The Sikh Foundation, now 52 years old, has a long history of commitment to inspire, educate and engage communities around the world about Sikhism and Sikhs.
In 2019, we are focusing our efforts on this very important question: now that the Sikhs are living all over the world, how can the connection with our heritage be maintained for future generations? Our answer is embodied in our newest initiative: Saving Our Heritage.
The partition of Punjab, in 1947, caused one of the largest migrations in human history. The uprooted Sikh community was forced to leave behind its cultural legacy in West Punjab – monuments and buildings (gurudwaras, havelis, samadhs, forts etc. built by our ancestors). These revered sites and the rich history associated with them has been decimated by urban development and are now threatened by willful destruction, neglect, natural erosion and disaster.
There is an urgent and critical need to intervene and protect these endangered Sikh heritage sites in Pakistan in order to correct the historical narrative of the Sikh heritage in Pakistan and preserve our cultural inheritance for the enjoyment and education of our future generations. This is our mission!
We recognize that the road to successful and continued preservation of our sites in Pakistan depends on a strong partnership with the Pakistani government. Over the course of the past few months, the Sikh Foundation has been in discussions with authorities in Pakistan who administer and control many of these sites. They have in turn expressed their genuine intent to take on the conservation of selected Sikh era monuments. Through this partnership we seek to establish permanent legal protection and enforcement of conservation and restoration of the monuments in Pakistan. In return we hope to spur expanded tourism, creating economic benefits to Pakistan.
We will begin our restoration initiative within the precints of the Lahore Fort, a 16th century World Heritage Site. We have identified a small but important gurdwara (see picture on left) built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is currently shut down, since it is dilapidated and inaccessible due to a damaged staircase. However, the outer walls of the gurudwara show traces of damaged frescoes, which can be recreated.
Due to the proximity of this monument to the famed Bamba Collection of Sikh Art displayed in the Sikh Gallery at the Fort Museum and the proposed installation of a bronze statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (project of trustee, Raj Singh Kapany) in the nearby courtyard, this restored gurudwara would provide the visitor with a beautiful representation of the past along with an accurate history of the inspiring Sikh empire.
We estimate the cost of this restoration to be in the range of $100,000 USD
(Budget breakdown to be provided on request)
OUR POTENTIAL PARTNERS:
This monument is under the jurisdiction of the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and they have expressed strong interest in partnering with the Sikh Foundation. We have together identified the Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP), which is highly experienced in undertaking cultural and architectural heritage restoration all over the world as the agency, which will do the restoration. This will ensure that the original architectural form, features and character of the building will be preserved as closely as possible.
We are in discussions with the Evacuee Trust Board of Pakistan, which is the custodian of hundreds of Sikh monuments and buildings all across Pakistan. We intend to partner with international funding bodies like UNESCO & World Bank to secure their investments in restoring the revered sites of Sikh heritage in Pakistan. We will continue to develop these kinds of partnerships with great fervor. and with your support restore the glorious heritage sites of the Sikhs all over the world.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Join us in this monumental task to restore the heritage sites of the Sikhs in Pakistan. Become a Heritage Ambassador for Saving Our Heritage by volunteering your time or donating to this project.
You can send your tax-deductible donations via check to Sikh Foundation 580 College Avenue Palo Alto CA 94306
Call us to know more
Contact Sonia Dhami – Executive Director -Sikh Foundation
580 College Avenue Palo Alto CA 94306 Tel: 650 496 2222 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org