By Amardeep Singh | PAKISTAN
Khushwant Singh, the noted Indian novelist had written in his famous classic work of 1953 entitled THE SIKHS, “chief reason for my writing an account of my people is the melancholy thought that contemporary with my labours are being written the last chapters of the story of the Sikhs. By the end of the century, the Sikhs themselves will have passed into oblivion. Before that happens, it is proper that some estimate of their religion, traditions, political and cultural achievements should be made.”
At Gujranwala in Pakistan, peering through the missing metal bars of the window of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, which is now used as a motorcycle parking lot, I was reminded of Khushwant Singh’s writing about the future of Sikhs. There is no doubt that across Pakistan where the Sikhs had churned the most vibrant chapters of their history, they have today passed into oblivion! To me, the gurdwara hall now turned into a motorcycle parking lot represented the forever PARKED LEGACY of Sikhs in Pakistan, which now has no hope of return. While deeply saddened, I left the premises with optimism that it is probably on account of the partition of 1947 that today nearly 50% of the 25 million global Sikh population resides outside of the Indian subcontinent. The challenge of partition became the catalyst for change and has today transformed the fortunes of the community as they are materialistically far better off in distant lands.
Khushwant Singh, in writing the book just a few years after the partition, was probably under deep influence of its impact on the community and had therefore lost hope. Close to the turn of the century, this comment about community’s oblivion was removed by the publisher in the subsequent reprints of the book.
Even parked vehicles move on after a while!
[Facebook entry on 21 Sept 2018 by Amardeep Singh, author of two epic books on Sikh heritage in Pakistan: Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan and The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage – The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan]
Abandoned in Karachi gurdwara (Asia Samachar, 13 June 2018)
Talking about Nanakpanthis and forgotten Sikh forts in Pakistan (Asia Samachar, 16 Jan 2018)
Amardeep’s burning passion sparks second book on Sikh legacy in Pakistan (Asia Samachar, 1 Sept 2017)