| Singapore | 1 Sept 2017 | Asia Samachar |
The passion is still burning strong in Amardeep Singh, a corporate executive turned self-taught expert on the Sikh legacy in Pakistan.
After pouring his heart into his first book, Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan, he reached out to the people via dozens of talk sessions at numerous cities in India, Pakistan, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States, amongst them.
He then went back to Pakistan in January 2017 to dig deeper. The second research trip took him to 90 cities and villages across Sindh, Balochistan, Pakistan Administered Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Punjab. In his maiden visit in 2014, Amardeep had covered 36 cities and villages.
The second exploration, documented in a sequel entitled ‘The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage – The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan’, will be released in October 2017.
The book is simply the quest of the author to record as much as possible of the Sikh legacy in Pakistan, an area that has not been given much attention by the Sikh world after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. Post-partition, most Sikhs moved eastward, to the Indian side of Punjab.
In 2014, Amardeep undertook a journey across Pakistan to visit the native lands of his parents in the present Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
Inquisitive, during the journey, he questioned, could the heritage in the lands where Sikhism was founded and the Sikhs had created an empire be limited to just a few functional gurdwaras? This led him to go beyond his personal motive to travel across 36 cities and villages, researching the remnants of the Sikh Legacy. The findings were compelling to document in a book entitled, ‘LOST HERITAGE The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan’, which was published in January 2016.
“After having elevated the research to a global platform, the passage thereafter, stirred Amardeep towards an obsessive quest to further research the tangible and intangible footprints of the Sikh legacy in Pakistan,” according to a statement announcing the launch of second book.
“The research in the sequel provides a continued strong impetus to those curious about their roots or interested in the rich historical era. The text of the second narrative too is interspersed with photographs of the remnants of the legacy that continues to bear mute witness to the heart-wrenching partition of the subcontinent.
“In addition, it brings focus to the life and practices of forgotten communities which continue to thrive and evolve across Pakistan.”
Over a period of two and a half years, Amardeep has now researched the remnants of the Sikh legacy at 126 cities and villages in Pakistan, now published in the two volumes.
Amardeep has approached the subject holistically to cover, among others, religious places, arts, architecture, forts and living cultural aspects. He believes the ‘humane approach’ to the subject is resonating with members of all communities.
His aim through the study of the abandoned legacy of one community is to motivate all communities to become aware of their past and through it, learn to live in harmony for mutual progress, the statement added.
When launching the first book in Kuala Lumpur in January 2016, Amardeep said that Sikhs in the diaspora should consider preserving selected historical places connected to the Sikh heritage in Pakistan rather than pouring money into slapping marbles at gurdwaras elsewhere.
“We have money in the diaspora. We should get local [Pakistan] artisans to do the job, and not bring the Babas from Punjab… they will destroy it,” he then said. “Later, we can develop a heritage trail.”
Amardeep, 50, had been in the corporate world for 25 years when he left American Express in 2013 as the head of regional revenue management. He was then based in Singapore. Born in India, he now lives in Singapore.
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Amardeep journeys deep into Pakistan in search of Sikh legacy (Asia Samachar, 21 Sept 2015)