Muslim Minstrels of Sikh Sacred Hymns

Contributed by Navtej Purewal

The Tribune, October 3, 2004.

The Tribune, October 3, 2004.

This newspaper clipping tells the story of how the renowned Rababi musician Bhai Ghulam Muhammad Chand, who was then 70 years old, travelled from Pakistan to India in 2005.  He had been invited by Punjabi University in Patiala to perform and be given a prestigious award by the university. On his return journey to cross the land border back to Pakistan, he stopped at the Golden Temple in Amritsar to declare his lifelong desire to perform at the Golden Temple, as his ancestors had done. His wish was turned down by the management committee (Shiromini Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee) who manage not only the Golden Temple but a majority of gurdwaras across India.

pujabYou may already be aware of the history of the region of Punjab, where this story is set.  Punjab was one of the areas of the subcontinent that was partitioned in 1947, at the point of independence from British rule.  There is as a result a great deal of cultural continuity linking the western and eastern regions of Punjab, which now form parts of the independent states of Pakistan and India, as you can see in the above map.  But the story perhaps suggests some further continuities associated with religion in this region.  Click on the Raising Questions section to explore this further.

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