and affairs. The Gurdwaras and the Sangat to whom the council belongs will surely judge them as to whether their stand and performance especially in relation to allegiance, association and affiliation, Gurmat and established Sikh practices are in accordance with the Panthic principles, and established practices especially with regards Gurmatta, Matas, Sandesh or decisions of the Akaal Takhat and the other Takhats or otherwise.


What was the stand of M.G.C in the early days as far as keertan and Parchar of  Sri Dasam Granth Bani’s is concerned.

Datuk Sucha Singh

Before I say anything about Dasam Granth let me put things in perspective Sri Guru Granth Sahib is the only eternal Satguru, absolute sovereign and master not only of the Sikhs but all mankind, indeed all of the universe and His Creation.  Guru Gobind Singh Ji bestowed Gurgadhi on the Sri Guru Granth Sahib only and no other Granth.  We do not question Guru Gobind Singh’s Divine Wisdom in not including his Bani in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

In all my years with the M.G.C there were no issues relating to Dasam Granth. The authenticity and position of the Dasam Granth was never questioned raised or discussed in the M.G.C or the Gurdwaras.  It is not for the Gurdwaras and the Council to question the authenticity or position of Dasam Pita’s Bani.  Guru Gobind Singh Ji is Guru Nanak Satguru form (Guru Nanak da Roop Satguru, Guru Nanak di Jot).  Keertan and Katha of Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Bani is Gurmat and established Sikh practices from the time of Guruji throught to our forefathers and today.  Keertan and Katha and Parchar of the bani and shabads of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was freely done.

I understand that even the current M.G.C have rightly stated that in relation to the controversy surrounding the Dasam Granth ‘we should look towards our religious institution of supreme authority, the Akaal Takhat to give the final direction in the matter’.  The Akaal Takhat and other Four Takhats has issued clear and unequivocal directions by a Gurmatta and advice in the matter Kirtan and Katha of Dasam Pita’s Bani is allowed, can be conducted and is necessary. 

During my time as a President our efforts were to establish closer links with Sri Akaal Takhat the supreme religious authority of Sikh and not with some world organisations or councils. No so called scholars, organizations or councils except Akaal Takhat has the right or aukaad (ਔਕਾਤ) to prohibit or ban the Keertan, Katha or Parchar of Dasam Pita’s Bani.  For every individual, organization or council opposed to Dasam Granth, there are many, many more panthic organizations sampradavas and late and present day Gursikhs, mahapurkhs, preachers, writers, researchers, scholars, professors, many with doctorates (Phds) on Dasam Granth who support, respect and revere the Dasam Granth.  What is important and sufficient for the Sangat and Gursikhs to know is that the Dasam Granth is read and recited in the Five Takhats and what is the position of the Takhats in the Sikh thoughts? Sacred!!In our daily ardas we say panjan Takhatan da dian dharke boloh Waheguru Waheguru, Waheguru. Dasam Granth Bani is also recited and sung in Kirtan in Harmandir Sahib, the historical Gurdwaras, Gurdwaras and Sikhs worldwide.

…. to be continued

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