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'sPresence". 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.
This book demands your time and attention. Reading `In the Master'sPresence' 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 - Guru Gobind 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.
This is a treasure trove of a book, chronicling the hidden history of Hazoor Sahib, the final resting place of the Tenth Sikh Guru. The unique history and practices of the Hazoori Sikhs have been much maligned, misunderstood or plain ignored by historians, academics and Sikhs alike. In The Master'sPresence puts pay to that. This is both compelling storytelling and academically rigorous historical study combined. In order to tell their tale the authors have scoured libraries and collections the world over to offer never before seen paintings, photographs, maps and artefacts. And in doing so they have produced a unique, visually stunning and impressively comprehensive work. But despite being a weighty tomb the story of Hazoor Sahib over three centuries is lucidly written and broad in its scope setting the events in their proper context allowing the lay reader to follow the bigger picture as well as the minutia of Hazoori intrigues. The research and footnotes are exemplary and back up a wonderfully epic tale composed of a broad tapestry of characters including the Guru himself to Mughal Emperors, Hindu Rajas, Arab mercenaries, Colonial administrators, Nizams and Nihangs. The Guru's `Sach Khand', or Realm of Truth, has been brought brilliantly back into the spotlight, just as the site itself is being `renovated' and its original spirit is replaced by marbled mundanity. Volume 1 ends with a lament at the recent `modernisation' bringing the story up to date in a very timely and pertinent manner. The wilful destruction mirrors the ignorance of many Sikhs of a huge part of their own history, traditions and identity- that is, until now. Beautiful, bold and comprehensive, an absolute must buy for those interested in Sikh history and religion.