MOVING in and out of 126 cities and villages in Pakistan, corporate high flyer turned author Amardeep Singh has seen up close much of what is left of the Sikhs in Pakistan.
In his vast travels across Sindh, Balochistan, Pakistan Administered Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Punjab, the author was able to meet and mingle with a huge slice of the Sikh population in Pakistan as well as visit a good number of their heritage sites.
For example, he had the opportunity to immerse himself with the Nanakpanthi communities of Pakistan, certainly a road less travelled for most Sikhs from outside of Pakistan.
“That opportunity revealed a lot about their practices that we have been kept away from,” he told Asia Samachar, sharing one of the side stories of his travels.
“These are people who believe in Sikh faith and belong to the Panth of Nanak, but are loosely classified by us as Hindus. There are a large communities of them who call themselves as Sikhs but wear no turban and don’t have Sikh type names, but yet they are better Sikhs than us.
“In seven decades, we have forgotten these communities. Those who have moved to India are now amalgamated into the Hindu faith and we Sikhs don’t see them as Sikhs,” he added.
Amardeep, author of the newly released The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage – The Sikh Legacy In Pakistan, will be speaking at a half-day forum in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (20 Jan 2018). EVENT DETAILS, GO HERE.
The Nanakpanthis will be just one of the many fascinating findings during his travels to Pakistan that began in 2014, after abandoning a coveted corporate title with the US-based American Express (Amex). Then already settled in Singapore, he was Amex card division’s regional head of pricing and risk management for Asia-Pacific and Australia.
In a way, Amardeep is definitely among the chosen few. Not many people have had the time or the opportunity to mix and mingle with Sikhs in Pakistan spread all over the vast country. And fewer still were able to take a peek into the Sikh legacy left in this part of the world.
The Sikh community prior to the Punjab partition – East Punjab going to India and West Punjab going to Pakistan – had a thriving existence on the Punjab that is today falls under Pakistan.
After leaving his comfortable but challenging corporate career, Amardeep travelled to a good many Pakistan cities, resulting in his first book, Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan, published in 2016.
After that adventure, he dived deeper into the subject that seems to have defined his very existence. This time around, he wrote and published the sequel.
He will also be sharing about his explorations of Sikh era forts under Pakistan army which he was allowed to enter.
“We only associate Jamrud Fort with Hari Singh Nalwa and have forgotten that he had built 27 forts along the Indus,” he said.
THREE THINGS FROM AMARDEEP SINGH:
- Exploring the Sikh Legacy in Pakistan – a journey of the sequel book, The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage and The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan
- Socio-Cultural impact of partition. An evaluation of the past from the remnants across pakistan to understand the thinking of our forefathers and where we have moved presently, due to this one catastrophic event.
- Exploring the forgotten gurdwaras of Pakistan
Amardeep’s burning passion sparks second book on Sikh legacy in Pakistan (Asia Samachar, 1 Sept 2017)
Malaysian retired lecturer releases book on Sikhs in Pakistan (Asia Samachar, 24 Feb 2017)
Sikhs show little interest in preserving heritage in Pakistan, says author Amardeep (Asia Samachar, 15 Sept 2016)