The Valiant Ones: A photo exhibit: Artist Gurbir Singh Brar
Venue: Bhai Vir Singh Sadan, New Delhi
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Today, some people see Nihangs as a relic, but others recognize them as a colorful and important part of the Punjabi heritage.Nihangs belong to a martial tradition started by the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Their way of life, style of dress and weaponry has not changed much over the centuries and this was what captivated Brar to spend months with Nihangs around Punjab. During this period, he lived with them, learnt their way of living and captured them in his camera. The Nihangs are a semi-nomadic people and are organized into armies and live in camps known as cantonments. Men and women both train in horsemanship, swordsmanship, and in the Punjabi martial art known as 'gatka'.
During times of persecution in the past, the Nihangs defended Sikh shrines and the Sikh way of life and become known for their bravery against all odds. In times of peace, they travel to festivals and fairs throughout India, staging displays of horsemanship and martial skills. Brar has also formed an organization 'Sava Lakh Foundation' with the help of Nihangs. With the active involvement of Akal College Council Gursagar Mastuana Sahib and ace horseman Maghar Singh, a training program in traditional horsemanship and martial arts has been initiated at Mastuana Sahib.