Visitors are thronging a makeshift museum in Mohali where a number of life size statues of popular and not so popular Sikh heroes are on display. These statutes have been sculpted by Parvinder Singh, a self-trained artist.
Etched in fibre glass in Lakhanpur village of Mohali District, the museum essentially recreates Sikh history through art.
Located along a dusty road of Lakhnaur village of Mohali, the museum houses several statues of prominent Sikh leaders sculpted by Parvinder who earns his livelihood as an auto rickshaw mechanic.
Parvinder says he wanted to recreate the Sikh history through his artwork so that the young generation learn about the rich past of Sikhism and its great heroes.
"The young generation is not aware of their rich heritage. So, I thought of making them aware about their culture, their history and their heritage. Photographs of the prominent personalities were easily available, so I thought of coming up with models, as they have a profound impact on young minds. I have been working on the replicas for five years, but the museum came into being only two years ago," says Singh, an auto-rickshaw mechanic by profession.
A keen artist, Singh says he has received little or no help from the government, but still managed to keep alive his art through donations from Sikh patrons.
The museum displays statutes of Maharaja Ranjit Singh sitting majestically on his throne, and other Sikh heroes who sacrificed their lives for protecting their religion.
Sikh youngsters described the replicas as awesome.
"The replicas are simply amazing and I think it's the perfect way to make us aware of our past and our religion. After looking at these replicas, I can well think of the sacrifices made by our ancestors," says Gurmeet Kaur, a student.
"It's a commendable effort. Through this museum, we are able to connect with our past and our religion. Our ancestors went through all kinds of tortures but they never forfeited their religion," said Navneet, another visitor.
The Sikh religion originated with Guru Nanak (1469- 1539 AD) who was succeeded by nine other prophets, Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708 AD) being the last. Guru Gobind Singh converted the Sikhs into a militant community to combat the then Muslim rulers of the country.
A majority of India's Sikh population, which forms two per cent of the more than one billion-strong population, resides in northern India and particularly in the state of Punjab and in national capital New Delhi.