University of London is holding exhibition on Amritsar’s Golden Temple, holiest shrine of Sikhism.Titled “The Golden Temple of Amritsar: Reflections of the Past”, this exhibition sponsored by UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA) in Brunei Gallery of School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of University of London will continue till September 25.
Exhibition announcement says: “On show will be a range of beautiful artefacts, photographs, paintings and engravings enhanced with extracts from fascinating eyewitness accounts from, among others, European spies, travellers, artists, memsahibs and raconteurs who visited the shrine in the 19th century.” It reportedly displays about 80 historical artifacts, including battlefield weapons, earliest-known paintings and photographs of the Temple, Sikh warrior outfit, jewelry worn by Rani Jindan (mother of last Sikh king of Lahore Maharaja Duleep Singh), original handwritten receipt for the transfer of the world’s largest Koh-I-Noor Diamond to the British Empire, Perspex model of the Temple as it once stood, various historical items from Sikh history, and film footage and is organizing symposiums on related topics. As most of the artifacts come from private collections, these have not been publicly viewed before, reports suggest.
Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended University of London, UKPHA, SOAS and Brunei Gallery for sharing the rich Sikh heritage with the rest of the world.
Rajan Zed, who is Chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, pointed out that world needed to have a broader and more inclusive outlook about religion and urged major museums/art-galleries of the world to organize more such exhibitions.
UKPHA claims the exhibition as a “cutting-edge, world-class show” and adds, “Visitors to the exhibition will learn about the Golden Temple’s history and devotees, and be able to, experience its awe-inspiring beauty and artistry in a way that has never been presented before”. Amandeep Singh Madra and Parmjit Singh are the principal members of UKPHA, headquartered in Greater London and founded in 2001 to “foster the appreciation of the Punjabi heritage” and encourage preservation of its “endangered items”.
With students from over 130 countries, SOAS claims to be the world’s leading centre for the study of a highly diverse range of subjects concerned with Asia, Africa and the Middle East and its library holds over 1.5 million items. Paul Webley and Nirmala Rao are Director and Pro-Director respectively while Tim Miller is Chairman of Governing Body. Brunei Gallery hosts exhibitions from Asia, Africa and the Middle East and its aim is to present and promote cultures from these regions.
Founded in 1836 and publicly funded University of London with over 120,000 students and international programs in 180 countries, claims to be “the biggest and most diverse universities in the world” and “recognised globally as a world leader in Higher Education”. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and Geoffrey Crossick are Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor respectively.
Sikhism is fifth largest religion in the world and Sikhs believe in one immortal Being; Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh; the Guru Granth Sahib; the utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus; and baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru. Personal contact with Sikhs usually impresses the outsider with energetic hospitality.