Sikhs show little interest in preserving heritage in Pakistan, says author Amardeep

Author of ' Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan' spoke at the GS Pulapol Speaker Series in Kuala Lumpur in September 2016

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| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 15 Sept 2016 | Asia Samachar |

 

If you have free access to visit Pakistan, where would you go?

Amardeep Singh, the Singapore-based author of Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan, has been posing that same question to his audience at his various talk sessions to introduce the newly published coffee-table book.

“In the 50 sessions I’ve given, the answer is no different. We only think of Nankana Sahib, Panja Shaib and Kartarpur. It pains me because as a community we have become numbed to our heritage,” he tells his latest audience.

Amardeep was the final speaker at the two-day GS Pulapol Speaker Series in Kuala Lumpur on 11 Sept 2016.

“Today, at least, the access is being allowed, but we are restricting ourselves just to the religious circuit.”

SEE ALSO: Amardeep journeys deep into Pakistan in search of Sikh legacy

SEE ALSO: Sikhs must go beyond borders, Mejindarpal tells Pulapol Speaker Series

This is Amardeep’s second visit to Malaysia to talk about the hard-bound 492 page book that captures text and photography his journey to 36 towns in Pakistan in 2014. See here.

He repeated one of his favourite statitics. Some 80% of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s vast empire lies in today’s Pakistan.

At this latest talk, one person in the audience answered Kyber Pass, a mountain pass connecting Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was Commissioner Amar Singh, the Kuala Lumpur Chief Police Officer. He is also the president of the Gurdwara Management Committee (GMC) of the Gurdwara Sahib Pulapol, the main organiser of the event. His motivation: biking.

Talking about his book, Amardeep said: “Legacy is not gurdwaras. This is not a book about gurdwaras. This is a book about the Sikh legacy. Legacy is bigger than religion. I don’t live inside a gurdwara 24 hours, I have many other facets around me.

“Legacies includes art, architecture, forts, battle grounds, havelis, artifacts, gurdwaras, interfaith, emotive stories.”

Six months after the book’s publication, Amardeep has given some 50 talk sessions in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, India and the United States.

But there is something that has eluded him.

“My failure is this: Six months later, I’m still waiting to see which organisation will come forward and say let’s maintain those heritage.”

When met at the sidelines of the forum, Amardeep told Asia Samachar that many individuals have expressed interest in helping out the preservation of the heritage sites in Pakistan, but it would require concerted efforts under to ensure the efforts are sustainable.

“We have many kar seva activities going on, where there are slapping marbles on gurdwaras. That is hardly the need of the day here. I hope an organisation would come forward to take up the challenge,” he said.

In an earlier session, Sukhdev Singh of the famed Dasmesh Jatha and co-founder of the Sri Dasmesh Pipe Band, delivered a presentation on maya.

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

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