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He is Guru Nanak.
Painting of the court of Ranjit Singh. Punjab, 19ᵗʰ century. Gouache on paper.
On loan from Manraj S. Sekhon.
Let me share with you a little history of the Sikhs!

A long time ago, in the middle of the 18ᵗʰ century, a young man nicknamed the Lion of Punjab created the first Sikh Empire. His name was Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Can you spot him here? Click on his image to find out if you got the right answer!

Shield, Punjab, circa 1835 .Steel with gold leaf.
On loan from the Kapany Collection.
During Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s reign, Punjab became a prosperous region! Arts, crafts and architecture also flourished.

Arts and crafts did not just include paintings and textiles, but also weaponry, coins and jewellery. You will see some examples of these around this section of the gallery here.

Take a look at this shield!

Hmm, I wonder if this shield was ever used in battle…

Bhai Maharaj Singh was sent to Singapore. He was the first ever Sikh in Singapore in 1850.
One needed to be under the age of 25, with a minimum height of 1.68 metres and a minimum chest measurement of 84cm!
Do you think it is easy for one to be a policeman? Why or why not?
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Sikh Pioneers

Sikhs also found other forms of employment in Singapore. English-educated Sikhs were hired as clerks and court interpreters while others became private security guards or jagas. There were also dairy farmers, moneylenders, businessmen, teachers, doctors and many more!

Look around this section of the gallery to find out more about the Sikh pioneers in Singapore.
He is Mr Seva Singh Ghandarab.
Both are correct answers! Mr Seva Singh cared for his community and contributed to its betterment. He showed responsibility and fulfilled his duty to his community and nation!
Pakkhi (hand fan) made by Amar Kaur, Singapore, 1960s.
Textile, wood and metal.
On loan from the family of Bihara Singh.
Sikh women made many contributions to their community too!

Although they were largely at home when they first arrived, Sikh women participated actively at gurdwaras and performed seva (service). They were also responsible for keeping alive Punjabi culture and heritage in Singapore, through crafts, food traditions, music, festive celebrations and more. Without them, many of our Sikh cultural traditions in Singapore may have been lost!

This pakkhi that you see here is an example of some of the beautiful handicrafts made by Sikh women. Many of these handicrafts were commonly used around the home.

The World Wars

Sikhs participated in the World Wars. Many suffered the violence of the wars and some of them found their way to Southeast Asia and Singapore to rebuild their lives.

At this time, many Sikhs who returned to Singapore, made it their permanent home.
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There are seven gurdwaras in Singapore today.


Thank you for coming on this journey with me, friend! I hope you enjoyed what I have shared with you about my Sikh community’s history, heritage and culture.

I would love to know what you think about my virtual tour!

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