July 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Frescos of Hindu gods whitewashed
Tarn Taran, July 26
It is learnt that the frescos of Hindu gods were erased during the ‘kar seva’ being carried out by Baba Jagtar Singh at the behest of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee.
The frescos were unique specimens of Sikh school of art, completed in the year1824, during the regime of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. According to Sikh history, Maharaja Ranjit Singh got the gold-plating and interior decoration of the Darbar Sahib completed by taking personal interest.
However, Baba Amrik Singh, in charge of the ‘kar seva’ feigned ignorance about the existence of the wall paintings of Hindu gods, he claimed there was not even a single painting of Hindu Gods when the SGPC had handed over the ‘kar seva’ to Baba Jagtar Singh in 2000. He said the interior decoration of the upper storey including the wall paintings were badly damaged due to seepage. However, rest of the paintings which were visible at the time of ‘kar seva’ could be preserved after taking lot of painstaking efforts. When asked that the history had record of the paintings of Hindu Lords in the upper storey of Darbar Sahib, Baba Amrik Singh hastened to add that, “it was practically difficult to revive those paintings which were beyond recognition”.
Now all the 16 paintings which were revived by using the similar style and colours that of the time of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, belong to Sikh Guru, Sikh warriors and religious leaders including Baba Deep Singh, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Ghanaiya, Baba Budhaji. The first head granthi of the Golden Temple (Amritsar) and four ‘Sahibzadas’ (sons of Guru Gobind Singh) and Bhai Gurdass. Some of the paintings depict Guru Nanak Devji flanked by Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana.
Though the ‘kar seva’ of the paintings has been completed yet the upper storey has not been open to the devotees.
Mr Jaswant Singh, an artist of ‘Dera Baba Jagtar Singh, Kar Seva’ claimed that the specified colours were used to complete the art work. He claimed that the paintings would last long as efforts had been made to stop seepage of the upper storey.
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