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In the Master's Presence: The Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib: 1 [Illustrated] [Hardcover]

Nidar Singh Nihang , Parmjit Singh
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Jan 2009

Revealed: the hidden history of one of the last bastions of early Sikh tradition, an exotic world that has all but disappeared.

This superbly illustrated landmark work charts the hidden history of the Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib (literally Master s Presence ). This shrine in the Deccan, India's southern region, marks the spot where Guru Gobind Singh found his final resting place in 1708 after spending much of his life battling against the oppressive policies of the Mughal Empire.

Separated from the traditional Sikh heartlands of Punjab by hundreds of miles, the Sikhs of Hazoor Sahib were spared the post-annexation upheaval that transformed the mindset of Punjabi Sikhs from fierce independence to loyal servants of the Raj. The proud and defiant Hazoori Sikhs steadfastly maintained ancient religious traditions and a fascinating oral history, which today uncovers an aspect of Sikh history that appears so astonishing and at odds with modern rhetoric that it is almost considered heresy.

Since some of the most far-reaching events in Sikh history centred on Hazoor Sahib, which is regarded as the fourth Sikh throne of temporal and spiritual authority (takht), it rapidly assumed great importance in Sikh tradition. However, despite its sacred status, history has been singularly unkind to the Hazoori Sikhs. While bookshops are crammed full with tomes on virtually every facet of Sikh history centred round the Punjabi experience, very little by way of a connected narrative is available on the Sikhs of the Deccan; even less published material exists in terms of early photographs or paintings. This is the gap that this book, the first of a two-volume work, aims to fill.

The authors have drawn upon years of painstaking research, a wealth of written materials drawn from public and private archives from around the world and extensive oral tradition collected over multiple field trips, to evoke a vivid and often startling account of the empires, events and characters whose lives are intertwined with the fate of the tenth Guru's final resting place. The constant traffic of humanity, lavish gifts and coded messages carried on between Punjab and the Deccan by courtly agents, itinerant Sikh warriors, naked ascetics, rogue spies and jobless mercenaries, all contributed to the rich tapestry of intrigue and mystery that colours the account.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Kashi House; 1st edition (23 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956016804
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956016805
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 22 x 29 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 584,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"immensely readable" -- Susan Stronge, Senior Curator, Asian Department, Victoria & Albert Museum

"comprehensive research" -- The Tribune

"Nidar Singh and Parmjit Singh do remarkable work in cataloguing the history of Deccani Sikhs..." --World Sikh News. --World Sikh News

"a beautiful production... a precious collector's item which I will treasure a treasure-chest of a book! ...combines fascinating and deeply informed text with an abundance of superbly reproduced images ...This aesthetically and historically rich volume celebrates an important and under-acknowledged strand of Sikh tradition at a time when it is at risk as never before" --Professor Eleanor Nesbitt, author of 'Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction

"A fabulous achievement ...Hazoor Sahib takes us into a lost world of Sikh history. We are in the presence not only of the Master but of world class scholarship and research" --Christy Campbell, author of The Maharajah's Box

From the Author

At the end of 2006, news reports from India highlighted the wilful destruction of Hazoor Sahib's built heritage in preparation for the tercentenary celebrations slated for October 2008.
As the story unfolded, it became worryingly clear that the shrine had become a victim of a fatal cocktail of ignorance, arrogance and apathy, and made worse by the corrupting influence of `new' money injected by the central and state governments for infrastructure projects in and around Nanded.
The actions of the takht's custodians, the Gurdwara Board, surprised many observers and heritage lovers. Supposedly charged with protecting and preserving the shrine complex, a brash Board ignored calls made by conservation experts and concerned members of the global Sikh community to stop the demolition. As their pleas fell on deaf ears, several important historical structures in and around the Takht Hazoor Sahib complex were flattened in the name of modernisation. These events crystallised our intention to act, giving rise to this book in the hope that the sad scenes recently witnessed at Hazoor Sahib will never repeat themselves.
It gives us great pleasure, therefore, to present In the Master's Presence, the story behind one of the early pillars of Sikh tradition that has now all but disappeared in its original form. In this first volume of two, we delve into the history of the built heritage of Takht Hazoor Sahib and trace the major milestones in the growth of the colony of Hazoori Sikhs.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Manny
Format:Hardcover
The production quality as well as the research that has gone into this book make it a must have for anyone interested in the importance of Hazoor Sahib within the Sikh faith.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 13 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good read some parts are questionable, but all in all worth the buy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hidden history revealed. 24 Jun 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wonderful book, with an alternate view of how Sikhism developed from the Hazoori Nihang perspective. A worthy area for further research.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reveal a hidden history of the Sikhs 5 Feb 2009
Format:Hardcover
Length: 3:26 Mins
A fantastic production that reveals the hitherto little-known history of Hazoor Sahib. From the earliest construction of a shrine in memory to the tenth Sikh Guru in 1708 to the willful destruction of Sikh built heritage 300 year later, this book narrates the highs and lows of the story accompanied by hundreds of magnificent paintings and photographs. A must read.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 3 Aug 2009
By B Brar
Format:Hardcover
Fantastic book! Immediately, the quality of the book grabs your attention - the rich detail of the photographs and illustrations, rarely seen before, captivate the reader, and, combined with the detailed information, makes it an absolute pleasure to read.The extensive research which has gone into producing the book help to illuminate a seriously under-researched aspect of Sikh history certainly making it a book to be cherished by all.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Very few Sikh Historians are brave enough to publicly question the traditions of the current `ruling' Sikh establishments, and even fewer put their views to print. Thankfully Nidar Singh Nihang and Parmjit Singh are amongst the vanguard of authors that show no fear.

Sikhs, as well as other religions, are still suffering the affects of British influence, and their `Christianisation'. This book gives the reader an alternative view of how Sikhs lived their lives away from British managed Panjab. It accurately documents how Guru Gobind Singh's traditions have been kept alive since his death and how those traditions differ from what we see inside Gurdwara's in Panjab, and across the world.

Rarely do I read Historical books that I can't put down. This one kept me up for nights on end. The images are literally breathtaking and I spent just as much time being mesmerised by them as I did reading the book. I hope that Volume 2 picks up where the first one left off and explores further the depths of British meddling in Sikh practice. Please hurry with Volume 2!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime 12 July 2009
Format:Hardcover
This 'labour of love' is a magnificient piece of literature that I hope will reach the Times 'Top 100 books of 2009'. Each illustration and picture shows the rarity of this great, unique and hidden side of Sikhism in the middle of India.

Personally, I've read a few chapters and I am thrilled. I must admit that I was one of those 'mainstream Sikhs' who thought that my Hazoor Sahib counterparts were a bit behind in their practices, but now I am enlightened and more educated. I now believe that I was the one who was behind and ignorant. This wonderful piece of work and effort on your behalf is an exceptional endeavour. In one word, 'sublime'. The illustrations alone make it unique and well sought after.

The Sikh world needs to know what its history is. Ignorance needs to be dispelled and with the collaboration of Parmjit Singh with Nihung Niddar Singh, Sikhism can reach its full potential.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the Master's Presence 17 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover
Everyone interested in Sikh history should read the monumental work done by the dedicated Sikhs. Years of hard work into researching and writing is quite evident. I just returned from Takhat Hazoor Sahib 2 weeks ago and reviewed the "In the Master's Presence". Many aspects about which I had questions were answered by this book. The Hazoori Sikhs deserve recognition by the SIKH world at large for preserving the Heritage of the Sikh traditions and the Takhat Hazoor Sahib as it was then. Over 300 years Hazoori Sikhs have braved thru the changing political regimes preserved the life as it was during the times of tenth Guru of the Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh ji. Sikh world needs to know the trial and tribulations of this Sikh community which has prevailed and in comparison with the Sikh community of Punjab and the rest of the world. Conflicts exist in the traditions carried out in the Sach Khand Sahib and the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib; however, preservation of the traditions and the Gurudwaras cannot be discredited. This most informative book on the Hazoori Sikhs I have ever read could not be put down until I had read it all. Of course there is a bias in this book. so let it be. But the exposure of information cannot be denied. At least the discussion will begin.

I highly recommend this book for all Sikhs and Sikh historians to read.
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