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Nishan Sahibs and Battle Standards


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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh !!

I have received a lot of feedback from the pictures I posted of the Battle Standards at Lichfield Cathedral - some negative but mostly positive.

Many asked for more pictures especially pictures of old Nishan Sahibs and pictures of the "Symbols" used before the introduction of the modern Khanda symbol.

It is not my intention to offend anyone, that is why I carefully avoided the use of 'Nishan Sahib' in the first post and this one and used the more neutral term 'Battle Standard'.

Hope you enjoy the pictures !

Bhul Chuk Maaf

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

These are guilded panels from Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib - they date from the mid 19th century

In this first panel you see Guru Gobind Singh Ji with his beloved Singhs - the Nishan Sahibs have on them 2 'Kirpans' a 'Katar' and what could be a 'Chakar' or a shield - it could also be a 'degh' - as it has been argued that the Nishan Sahib is a representation of 'Degh Tegh Fateh'.


a detail


In this panel Guru Gobind Singh Singh is with 5 Singhs - the Nishan Sahib is plain with a border


a detail


In this panel we see the Beloved 'Char Sahibzadas' - here also the Nishan is plain with a border


a detail


(* taken from The Sikhs - T S Randhawa 2000)

In this painting of Guru Gobind Singh Ji , titled as 'Journey to Deccan', dated as circa AD 1770-80 painted in Rajastani style - we have an Akali Nihang holding a Yellow Nishan with a Kirpan Katar and Chakar/Dhal/Degh arrangement with a floral border.




(* taken from Sikh Heritage - Dr Daljeet 2004)

In this portrait of Guru Gobind Singh from the 'Military Manual of Maharaja Ranjit Singh' ,dated around 1822-1830, kept in the Ram Bagh Museum Amritsar - we have a red and gold Nishan with what appears to be a 'Kard' on it.


(* taken from Maharaja Ranjit Singh - Jean-Marie Lafont 2002)

In this portrait of Guru Gobind Singh we see a decorated red, gold and pink Nishan.


In this painting of The Char SahibZadas we have a decorated yellow Nishan Sahib .




(*taken from Dr Daljeet 2004)

This is a detail from a late 19th century painting of Darbar Sahib - the twin Nishan Sahibs of Miri and Piri are shown - The colour is Kesri.


(*taken from Dr Daljeet 2004)

In this Woodcut of Sri Amritsar - titled 'Naksha Darbar Sahib Sri Amritsar ji ka' and dated AD 1874 (sambat 1931) - we can clearly see the Miri Piri Nishan Sahibs and the Nishan Sahib on the roof terrace of the Darbar Sahib - the Nishan sahibs are again decorated with a Kirpan / Katar / chakar,degh,shield arrangement - the 'flag poles' are all topped with spear heads .




(* taken from Pirtan, Cultural Kosh - Chanan Singh Chan )

In this plan of Darbar Sahib , from the early 1900s, we can see two Nishan Sahibs - one on the roof of the Harimandir, the other to the left of the Akal Takht - both are of a yellow / kesri colour.

This plan from the Harry Mann Collection (Ontario, Canada) is fascinating because you can see all the Bungas around the parikarma the numerous trees and the original entrances .


This address casket is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum - it belongs to the Royal Family and is in the form of a model of the Harimandir Sahib. It dates from the Late 1800s and was probably given to Queen Victoria. Note the Nishan Sahib is Kesri in colour and has a fringe and tassle. It is adorned with a Bhaugauti and a Chakar/Degh/shield symbol





(* taken from The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms - The Canadian Collections - Seema Bharadia - 2000)

The second Shahidi Jatha arriving at Jaito (1920s) - though the symbols are hard to see on the Nishan Sahibs - they are like the ones in the woodcut posted above - you can clearly make out a 'Katar'.




(* taken from Warrior Saints - A S Madra P Singh 1999)

This photograph is of the Darshani Deori of Taran Taran Sahib - you can see the Nishan sahib is similar to the woodcut from 1874 AD , it has the kirpan / katar/ chakr pattern - the photograph comes from Khushwant Singh's book published in 1953


(* taken from The Sikhs - Khushwant Singh - 1953)

These next pictures are of Battle Standards

The first is the famous 'Dussehra' painting of Ranjit Singh's Darbar by Schoefft - you can see the Red standard behind Lal Singh




In this lithograph of Solykoff's painting of Sher Singh you can see the Battle Standards of Ranjit Singh - one with 'Karttikeya' on, the other I can't make out.




In this last picture you can see the Sikh Battle Standards from the collection of Lord Dalhousie as they were displayed at the Mansion of Colstoun , East Lothian , Scotland.

Family tradition states that they were captured by Lord Gough at the Battle of Gujrat 21 February 1849.


(* taken from Maharaja Ranjit singh - Mohinder Singh Rishi Singh Sondeep Shonkar - 2002)

GurFateh !

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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You've opened our eyes, keep it up. You should create PDF files for this type of stuff. Like everytime you post the good stuff, like you have here, you should have some kind of link which can enable people to download PDF versions of your posts, with picture and writing, just a through. N30 S!NGH also requested wanting us to all to download this type of stuff for us and future Generations. Sorry if im asking for a bit too much. :oops:

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I can't mention details, but it happened a few years back that at a UK museum a red nishaan sahib was put on display, one that featured chandi if I remember correctly, from the time of Maharaj Ranjit Singh, and the local community representatives (honestly who are these neurotic identity police?) came down and went beserk saying this was a distortion of Sikhism, blah blah blah. I can't remember how it was resolved, but such photographic evidence is literally what less educated museum staff need to combat such muppets. Great work - simple and effective.

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Gurfateh !

Here are two more examples

Sri Darbar Sahib circa 1840 (* from the Kapany Collection )



Fresco from the walls of the Darbar Sahib , Amritsar (* from Sikh Architecture - P S Arshi - 1986)

Guru Gobind Singh Ji - the Nishan is both decorated and has 'Shasters' on it.



Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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