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 GuruGobind 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.
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 GuruGobind 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!
This book demands your time and attention. Reading `In the Master's Presence' often felt like watching an epic Franco Zeffirelli production. Admittedly my initial impressions were influenced by its look and feel - it's beautifully laid out and illustrated - quite unlike others of the Sikh history genre. However comparisons are difficult . The history of Hazoor Sahib has been, until know, a neglected area. This book's unique strength is that it combines a balanced combination of detailed research, remarkable illustrations and aspects of an oral tradition that present a unique and compelling story. But this is not just entertainment, this is a campaigning book, a brave attempt to bring to the fore traditions, perspectives and awareness of heritage issues that are no longer prevalent in Sikh culture. It is not without its faults, some chapters could be more concise without loosing their central theme. The description of rivalries and collusions between various sects such Nirmalas , Udasis and Nihangs was at times difficult to follow. But overhall these are minor issues in a book that contains gems such as a stunning (unknown ?) painting of the young Ranjit Singh and pictures and descriptions of the Asth-Bhuja Dhuja - GuruGobind Singh's battle standard . For me this books succeeds because it does not leave the reader in the past. It takes two principle issues , the reformation of Sikh traditions and preservation of its heritage and puts these firmly in the world we live today.