Sikhs celebrate 500 yrs of valour

Paintings depicting Guru Nanak Dev (Top) and Guru Gobind Singh’s (Above) creation of Khalsa Panth

The Times of India, 13th February, 2010

Kolkata: This weekend, over 100,000 Sikhs will converge at the Behala Gurudwara, opposite the old Mint, to celebrate 500 years of valour and sacrifice of the community for the country.

Scores of paintings depicting the onslaughts that the community has braved since the time of the first Mughal emperor Babar to the Kargil conflict, would be put up on display. Though the Behala Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee is organising the exhibition, members of all six gurudwaras of the city have helped bring this mammoth project to life.

And it all started several years ago due to the initiative of a French Indology expert Francois Gaultier.

Gaultier got initiated into Indian religions and cultures through a chance reading of the teachings of The Mother (Sri Aurobindo’s disciple), who was originally French. Soon he started travelling extensively to write on Indian religions and culture. Sikhism attracted him in particular. He even married a Sikh girl from the city. And it was through her that he came to know the Sikh community in Kolkata.

The Sikh leaders in the city decided that part of his research materials, which include rare photographs on Sikh history, should be converted into life size paintings and exhibited. Artists from across the country were roped in for the project.

One painting shows Guru Nanak Dev sitting across Babar and warning him about sinning against humanity. Another painting depicts the birth of the Khalsa Panth (1699) - an army of Sikh “saint soldiers” raised by Guru Govind Singh.

History has it that Guru Govind Singh’s two sons were buried alive under Aurangzeb’s orders. One painting shows the two innocent boys standing with their heads held high as the Mughal army builds a wall around them. Interesting depictions from the battles that King Ranjit Singh fought against the Mughals and the British, the battle of Saragarhi (1897), the non -violent protests (1921-25) which led to the passing of the Gurdwara Act 1925 are all depicted in the paintings.

“We are passing through troubled times when India is the target of terrorists. It is time to remind our community and to members of other communities how our Gurus, kings and generals sacrificed their lives and their families to protect the country,” said Satnam Singh, general secretary of the Behala Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee.

1 comment:

mani said...

All tourist centers in India and in various other foreign countries should have this exhibition as a permanent feature, so that international and indian tourists will have an opportunity to know the sacrifices of Sikhs to safeguard the "Dharma" in Bharat. Our school & college history books are silent on the sacrifices.