The department of encyclopaedia of Sikhism at Punjabi University, Patiala, organised a special lecture on 'Sikh relics and artefacts in the United Kingdom' on Wednesday.
A Sikh scholar from the UK Gurinder Singh Mann, also a director of the Sikh museum initiative in the UK, raised concerns over the increasing trend of auction of Sikh history on foreign land.
"The auction of articles and artefacts related to Sikh history has reached astonishing levels in the West. Unfortunately, this has spawned a trend of trade being done also in unauthenticated and duplicate relics. This practice needs to be curbed. A system needs to be put in place to ensure the provenance of items that are sourced from private sources and individuals and proper research needs to be done," Mann said.
He added that the Sikh relics and manuscripts lying in public museums are preserved properly.
The scholar also focussed on the importance of relics to the Sikh faith and how the manuscripts of Guru Granth Sahib, Hukumnamas, Shastars and other objects played an important part in understanding the transmission of the religion
Mann explained how different Sikh relics made their way to the UK.
He focussed on the Anglo-Sikh Wars and how after the annexation of the Punjab, governor general Lord Dalhousie auctioned Sikh relics and how the rest were despatched to the UK.
"Many of kings and well-off families in Punjab had given copies of the Sikh scriptures to the British officials," he stated.
Mann showed slides of rare translation of the Prem Sumarag Granth undertaken by Dr John Leyden and Guru Granth Sahib Manuscripts which could now be found in the UK.
In his presidential remarks, university vice-chancellor Jaspal Singh said the relics and artifacts were part of our heritage and created a sense of connection and bonding with the past.
He emphasised the need to bring forward the Sikh Relics but on the basis of facts and authenticity. Earlier, head of department Paramvir Singh welcomed the guests and apprised the audience on the theme and the importance of the lecture on Sikh relics.
The auction of articles and artefacts related to Sikh history has reached astonishing levels in the West. Unfortunately, this has spawned a trend of trade being done also in unauthenticated and duplicate relics.
Gurinder Singh Mann, scholar from the UK