Saturday, 7 November 2009

Sikh Heritage in Lahore: The Dera Sahib Complex




Sikh Heritage in Lahore: The Dera Sahib Complex

A lecture about conserving the Sikh Heritage in Pakistan at Guru Granth Sahib Resource Centre, Bhai Vir Singh Sahitya Sadan, Delhi.
Report by Vijaydeep Singh, Delhi, 6th November 2009

First Dr Mohinder Singh Director remarked about contribution of Baba Nanak and Baba Farid for the unity of mankind and later on talked on the issues related to Kar seva Babas destroying the Sikh Heritage in India while people like Prof Nadhra Sahbaz Naeem protecting the same in Pakistan. He also gave a brief introduction of S. Chanan Singh and his son S. Pritam Singh. and nine year old annual function of lecture which is done on Sikh issues by a non Sikh.

There after Prof N S Naeem gave about hour and a half long lecture. She emphasized on the vast range of issues like Sikh Archtecture being unque and not an off shoot of Moghuls architecture. Likewise she stated that Sikh painting are also unique and not same as Pahari style but rather has British influence.

Nine Matrix pattern or Hasht E Bahist is there in Sikhs from Moghuls while Vastu Shashtra related design is from Hindus, yet some unique things of Sikhs include pillers with inverted cup,pitcher and erect cup floral design from bottom to top, lion statue in chairs, leaf borders in drawing, inverted lotus dome with sunflower also etc.

Likewise similarity of pattern of structural plan between Gurudwara Dera Sahib and Samadh of Maharaja Ranjit Singh was also touched upon.

British contribution in finishing the work of Samadh, account of contemporary persons of the sites and the difference between then and now was also discussed. plaster used over marble structure ruining the sculpture was also discussed. She also pin pointed the lavish use of Hindu deities images in the complex.

Then the presiding dignitary Ambassador Bal Anand, praised Prof Naeem for her work. He also thanked the chief guest H E Shahid Malik (High commissioner of Pakistan to India). He talked about his tenure in Pakistan as deputy high commissioner of India. He gave an account of information, he gathered over there for Late S. Pritam Singh Ji. He recalled that last year during his last meeting with S. Pritam Singh Ji, he was told by Sirdar Sahib for need of making a Jaffernammah Bhavan, for the protection of Sikh Manuscripts.

Thereafter H E Mr Shahid Malik spoke of facilities Pakistani Govt. is providing to the Sikhs in Pakistan. He also told that he will visit the places told about today, when he goes to Pakistan. He assured that people interested to visit Pakistan for research in same field will be provided with Visa very easily without any trouble. He further invited Mr H S Nag, an able architect to Pakistan, for the restoration of art work in marble being superimposed by plaster. Invitation was accepted.

Lastly Dr J S Neki thanked all the speakers and praised Prof. Naeem for spirited effort. He gave a spiritual touch to the occasion.

At end tea was served. Other dignitaries present include Dr Amrik Singh(acting chairman BVSSS), Dr Jai Rup Singh(Vice Canceler ,CUP, Bhatinda),S Harinder Pal Singh(Member SGPC,from Delhi), S. I. M. S. Lonian(incharge North Delhi, Kalgidhar Trust).

Top Picture: 
A rare picture depicting the Naulakha Chamber of Lahore Fort, Shahi Masjid, Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Samadh and Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore by Sondep Shankar

About the Lecturer
Prof. Nadhra Shahbaz Naeem is a well known art historian. She has worked extensively on Frescos in the Sikh heritage buildings in Pakistan. She has paid special attention to the conservation of Frescos in Gurdwara Dera Sahib, Lahore, and Samadh of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Haveli of Maharaja Kharak Singh. She has traveled widely to participate in professional conferences in different parts of the world. From 2003 to 2009 she was Professor in the Lahore College for Women University, Lahore. Presently she is a Professor in the Lahore University of Management Sciences.

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