The Khalsa capturing the Red Fort
At the entrance of the Baba Baghel Singh Sikh Heritage Multimedia Museum in Connaught Place, a painting of Guru Nanak standing in the Ganga in Haridwar, tossing water in the direction of his home, attracts a viewer’s attention. Guru Nanak had seen pilgrims cupping water and tossing it towards the sun in the East. He was told that it would bring peace to their ancestors. When pilgrims saw his actions they were amazed. His reply resonates in the headphones given to visitors at the museum: “If the water can reach your ancestors in another world, surely it can reach my fields, only a stone’s throw away.”
The museum within the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib has been named after the Sikh warrior Baba Baghel Singh, who conquered Delhi in 1783 and established seven historic gurudwaras. It houses nearly 40 paintings and murals made by artisans from across India, which through sensors, headphones and videos narrate tales of the lives of Sikh gurus, and their teachings. There is an auditorium that screens films and can accommodate more than 150 viewers.
Vikramjit Singh Sahney, International President, World Punjabi Organisation (WPO), conceptualised and started the museum in the memory of his father late Gurucharan Singh Sahney. He says, “The younger generation is not aware of our glorious past. Even the older generation does not know much about our rich tradition of secularism, gender equality, socialism and the comfort of universal co-existence in Sikh religion. The museum has been made to highlight this.”
The journey into the museum begins with a portrait of Baba Baghel Singh, followed by a painting depicting the scene of Sikh forces, armed with their swords, capturing the Red Fort under the leadership of Singh in 1783. Opposite this is an installation depicting the Khanda, the religious symbol of Sikhs whose literal meaning is a double-edged sword, with text describing its significance.
There is a replica of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s throne, a simple circular chair with velvet cushions. It shows how he led his life like a common man and did not believe in extravagance. Each wall with its paintings tells stories and gives a peek into Sikh history.
The museum is open between 9 am to 7.30 pm at Gurudwara Bangla Sahib,Hanuman Road Area, Connaught Place (Monday closed). Contact: 42717171. Entry is free