Custodians of History
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Sikh Heritage: Ethos and Relics, a new book, presents an unseen treasure of well-preserved relics belonging to the Gurus.
It's a journey that has a past, present and future, one that takes you into the Sikh ethos, history, theology, lore, and heritage. Sikh Heritage; Ethos and Relics (Rupa, Rs 1,500), is a book and anthology that took authors Bhayee Sikandar Singh and Roopinder Singh more than five years to bring to the readers. The Sikhs, reflect the city-based authors, are fortunate to have many well-preserved relics that belonged to the Gurus, the significance of which is timeless. Yet, many remain unaware of this vast treasure. The book weaves the tenets of Sikhism, together with the history and lore of the people of Punjab. Through photographs and descriptions of many hitherto unseen relics of Sikh heritage, the authors place the artefacts in its historical context, giving a broad perspective of Sikh heritage. Every relic and article is a living symbol of the Sikh ethos and included here are priceless artefacts in the custody of the descendants of Bhai Rup Chand.
The Maharajas of Patiala and Nabha still have significant collections which find a special place in this beautifully illustrated volume. The 204-page treasure trove of relics includes the hukamnamas of the Gurus and objects of personal use of the gurus, including the comb and armour of Guru Gobind Singh, his armour, the rabab of Guru Hargobind, contemporary portraits, paintings, texts and many other relics. While presenting the ethos of the Sikhs, the book focuses on some families in the Malwa region of Punjab who have had the privilege of receiving the Gurus' blessings, which they have cherished and preserved. "Some of the relics of the Gurus that my family is blessed with, went for an exhibition to London, and it was there that the idea of writing a book on these treasures was born," recalls Sikandar Singh, a scion of the Bagrian family, whose ancestor Bhai Rup Chand was blessed by Guru Hargobind, the sixth Guru. "One thing led to another and took a meaningful context," adds Roopinder Singh, a journalist, photographer and author of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh DFC (2002) and Guru Nanak: His Life and Teachings (2004).
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