Wednesday 23 October 2019
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester
Sikhs all over the world in 2019 are commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the revered figure of the Sikh faith. As a result the Sikh Museum Initiative on the 23rd October 2019 at the prestigious New Walk Museum, Leicester brought together important figures who could describe and elucidate the Guru’s philosophy in a befitting way.
Hosted by the SMI’s Raj Mann, who first introduced Councillor Piara Singh Clair (Deputy City Mayor) who set the scene as to what Guru Nanak means to Sikhs and other faiths all around the world. This was followed by Sikh historian and Director of the Sikh Museum Initiative-Gurinder Singh Mann, who gave a succinct description of Guru Nanak’s message from the development of the Pothi Sahib to the Guru’s contribution to women’s rights.
This was followed by Jasvir Kaur Rababan (Raj Academy)who gave an insightful description of the Rabab and other musical instruments that are intrinsic to the Sikh faith and their importance should not be devalued with modernity. The team also brought a Rebab which was on display.
This was followed by a panel of expert speakers who discussed the life of Guru Nanak and his contribution to the world thorough his philosophy, musicology and community values. The panel consisting of Dr Gurnam Singh-(University of Coventry and Akaal Channel Presenter), Dr Iqtidar Cheema (Advisory Board Member at United Nations), Narinder Kaur Bring (PHD student in Sikh Musicology-University of Wolverhampton).
Questions ranged from ‘what was the mission of Guru Nanak’? through to ‘what was the significance of Kirtan and Gurbani? The Udasis (journeys) which Guru Nanak took was discussed through to the practical values of love, tolerance and interfaith being more important than the idolisation of Guru Nanak. Trying to put the Guru in a box or a certain frame is not the way his mission should be remembered but in the practical values of ‘truthful living’
The evening was enhanced by the Sikh Museum Initiative releasing three new 3d objects as part of the Anglo Sikh Virtual Museum a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This included a Sikh Empire Coin (depicting Maharajah Ranjit Singh paying homage to Guru Nanak), an Avatars Sword with a cartouche panel of Guru Nanak from the collection of Sukhbinder Singh Paul Collection together with a unique sword/pistol that belonged to the Maharajah of Patiala, Punjab, and now in the collections of the Nottingham Museum Service. These were made visible through virtual reality headsets and 3d touchscreens. Taran3d was on hand to showcase this important work.
Also as part of the evening, an amazing Art display was curated by Amandeep Kaur (Bespoke Art) who put together a collage of her work which depicted Guru Nanak not only in art but also through the words as expressed through the Guru Granth Sahib.
The evening culminated with a delightful musical accompaniment by the Violin Twins, two 16-year old’s who played Rags of Music through the violin which gave a great spin to the music of Guru Nanak.
The langar was provided by Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara Leicester and the event was attended by individuals from across the country, Councillors across the city, the business community, members of different faiths including the Christian and Muslim and Hindus who left with a better understanding of Guru Nanak.
The Sikh Museum Initiative would like to thank the Leicester City Museums Service for giving space to host this important occasion, to the people of Leicester and the team including Raj Mann, Kartar Singh, Jas Obhi and Punjab2000.
- The 3d objects will be released onto the www.anglosikhmuseum.com shortly.