Guru Matavaⁿ da Mela -2008
Namdhari Sikh Sangat UK got together at Southall on Sunday 9th March 08 to commemorate all the Guru Matas right from Mata Tripta Ji upto Mata Bhupinder Kaur Ji. Bibi Harbhajan Kaur Chana proposed the celebration some time ago and it finally materialised in March 2008. Members of the community from East London, West Midlands and North England congregated at the Namdhari Sikh Centre Southall for the occasion.
The mela began in earnest the previous day, 8th March, when a Youth Kavi Darbar was hosted. The young children of Southall recited kavitas with energy and vigour. (Contributors are listed in table 1). Additionally, members of the Southall Youth Club prepared the evening’s langar.
Celebrations of “Mataavaⁿ’ da Din” (The Day of Mothers) began in the early hours of Sunday with a rendition of the Asa Di Var. Ragi Satvinder Singh Bhogal was accompanied by Narinderpal S Ryatt, Attar S Matharu & Sarabjit Singh on tabla and Hardial Singh Chana as the backing vocalist. Before the ardas, three Sadharan Paath de bhog (ceremonial closing of reading of Sri Adi Granth Sahib) were done, and this concluded the morning session. The seva for the morning langar was by Sant Joginder S Bhamra. This seva was hosted to mark birthdays of his grandsons. Pradhan Sulkhan Singh presented malas to Gurmukh Singh Bhamra and Sukhvir Singh Devgun.
The proceeding for the rest of the day began with a presentation of the newly released DVD “Atal Pratapi”. The Sangat was transfixed for 45 minutes on the unique history of Sri Satguru Pratap Singh Ji, documented in this disc.
After the opening address, Anjan Saggu invited Bibi Tajinder Kaur to the stage. She shared with the Sangat a few of her many first hand experiences of Mata Chand Kaur Ji’s unknown qualities and passion for the Namdhari Panth.
The Sangeet & Kirtan performance opened in grand style with an imposing semi-classical composition of the geet ‘pehle maaⁿ kehna sikhyaa’ performed by Avtar Singh (of Windsor & pupil of Ustad Surjit Singh). The geet was penned by his mother, Bibi Narinder Kaur. Backing vocalists Ustad Surjit Singh, Sarabjit Singh, Mohan Singh, Jaswant Singh and Attar Singh were impressive, and the choir was supported by Bachitter Singh on the dholak and Balbir Singh on the tabla. – The opening musical number was very emotional and effective tribute to all Guru Matas and mothers in general.
Following this was an address by Pradhan Sulkhan Singh. He praised the Southall committee and Bibi Harbhajan Kaur for organising this first ever Guru Matavaⁿ da Mela. Next was a superbly played Sarangi solo from Ustad Surjit Singh. He played the raga Jounpuri in teen taal and was accompanied on the tabla by Gurdev Singh Sagoo. Ustad Ji’s account, at about 25 minutes, never wallowed in sentiment but was not light-footed, either.
Matavaⁿ da Mela, and who could keep the ladies away! A ladies jatha represented by East London and Southall were the next to take stage and enthrall the congregation with a couple of shabads. This was followed by girl of a much younger generation, when Shaam Kaur Bhuller spoke on the historic account of Mata Khivi Ji (wife of Guru Angad Dev Ji). and presented a touching view of Mata Bhupinder Kaurs Ji’s life. She closed her speech with a short kavita on all the Guru Matas.
In a voice with a warm and velvet texture Jathedar Dr Joga Singh’s vikhyan (oration) covered a very brief synopsis of Guru Matas in history. It was followed by pupils of Ustad Surjit Singh, who performed the shabad at-pritam man mohana with a variety of stringed instruments including the sarangi (Gushmir Singh), sitar (Bibi Harbhajan Kaur and Kuldeep Kaur), mandolin (Balraj Singh), dilruba (Narinder Kaur) and with Balbir Singh on tabla. The clarity of both music and performance to convey the meaning by matching the sung words was vivid.
The latter half of the program was reserved for katha, vakhyan and kavitas. In his talk, Harbhajan Singh Gahir (from Croydan) quoted from the Bani on the meaning of ‘maaⁿ’. Sant Harbhajan Singh Sagoo from Birmingham was in full emotion and hence captured an appropriate mood while addressing his kavitas – Jag mata tu hain and Mein nu Cheenee Wale da dedidar kar lain de. In closing he said a few phrases on Mata Gujri Ji.
Next on stage was Bibi Charanjit Kaur. She gave a well-judged reflective account of the women’s participation in family life. Backed by quotations from the Bani, she instilled a sense of togetherness for women in the modern society. She also expressed grave concerns over the acute gender ratio (776 in 0-6 yrs age group) in Punjab. She was followed by Bibi Harbhajan Kaur Chana whose kavita ‘bibiyan’ was a light hearted composition which brought on delight and smiles on the faces of the audience!
The long marathon was drawing to a close, and General Secretary, Namdhari Sikh Sangat UK – Bibi Daljit Kaur delivered the concluding speech. The children who took part in the Youth Kavi Darbar were handed out certificates of achievement for their efforts. Sant Harbhajan Singh Sagoo presented these certificates. The enthusiasm of this mela prompted General Secretary, Namdhari Sikh Sangat Southall – Ajeet Singh to invite the Sangat for the next Matavaⁿ da Mela to be held in March of 2009. Ardas and Langar followed.
Contributors to the Youth kavi darbar – 8 March 2008.
Amrit Kaur Chana, Arjun Singh Chana, Ganga Singh Chana, Gurkartar Kaur Deoora, Inder Singh Kallha, Jaidev Singh Chana, Jeevan Singh Kallha, Jeevan Singh Sian, Kartar Kaur Kallha, Mangal Kaur Bhuller, Manpreet Kaur Matharu, Mehal Kaur Bhuller, Nimrath Kaur Sian, Raj-inder Kaur Randhawa, Ravinder Kaur Kallha, Santa Singh Chana, Shaam Kaur Bhuller, Shyam Singh Bhuller.