Imperial College, London was the venue for the second Sikh Studies Conference on 1st August 2015. The conference brought together scholars from the UK and abroad.
SMI: Taranjit Singh and Gurinder Singh Mann
The SMI team also represented at the conference by giving insights on how Sikh relics and artefacts can be preserved. Gurinder Singh Mann explained how Sikh relics and artefacts were kept with the Sikh Misls or confederacies. As Maharaja Ranjit came to power he absorbed the Misls as well their wealth and artefacts. As a result the Maharaja created repositories or Treasuries. Mann challenged the misconception of only one Toshkhana (Lahore) of the Sikhs and pointed to others in Amritsar.
The lecture also explained how Lord Dalhousie and Lord Login catalogued Sikh relics and artefacts in the Toshkhana of Lahore. Many of these relics were described including arms and armour, Kashmiri shawls as well as diamonds including the well-known Koh-i-noor. The worrying aspect to the cataloguing was the dispersion of these relics and how many appear to have be lost for forever.
John Login who catalogued Sikh relics and artefacts in the Lahore Treasury
Mann described also alluded to the Treasury of the Harimandir Sahib and how these important relics are still present. These important relics are shown on the Jaleu or auspicious occasions related to the Sikhs.
The second part of the lecture was about using new technology to model and map Sikh relics. Taranjit Singh has spent many years perfecting 3d modelling and using augmented reality to bring Sikh artefacts to life. Taranjit explained how we can now model Sikh swords and then control them on a computer. The textures and patterns could be so lifelike to mirror the damage to Sikh relics and artefacts.
A Sikh sword which can be shown in different environments.
A 3d model of a Sikh quoit or Chakkar inscribed with Sikh verses (Gurbani)
He also explained how augmented reality could be used to project Sikh objects as well as the creating models using 3d printing. He explained how this could help children get a better understanding of the Sikh faith. Essentially the team proposed a number of possibilities to bring Sikh relics to life. The participants were full of praise for the Sikh Museum Initiative and the different projects they will be working on.