Malaysian Indians Sikhs start off new year with prayers for
Malaysian Indians Sikhs start off new year with prayers for

Malaysian Indians, Sikhs start off new year with prayers for peace, harmony

PETALING JAYA: Ushering their respective New Year’s back-to-back since April 9, Malaysians of various sub-ethnicities from the Indian community led their celebrations with prayers and a divine plea for greater unity and continued harmony among races in the country.

The Indian New Year kicked off with the Telegu community celebrating Ugadi on April 9, followed by Vaisakhi by the Punjabis on Saturday (April 13) before the Tamil, Malayalee and Bengali communities ushered Chithirai Puthandu, Vishu and Polia Baisakh respectively on Sunday (April 14).

Hindu-based NGO Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram adviser Datuk V. Nadarajan said the new year was not only celebrated by Indians but also Thais, Myanmarese, Laotians and Cambodians as a result of cultural colonisation by Indian dynasties in the region for 2,000 years.

“The various dynasties of India such as the Cholas and Palavas had arrived in South-East Asia as traders between the second and 13th century.

“They did not conquer and rule the land but culturally conquered these nations including Malaysia and this is evident until this day when we see them celebrating their new year at about the same time as Indians,” he said.

Nadarajan said the Indian New Year had also coincided with Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year and this should remind Malaysians to live in peace and tolerate the differences of the many races in the country.

“We as Malaysians must unite and live in harmony as we have for hundreds of years. We must not allow anyone or any party to take this away from us.

“Politicians who stir issues for their own personal gain at the cost of causing disharmony among the communities should put an end to doing so if they cared enough for the wellbeing of the country,” said the lawyer.

Kajang Gurdwara Sahib president Ranjit Singh Taram Singh said over 1,000 people showed up at the Kajang Sikh temple for Vaisakhi which was grandly celebrated between Friday and Sunday (April 15) at the venue.

“We had also invited non-Punjabis to join in our celebration. As Malaysians, we should partake in the special events of all the other races and learn more about the various cultures.

“By knowing each other’s differences, there will be greater understanding and closer ties between the races.” he said.

Former Kota Alam Shah assemblyman and lawyer Manoharan Malayalam, who celebrates Vishu, said his new year wish was to see Malaysians learning to forgive each other for the hurt and mistakes that may have been caused and to move on with nation-building.

“We are only human and imperfect. We are prone to making mistakes but it is godly to forgive and forget,” he said.

It was a quiet and sombre Vishu for Manoharan as he had lost both his parents over a span of 10 months last year.

He said apart from going to a Hindu temple to offer his prayers for the new year, he did not hold any elaborate celebrations.

Telugu Association of Malaysia deputy president Sathiah Sudakaran said special prayers and celebrations were held by the 30 branches of the association nationwide to not only celebrate Ugadi but to promote national unity and racial tolerance.

“As we celebrate Ugadi, let us celebrate our differences, showing respect and love for one another,” he told The Star.

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