By Geetha Patil
CAMBRIDGE, MA–Singapore-based author and photographer Amardeep Singh recently presented a talk on Sikh legacy in Pakistan based on his book and visits to different places in this region at the South Asian Center in Cambridge, MA.
Singh is on his book tour to many countries around the world including the United States and Canada. Prof. Jaspal introduced Singh to the audience. The author said that his strong desire to see his ancestor’s native place in Pakistan made him to plan a journey to West Punjab, North-West Frontier and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and explore into the remnants of a community that was compelled to move eastwards owing to the partition of the Indian sub-continent.
His book entitled, “Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan” provides insight by investigating the relinquished heritage spanning 15th and 21st centuries across many locations in Pakistan. The author organized his data in this book into 60 chapters with 507 photographs of historic monuments, residential establishments and places of worship. The author expressed that this illustrative exploration of arts, architecture, culture and history summarizes that secularism was practiced in the region.
Singh said that it is an inspirational work that will revive interest in the readers in rich history of the Sikhs that evolved across the lands that are now part of Pakistan. Attractive pictures depict the unique contribution of the Sikhs to the spiritual, social, cultural and architectural history of present-day Pakistan and convey living memories to the readers.
The author said that at partition, the drawing of borders left a rich part of the Sikh heritage in what became Pakistan and some of which still survive but in a crumbling state. He visited some of these places with a unique goal of collecting the reminiscent of community’s lost heritage.
Singh also said that there is lot of rich hidden heritage of Indians in this region. So, researchers and academicians should study about Hindu and Jain heritages, history and their significant contribution to the various aspects of civilization.
Some of the Gurdwaras and libraries are renovated by the government of Pakistan in the recent times but it is going on a slow and low priority basis. People’s demand creates supply of services.
Singh urged Sikh community to think beyond religious domain and visit Pakistan not only as Yatris of Gurdwaras but also as travelers to visit other places and libraries to know more about Sikh heritage and culture. His book, written in a lucid style and intermixed with nice pictures, gives an idea for the travelers to plan their trip.
Singh’s talk was followed by discussions with many touching questions and answers especially issues related to travelling to these remote areas. They all agreed to work on these issues and try their best to help the governments of Pakistan and India to make their efforts to preserve the rich heritage in both countries and ease the restrictions to visit such historic places.