LAHORE: As preparations continue for the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, renovation and maintenance work by the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has also begun at the Sikh Gallery and Museum of the Shahi Qila in Lahore. It is the only museum in the world where archeological heritage, belonging to the Sikh community, is in its original condition.
The government is taking measures to preserve the country’s culture and heritage through restoration efforts in the provincial capital. Despite the end of the reign of Sikh rulers in Punjab 200 years ago, the museum has preserved many antiquities of 19th century Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The artifacts, kept in the Sikh Gallery and Museum, include Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s favorite horse-shaped item, war weapon and rare paintings of the Maharaja’s sons. Over time, the condition of these artifacts has become worse while the condition of the museum and the gallery has also deteriorated. The air conditioners that were installed many years ago are in poor condition while the glasses have faded.
WCLA Spokesperson Tania Qureshi told The Express Tribune that all the items preserved in the gallery were donated earlier to Pakistan by Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s granddaughter, Princess Bamba Sutherland, before her death.
The WCLA is now upgrading the museum and gallery. The cloth used in the museum will be replaced with a new one and the glass used for windows will be changed. Similarly, a modern lighting system will be installed, air conditioners will be repaired and museum labels of historical items will be changed.
Reportedly, members of the Sikh community are satisfied with the government’s move on preserving Sikh heritage. Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) Head Sardar Satunat Singh said that he is pleased that the government has decided to improve the status of this heritage connected with the history of the Sikh community. “Sikh followers from all over the world have expressed their satisfaction with the Pakistani government’s performance. These decisions reflect our history and remind us of how Sikh rulers marked their presence in Punjab.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2019.