In January our landmark publication The Golden Temple of Amritsar: Reflections of the Past (1808-1959) finally arrived, making it a late but very happy Christmas. Delayed by problems at the printers and then by storms at sea, the books finally arrived shipshape albeit several months late.
In actual fact, and by sheer coincidence, they arrived on Guru Gobind Singh’s Gurpurb, making it an extra special start to the year. Despite the delay early purchasers of the book were suitably pleased. The reviews were equally positive, for example this from Tribune http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111231/main5.htm SikhChic.
The Weapons Master & the Modfather
February saw an intriguing artistic collaboration when one of Britain’s most enduring and prolific singer songwriters came knocking – Paul Weller, former lead singer with The Jam and Style Council and undisputed national treasure, the Modfather himself…what on earth could he want with us Sikh heritage buffs?
Special Edition No.002
Limited to 101 copies, the special edition of our Golden Temple book received this amazing response by the purchaser of #002, Jagjit Ranouta: “I haven’t been able to put the book down! It is wonderfully put together, and a sight to behold.” Read more of Jagjit’s personal take on the book and what it means to him here.
Jagjit’s response wasn’t unusual and the limited edition sold out within a few weeks. If you’re looking for an instant collector’s item then keep a look out for further limited editions from Kashi House in 2013 – including the long awaited Warrior Saints!
The Queen, the Archbishop & GT1588
February was also the launch of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence, Lambeth Palace. For the occasion a few select representatives of the UK’s faith communities met Her Majesty and the Archbishop. GT1588 was delighted to be one of a very select few invited to send a representative – see the pictures and blog story here.
Annual Sikh Arts Day at the Victoria & Albert Museum
We continued to hold our very popular ‘Sikh Arts Day’ as part of the V&A’s South Asian Arts Programme. This year Nidar Singh Nihang gave an illustrated talk and demonstration of the Sikh martial tradition and its representation in art, whilst Harbakhsh Grewal gave a talk on the development of the Sikh kingdoms and the parallel development of Sikh art.
Sharing our stories – Hounslow Gurdwara Talk
Every community needs to tell its own stories, and part of our mission is to do just that. The notion that the story of the Golden Temple is untold or unknown, by even Sikhs, seems ridiculous. And yet 2011’s exhibition showed just how keen people are to learn more.
This illustrated talk in April by Parmjit Singh, exhibition curator and co-editor of our Golden Temple book, offered some scintillating glimpses into our shared past for all to share. For more, see here.
If you are a member of a local sangat and would like to host similar expert talks then get in touch.
Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan
As well as working away on making and selling books and giving talks we took to the streets to join in the Vaisakhi celebrations. Members of the team including some of our cheerful volunteers were seen handing out our postcard flyers, or offering free information on Sikh heritage including at Southall and Hounslow where we had a stall.
The Prime Minister, No10 Downing Street & the Golden Temple
April also saw the second ever No 10 Downing Street Vaisakhi reception. This year the occasion was marked by the presentation of our Golden Temple book to UK Prime Minister David Cameron. See here for more.
We hope he gets time to look through and absorb something of the temple’s universal message.
London Book Fair
Members of the team attended the prestigious London Book Fair and came back with an array of ideas and some snaps of a fascinating display on the origins of printing in ancient China. See here for more.
Rise of the One-Eyed King – Goldman Sachs Talk
The London offices of Goldman Sachs saw a diverse audience of the company’s London staff captivated by the recounting of the story of Rise of the One-Eyed King – An Illustrated History of the Sikh Empire by knowledgeable collector Davinder Toor. The event was hosted by Sachs’ Sikh Sangat Group.
If you are a member of a similar Sikh society and would like to host similar expert talks then get in touch.
Gurbaksh Chahal, America’s No.1 Sikh Entrepreneur
We managed to catch up with die-hard internet entrepreneur, California’s Gurbaksh Chahal, while he was in London to present him with copies of our books. Gurbaksh is the force behind a number of successful internet business ventures and is considered one of America’s leading business innovators.
As importantly, he is proud of his Sikh roots and as a native of Tarn Taran, Punjab, he was especially pleased to receive a copy of our Golden Temple book. See here for more.
Sikhs in the Great War: We Will Remember Them
2014 may seem a long way off but 2012 saw us working on the UK Punjab Heritage Association’s plans for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One. The nationwide celebrations will be led by the Imperial War Museum (IWM) and its ambitious Centenary Project.
To find out more about their plans members of the team were invited to a seminar at the IWM outlining how heritage groups can get involved and plan their own commemorations in association with the museum and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Our own ideas have been in development since late 2011 and the seminar was a great opportunity to meet with HLF and IWM staff and hone our plans before their submission for approval.
To feed into our work we sought the community’s views with an online survey which received a great response from over 650 participants in 7 days.
Crawley Singh Sabha in the Sun
On the invitation of the local Singh Sabha management committee we spent a lively day in sunny Crawley hosting both a talk and our mini touring version of the Golden Temple exhibition.
A great day was had by all as we met an incredibly welcoming sangat. The enthusiasm for Sikh history was palpable as the crowd chatted with team members whilst checking out the mobile exhibition or listened intently to Parmjit Singh’s virtual tour of Darbar Sahib as it used to be.
If you would like to see us offer similar talks and meet-and-greet days in your locale then get in touch.
A Visit to Gurdwara Dera Sahib Lahore
In June on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan we took a virtual tour of the shrine to his sacrifice in the capable hands of Dr Nadhra Khan, lecturer at Lahore University of Management Sciences. Dr Khan specialises in Mughal and Sikh period and gave the audience at Hounslow Singh Sabha a very special opportunity to take a virtual tour of Dera Sahib. The talk also served as a timely reminder of the need to preserve sites of religious significance in both India and Pakistan.
If you attended our symposium on the art of the Golden Temple at 2011’s exhibition you may recall Nadra speaking eloquently about the embellishment of Darbar Sahib also.
When the Weapons Master met the Arts Master
Whilst in town to give her talk Nadra mentioned an interest in catching up with noted Sikh martial arts master Nidar Singh Nihang. GT1588 were able to facilitate the meeting at Nidar Singh’s weekly Slough class. The two were able to ‘cross swords’ as Nadra asked questions on the origins of the martial arts and on the craftsmanship of the dazzling array of original weapons in use at his class; whilst Nidar Singh was able to pursue his interest in the ancient frescoes of Punjab especially those found in Pakistan.
In July we were invited to Hayes’ Guru Nanak Academy’s Parkash festival to showcase our mobile Golden Temple exhibition. The festival is one of the largest gatherings of its kind outside of Punjab and over the course of three days thousands came for the guided tours and to check out our art prints and books.
If you missed out, we’ll be back in 2013 with another exciting exhibition. If you’d like to host similar sized events with us then get in touch.
Sikh Discover Inspire: GT1588 on Facebook
As the London 2012 Olympics took off, so did we – with a major re-launch of our Facebook page – remember these iconic images of Sikh Olympians?
Ed Milliband MP, Leader of the Opposition meets GT1588
The UK leader of the Opposition, Ed Milliband MP was host to ourselves and the City Sikhs Network in his private House of Commons office where we presented him with a copy of our Golden Temple book.
Like all those who have been gifted a copy of the book this year we hope he has a chance to glance at it and absorb some of its universal message. See here for more.
GT1588 Launches in India
In October we launched our Golden Temple book in India. Some wonderful coverage in Hindi, Punjabi and English media followed including:
TV: Day & Night News
Online: Indian Express
Green Light for the Sikhs in the Great War Project
Our hard work preparing for 2014 got its first reward as the Heritage Lottery Fund offered their initial support for this major project, which we are working on in collaboration with the UK Punjab Heritage Association. This green light means we can now plan with more confidence the various strands including a major exhibition in central London, a commemorative publication and online resources & educational packs for schools. Look out for further news in 2013 including how you can get involved.
Sikhing Discovering Inspiring
As the year ended, the buzz of Sikh related stories in the media led to a stimulating range of posts and comments on our Facebook page. From JK Rowling and comedians wearing towels on their heads like turbans to Monty Panesar’s life-best performance in cricket and the first Scots Guard to wear a turban instead of the traditional Bearskin, we’ve covered it all! See our Top 10 posts from 2012 here.
In the heart of government: Warrior Saints Exhibition
The heart of the British Government was host to the launch of our latest new mini-exhibition to coincide with the launch of Warrior Saints (Volume 1). The event was held in association with the Home Office Sikh Association (HOSA) and members of the Armed Forces and Police. Personal tours were provided for two government minsters amongst many others.
The launch was the start of the return of a much awaited classic text. If you are part of an organisation or Gurdwara that is interested in hosting the exhibition and expert talks then get in touch.
Book of the Month (or was that Year?!)
We finish the year as we started it with a superlative review of our Golden Temple book which was deemed to be SikhChic’s Book of the Month - a reminder if ever one was needed that this landmark publication is ‘a must for every Sikh household’.
Warrior Saints: The Wait is Over
Beautifully illustrated and full of evocative eyewitness accounts, Warrior Saints: Four Centuries of Sikh Military History (Volume 1) tells the stirring account of the evolution and enduring prowess of the Sikh warrior.
As you may know the first edition of Warrior Saints came out in 1999 but quickly sold out. These copies are now much sought after, fetching upwards of £250. As a not-for-profit publisher, Kashi House has heeded public calls for its re-release and is finalising a specially revised, expanded and redesigned edition over two-volumes…Look out for more details coming soon…it looks like 2013 is already shaping up to be as big a year as 2012 has proven!
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2013!