The Last Sikh Warrior
Don’t miss this extraordinary documentary, to be broadcast as part of the Heart & Soul series on the BBC World Service at 1230 (GMT) on Saturday October 29th 2011 (Repeated on Sunday 30th and Monday 31st).
In this programme, Hardeep Singh Kohli tells the extraordinary story of one Sikh master keeping an ancient martial tradition alive.
It ranks alongside Kung Fu or the Samurai Bushido, yet the ancient Indian martial art of Shastar Vidiya is nearly forgotten – not least because the British swiftly banned it after the Anglo-Sikh wars. After centuries of practising its fearsome techniques, Sikh fighters in Punjab were shot on sight for simply carrying a sword.
Now the last known master of the art, Nidar Singh Nihang, is searching for a successor to carry the tradition forward. Ironically, he grew up in Britain, in the English Midlands town of Wolverhampton. As a teenager, he went to Punjab, where a chance meeting with an ageing warrior changed his life. The Sikh warrior could trace his lineage back to the time of the Sikh Gurus. He introduced young Nidar to the secrets of Shastar Vidiya, or the science of weapons, thus passing on the tradition to the next generation.
The programme is temporarily available to download here: