Malaysian Ben­galee As­so­ci­a­tion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

THE ear­li­est Ben­galis in Malaysia came from the cen­tral and eastern parts of Greater (un­di­vided) Ben­gal. Lever­ag­ing the es­tab­lished track record (ex­plained in page 5), they were re­cruited by the Bri­tish colo­nial sys­tem as: a) cler­i­cal staff and lower-rung su­per­vi­sors, both in the govern­ment and emerg­ing com­mer­cial sec­tors; b) con­duc­tors and dressers in the rub­ber

plan­ta­tions; c) LMP, LMF and LMS (li­censed med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers) doc­tors and med­i­cal ser­vice fa­cil­i­ta­tors; d) en­gi­neers and tech­ni­cally com­pe­tent

as­sis­tants in civil con­struc­tion pro­jects.

The ear­li­est Ben­gali im­mi­grants set­tled down in Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, Se­lan­gor, Malacca and a few in Pe­nang.

Promi­nent among th­ese early im­mi­grants is Dr Saro­jini Bard­han who was a med­i­cal of­fi­cer to Malacca whose name is com­mem­o­rated in the Bard­han Tro­phy, do­nated by his son, the late Ma­jor-Gen­eral P.N. Bard­han (I.M.S.). In­dian As­so­ci­a­tions from the var­i­ous states in Penin­su­lar Malaysia still com­pete for this foot­ball tro­phy.

Ben­galis are un­able to burke the in­her­ent com­mit­ment to­wards pre­serv­ing the tra­di­tional Ben­gali cul­ture and so­ci­etal in­ter­ac­tion (sama­jik riti-niti). Those early im­mi­grants who were scat­tered across Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, Se­lan­gor, Perak and Malacca or­gan­ised the first Durga Pooja in Serema­ban in 1928.

In theSun's Gu­jarati fea­ture (Feb 25, 2015) we had re­ported how Sir Hus­sein Ab­dol­cader, a Gu­jarati Vohra Mus­lim had lob­bied the Bri­tish Straits Set­tle­ment to de­clare Deep­avali as a pub­lic hol­i­day. Ben­gali fam­i­lies thus de­cided to con­gre­gate dur­ing Deep­avali and cel­e­brate Kali Pooja. With­out a reg­is­tered body, th­ese func­tions were or­gan­ised on an ad hoc ba­sis with vol­un­tary con­tri­bu­tions. Com­mu­nity pioneers like Dr PN Sen, Dr BC Ma­jum­dar and AB Paul took the lead to or­gan­ise the Kali Pooja in Serem­ban. In the mid to late 30s the com­mu­nity de­cided to build/ac­quire their own Kali Tem­ple and an­cil­lary build­ings. Half month's salary was con­trib­uted by ev­ery Ben­gali fam­ily, which helped ac­quire a 2.5 acre plot of land in Rasah,

Ben­gal House.

God­dess Durga flanked by her chil­dren Gane­sha, Lak­shmi, Saraswati and Kar­tik.

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