Wednesday, 21 October 2009

New documents found on the Kalgi of the Lahore Toshkhana




Document of the auction catalogue revealing the Kalgi (Kalje)


The National Sikh Heritage Centre & Holocaust Museum, Derby (UK) and the Sikh Community and Youth Services, Nottingham (Derby) have been conducting research on the whereabouts of the missing Kalgi and the three shasters of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

The research team of 12 researchers has recently uncovered new evidence which clearly shows that the Kalgi of Sri Guru Gobing Singh Ji taken by Lord Dalhousie from the Lahore Toshakana was sold at an auction for £10 - 10 shillings (in old British money). We will shortly be publishing all of our research but wanted to share this important new information with the Panth.

Please find below a press release which has been distributed to the Sikh press.

PRESS RELEASEOctober 20th 2009


Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji's Kalgi Sold at Auction

National Sikh Heritage Centre & Holocaust Museum Uncovers New Evidence on the Sale of Kalgi of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji at an Auction

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh.

The combined research teams of the National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum, Derby, UK (NSHC&HM) and the Sikh Community and Youth Services, Nottingham, UK (SCYS) have uncovered new evidence showing the journey of the Kalgi of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji after Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India took it from the Toshakhana of the Khalsa Raj in the Lahore Fort in 1849.

In the 1970’s, Sardar Nahar Singh, identified amongst the papers belonging to the East India Company, text mentioning the sacred shasters and the Kalgi of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji; however there existed no conclusive evidence to locate their exact whereabouts. Since this find, prominent scholars have continued with the search but to no avail.

Many assertions have been made by individuals claiming to track the sacred Kalgi taken from Lahore by the British; the most recent being in July 2009, by Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, Punjab cadre DIG, and Mr Kamaljit Singh Boparai who took a kalgi belonging to the late Dr Chanan Singh Sandhu (Chan) to Panjab and stated for it to be the actual Kalgi of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has in response to this claim, organised a special committee to authenticate the claim. This committee after several months has not yet delivered its conclusions.

Over the past four months National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum, and the Sikh Community and Youth Services, Nottingham have conducted extensive research across the world to separate fact from fiction. A report was disseminated to the SGPC presenting the findings from the research. A copy of a report written for the Chief Minister of Panjab in 1975 by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London which was also uncovered by the research team has already been made available to the SGPC and other researchers.

Prior to the new research, it was established that on 20th June 1898, Mr W.H. Broun, son-in-law of Lord Dalhousie, loaned the Kalgi and a number of other items to the Victoria and Albert Museum, known then as the South Kensington Museum. The Kalgi, along with other items, were returned to Mr W.H. Brown on 12th October 1898. Unfortunately the trail runs cold from 1898 and inspite of many efforts, no individual has been able to shed any further light.

The NSHC&HM and SCYS research team have gained access to some private papers amongst which is a personal list penned by Lord Dalhousie himself which details over 70 items taken by Lord Dalhousie from the Lahore Toshakana and sent to his home in Scotland. The list clearly states that not only was the Kalgi taken but it clearly states and describes which sword of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was sent to the East India Company Museum. Further more there is now clarity about exactly which shasters of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji are missing. The research team have also seen evidence of the sword of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji being received by the Company's Museum in London in February 1853 along with the Golden Chair of Maharajah Ranjit Singh.

It can now be categorically stated that the Kalgi taken from the Lahore Toshakana by Lord Dalhousie was in fact sold at an auction in the UK in 1898. The research team can also reveal that the Kalgi was sold for 10 pounds and 10 shillings (in old British currency which in today's money would be about £600.00). Though it has not been possible to identify the buyer of the Kalgi, there is now for the first time a real possibility of following this trail.

Manraj Singh Khela, Director of Strategic Development and Research at the National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum said, “this is an amazing find by the research team. Many people have tried to locate the Kalgi and there have been many postulations made but without being substantiated with evidence. What we have uncovered is categorical evidence that shows who possessed the Kalgi, that it was sold in an auction, when and where this auction took place. We also have possible leads on who bought it. We will pursue all leads and using every resource at our disposal. This is certainly one of the most important finds in Sikh heritage. We will ensure that all our findings are available to the Panth over the next few months who will be able to come and look at all our research at the National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum in Derby. We encourage all other researchers and committees to do the same.”

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