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List of Ways to Preserve Sikh Heritage personal levels

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In a reponse to the "Threat to Sikh Heritage" what can people out there do to Preserve Heitage.

Let's see what comes out..............

List as we go

1) Use a Digital Camera and Capture Any Images of any Visits to Gurdwara's etc

2) Any Painting's on Gurdwara walls take Pictures of and find out the artists name and backgorund.

3) Record Digitally and "Gupt/Not so read ballards/poems" or any Dasam/Sarbloh Guru Darbar Bania ontp MP3/CD.

4) ..............

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Guest Javanmard

Get rid of those who destroy SIkh heritage!!! That would be a nice start!!!

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Its a great shame that the only way that we can mitigate the destruction is to take pictures but I do 100% agree with you that we must document what precious little is left before the 'authorities' find a way to whitewash or otherwsie pull things down. I would also add the following:

1. STOP FUNDING THE DESTRUCTION. We know who is behind the destruction and it takes money. Do not put money into their Golaks otherewise you are compliant with their destructive ways. It is alos very liberating!

2. START FUNDING CONSERVATION EFFORTS. I can only really point to the work of Gurmeet Rai and her team. There are various embryonic digitsation efforts around but nothing concrete

3. TAKE IN INTEREST IN PUNJAB'S HERITAGE. When you nect go to the Punj visit the Qila Mubarak, Kapurthala's Palaces and Masjid, Nabhas fort and palaces and more importanly the more modest places. Do some research and find out what is in your area and visit it. When the locals realise that NRIs are keen to spend their time (and film) visiting these places they will start to think that they are sitting on a gold mine - that is an important cultural shift that we need to engender

4. BUYING STUFF OF EBAY DOES NOT PRESERVE HERIATGE. Its nice to own somethign but Sikh antiques passing from one safe pair of Sikh hands to another does not really help. Save your money and use it to buy objects that are really under threat.

5. KEEP THE PRESSURE UP. I ran a seminar at V&A a few years ago titled 'Preserving Sikh Heritage' and I was bit annoyed that the debate quickly descended into an anti-SGPC diatribe. Since then every single internet debate on this subject ends with a anti-SGPC debate. I am starting to see a pattern !! I think that we shoudl express that because at the end of the day these are the peopel we need to either exterminate or change. If anyone has any leverage over them - and we all do in some small way - then we need to exert that pressure. I doubt that their organsication will fall in my lifetime but they can be made to change. We need to think of creative ways to hit them and make them change (as well as not funding them)

Must dash . . more later

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Guest Javanmard

It's bound to become an SGPC issue as they are the ones who destroy Sikh heritage. Patronage of SIkh arts was linked to a very specific traditional going back to the Gurus and discontinued under the Neo-SIkhs. We can't avoid the issue I am afraid.

If you want to preserve the whales forbid the hunting. It's not enough to hide the whales from the hunters! Get the hunters first!

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Sorry, I wasn’t very clear in my Point 5. What I was trying to say is that all debates on destruction end with finger pointing at the SGPC, and that we should not ignore this. It is quite clear that they are orchestrators of the destruction and neglectful of what is left. i was certainly not trying to ignore them.

I, too, have tried (in the past) to steer the debate away from the SGPC to more positive actions - which is exactly what the moderators on the 'Destruction of Sikh Heritage' thread tried to do. But this is ultimately not going to help. I do advocate (strongly) that we should expose the goons and yahoos that lead these essentially corrupt organisations and put pressure on them to stop what they are doing. This worked (partially) when Vedanti stopped the regular Bir burning at Kiratpur back in 2001.

A final suggestion is for everyone who cares about our heritage to celebrate it. That means store away all those Sobha Singh prints and Devinder Singh cartoons and replace them with prints of the beautiful paintings from our glorious artistic traditions or historical photographs. Buy books on Sikh Arts. Do the same at your local gurdwara. We need this aesthetic revolution - our children need to grow up seeing these things and being inspired and aesthetically in tune with them as they need to continue this battle with what is left in their generation.

Sorry that my point 5 was so poorly written.

aman

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Every year wall planners in the UK are printed and distributed around university Sikh Societies.

Why not develop a caricature of these endangered paintings to form either a wall planner or just a general poster? It may not be much in the general scheme of things, but this small gesture will have a huge exposure (especially if the motives behind the project are well documented).

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Guest Javanmard

I really encourage all young SIkhs to pick one area of SIkh art and culture and develop it. Chose whatever you like: classical instruments, calligraphy, making shastars, traditional painting techniques, Indian book-binding and paper, pre-colonial costumes, and of course Sikh scholarship and languages (incl. Persian and Sanskrit).

You can do whilst you are doing your degree in law or economics so no excuse: you and I can make a difference. We can make the past heritage into a living culture again!!!

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I like the calendar idea maybe a "Celebration of Sikh Art Calendar" for next year.

How about some websites with Sikh Artifacts and other circulated pictures, that sangat can see and maybe a facility to buy a print online framed maybe.

As far as I can see are:

http://www.sikhcybermuseum.org/ (More History than Art) but they have done a great job of old war time pictures

http://www.sikh-heritage.co.uk/frame.htm (Fantastic Site) even though people panic about the namdhari Slant.

also the obvious www.sarbloh.info for some rare pictures

Any more ideas?

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Guest Javanmard

I have got my issues with the site. As said by other members of this forum the Nirankari and Radhaswami are bit too strong. Being kind to everyone does not mean one should accept heresy! The layout is quite poor to be honest but some of the information is useful.

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VahigurooJiKaKhalsa

VahigurooJiKeFateh!!

This argument of preservation is on two levels it seems. Amandeep Singh has hit the nail right on the head.

Taking photographs of Fresco's or buildlings is not preservation, however it provides us with a valuable record when there is not alternative solution. This is the sad situation as in many cases this is all we are left with.

Keeping the original material is the preferred option, however to preserve original documents, art, builidngs, frescos etc is an expensive business. To preserve them properly with the required techniques is a time consuming process. This is one of the reasons why Karsewaks are keen to get rid of them.

As Amandeep Singh points out Ebay is not the way to save Sikh Heritage, however again in many cases it seems to the only way at the moment. No major Sikh Organisation is buying, individuals are taking it on themselves. The important point is we all need to network, and provide a bigger resource.

I have told a number of people this but it shows the stupidity of ebay. A dealer in Patiala offered me a a Sikh Artifact for 250 pounds. I did not have the money so I did not buy it. The item was very specific. I then learned it was sold to somebody in the East London area. He then sold this to somebody in the West London area. This was then sold on for many thousands of pounds in Canada. It is a shame. However in this greedy situation what can be done? The dealers are the biggest crooks. By over inflating prices this stops real researchers or Museums buying, even universities in Punjab.

Using technology in my opinion is the best way, as it provides a means to record much data at an affordable price. In a situation where year by year Sikh art disappears, or go up in smoke, or is painted over. This means is the quickest, and most applicable. We simply do not have enough Gurmeet Rai's or Majinderpal Kaur's, or the finance to achieve a concrete plan, or the ability of the SGPC to even listen. As far as I know the Smithsonian approached the SGPC and was turned down.

In my opinion these people know one thing only, when their own stability of organisation is challenged by the destruction they have caused. When people start asking questions then they will have to change.

Last year before I went to meet Guru Tegh Bahadurs family, of the Suraj Mal bloodline at Anandpur Sahib. I was so happy that I would see Guru Gobind Singhs own handsigned Chaupai Sahib. Something that was very important to my work. When I arrived ,I sadly learned two days before that it was stolen. No one as far as I know even copied it. People are not willing to give away originals of such precious documents, but for a price they may give a copy.

In an ideal world, a model we should strive for is the preservation that the British Museums and Europeans have achieved, this is an ideal model for Sikh and Punjabi Heritage. The only way this can be achieved is if major organisations pull together, under the SGPC which control the Gurudwarey. Sadly this is not the case.

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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Kamalroop Singh and others,

Do you not consider the issue of the unapproachable SGPC on this matter arises from their insistence to keep such matters as a "Sikh Religious" only affair (through means of constitution) and hence close the shop on anyone else interested in maintaining such items or restorations (perhaps for cultural, historical or other purposes) -e.g. Gold plating and construction of the Harimandir Sahib.

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create a library with all texts, arts, sounds, images, etc related to sikhi.

educate people so that they cherish their heritage and protect it.

educate also non sikhs, show them the great value of sikh culture.

learn old trade skills and offer your time to preserve and restore historic sites.

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[highlight=yellow:51bd21d133]This is the email for the World Heritage Centre wh-info@unesco.org

Alternatively, visit this link http://whc.unesco.org/archive/emerg-e.pdf[/highlight:51bd21d133]

I think those that have more intimate knowledge of the destruction by the SGPC should contact the people at this address.

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"As far as I know the Smithsonian approached the SGPC and was turned down. "

This is not the entire story. I was involved in the early stages of the Smithsonian’s planning of what has now become a Sikh art gallery. A few of us pressed the SI and the Sikh funders of the 'Sikh Heritage Project' to look into a really world-class heritage conservation effort - digitising manuscripts, physical stabilisation and preservation of MSS and paintings and the preservation and conservation of buildings. To that end a conference was held in Washington DC where Gurmeet, Jeevan Deol, myself and others presented on the potential scope of the work.

However, much to my disappointment, the entire project was savagely subverted into an exercise in the self-aggrandizement by a single individual who will now have the gallery of his art-collection on display. This is an utterly pointless display - we have had gallery, exhibitions and books - we now need to put resources into conservation. But whilst there is the chance that one man can go on an ego trip at everyone else’s expense we wont get that.

It annoys me that the SI and the Sikh funders put money into a tacky model of the Harimandir Sahib for display in Washington while the real-thing is being systematically destroyed !

aman

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I really think that the answer lies in international bodies. We have to intrest them about the threat to this heritage and side step Sikh organisations and Sikh Egos.

I read your comments on the panels - excellent work and I am really happy to hear that they havent been destroyed or even buried (as one of the GNNSJ people told me!) I hope that they are well secured as they incredibly important. When the revoultion comes we cn tear down the shoddy brummie bodge job and replace them with the originals !!

Aman

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Guest Javanmard

It's not just about preserving heritage but giving it new life! There is absolutely no respect in our community for scholars or artists. Young students of Sikhi are reduced to live miserable lives if they wish to conduct proper research without accepting funding from organisations that wish to promote their own distorted Sikhi. Apart from the obvious material problems which include extended periods of starvation, high levels of stress and health problems there is the moral misery they have to go through with the tons of insults, lies and slander they have to accept from their so-called "brothers" and "sisters" in faith. Let's not even mention the death-threats some receive for researching Sikhi!The only thing that keeps them going is love for Maharaj!

Faced with such a situation rare are the youngsters who would wish to become calligraphers, painters, architects specialised in Indo-Iranian architecture etc... serving Maharaj in the most noble way seems to be the most difficult task in a community lead by heretics and criminals like the SGPC!!!

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