Wednesday, October 9, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Original drawings offered
Akal Takht restoration
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

A rare fresco depicting Bhagat Kabir weaving at his traditional 'khaddi' and Mai Loi spinning. The picture that once adored the walls of Akal Takht was destroyed when its building was pulled down in January 1986.

Mr Satpal Danish shows frames of frescos done by his grandfather Bhai Gian Singh Naqqash at Akal Takht. The old artwork could be restored with the help of these pictures taken before pulling down Akal Takht. — Photo Rajiv Sharma

Amritsar, October 8
Hundreds of original drawings of frescos, including that of Hindu Gods and Bhagats, which disappeared when the Radicals pulled down the structure of Akal Takht, are in the treasured possession of descendents of Bhai Gian Singh, who belongs to the lineage of naqqashs.

The lost glory of the rich Sikh heritage could be restored with the help of the drawings as these once adorned the walls of Akal Takht and were replicated on the basis of the original drawings. Mr Satpal Danish, grandson of Bhai Gian Singh, who had done 60 per cent artwork at the Golden Temple and Akal Takht during his stint as official artist of the SGPC for 32 years, said he was ready to provide the priceless drawings.

He showed the rare drawings and portraits of Krishna, accepting “tandal” (wet rice) from his poor friend Sudama, Lord Rama, Dharna Bhagat, Dhruv Bhagat and an excellent picture of Bhagat Kabir working on his weaver. He also showed the marvellous drawings and pictures of Gurdwara Ramsar, near Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh, which was destroyed during the kar seva carried out by Baba Kharak Singh in the 1970s.

Interestingly, one of the pictures in possession of Mr Danish depicts lions made of marble — a symbol of power. During the restructuring of Akal Takht the marble lions had disappeared.

Mr Danish said the SGPC should constitute a high-powered committee to identify Sikh heritage which could be preserved. “It is already too late”, he quipped.

The artwork, which has been lost forever, included “jaratkari”, which is known as “munavat”, in walls in the laying of coloured stones in marble. Initially, the dedicated artistes did the artwork under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which was continued by the forefathers of Mr Danish.

The drawing is made on the paper first and later transferred on to a marble slab by the naqqash. The original drawing complete with colours schemes is given by the naqqash to the coloured stone dresser for cutting patterns from the multicoloured stones. These patterns are then set on the slabs by the “pather-ghara”. Some of the stones used were jaratkari, haqiaue (red and pink shape), zeharmora (green), khattu pathat (yellow stone), sabaz pathar (dark green stone), sabaz pathar nargiz (green), sang yaashap (green, light green, white and blue stones), Arabic smak (light black stones) and sang pasham (light green stone).

The walls of Akal Takht had also “dehni jaratkari”, which his forefathers had done with great dedication. The artwork had also adorned the outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple and Akal Takht as well. It shows the effect of coloured cut stones in marble. It requires careful handling of tender pieces of stones while fitting them in the panels.

Mr Danish claimed that the dying artwork of naqqashi, which once adorned the walls of Akal Takht, could be restored with the help of the original drawings which his family had been preserving for the past more than 150 years.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |