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Nishan Sahibs And Battle Standards


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Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh !!

I have received a lot of feedback from the pictures I posted of the Battle Standards at Lichfield Cathedral - some negative but mostly positive.

Many asked for more pictures especially pictures of old Nishan Sahibs and pictures of the "Symbols" used before the introduction of the modern Khanda symbol.

It is not my intention to offend anyone, that is why I carefully avoided the use of 'Nishan Sahib' in the first post and this one and used the more neutral term 'Battle Standard'.

Hope you enjoy the pictures !

Bhul Chuk Maaf

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

These are guilded panels from Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai Sahib - they date from the mid 19th century

In this first panel you see Guru Gobind Singh Ji with his beloved Singhs - the Nishan Sahibs have on them 2 'Kirpans' a 'Katar' and what could be a 'Chakar' or a shield - it could also be a 'degh' - as it has been argued that the Nishan Sahib is a representation of 'Degh Tegh Fateh'.


a detail


In this panel Guru Gobind Singh Singh is with 5 Singhs - the Nishan Sahib is plain with a border


a detail


In this panel we see the Beloved 'Char Sahibzadas' - here also the Nishan is plain with a border


a detail


(* taken from The Sikhs - T S Randhawa 2000)

In this painting of Guru Gobind Singh Ji , titled as 'Journey to Deccan', dated as circa AD 1770-80 painted in Rajastani style - we have an Akali Nihang holding a Yellow Nishan with a Kirpan Katar and Chakar/Dhal/Degh arrangement with a floral border.




(* taken from Sikh Heritage - Dr Daljeet 2004)

In this portrait of Guru Gobind Singh from the 'Military Manual of Maharaja Ranjit Singh' ,dated around 1822-1830, kept in the Ram Bagh Museum Amritsar - we have a red and gold Nishan with what appears to be a 'Kard' on it.


(* taken from Maharaja Ranjit Singh - Jean-Marie Lafont 2002)

In this portrait of Guru Gobind Singh we see a decorated red, gold and pink Nishan.


Post Continues >>>>

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In this painting of The Char SahibZadas we have a decorated yellow Nishan Sahib .




(*taken from Dr Daljeet 2004)

This is a detail from a late 19th century painting of Darbar Sahib - the twin Nishan Sahibs of Miri and Piri are shown - The colour is Kesri.


(*taken from Dr Daljeet 2004)

In this Woodcut of Sri Amritsar - titled 'Naksha Darbar Sahib Sri Amritsar ji ka' and dated AD 1874 (sambat 1931) - we can clearly see the Miri Piri Nishan Sahibs and the Nishan Sahib on the roof terrace of the Darbar Sahib - the Nishan sahibs are again decorated with a Kirpan / Katar / chakar,degh,shield arrangement - the 'flag poles' are all topped with spear heads .




(* taken from Pirtan, Cultural Kosh - Chanan Singh Chan )

In this plan of Darbar Sahib , from the early 1900s, we can see two Nishan Sahibs - one on the roof of the Harimandir, the other to the left of the Akal Takht - both are of a yellow / kesri colour.

This plan from the Harry Mann Collection (Ontario, Canada) is fascinating because you can see all the Bungas around the parikarma the numerous trees and the original entrances .


This address casket is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum - it belongs to the Royal Family and is in the form of a model of the Harimandir Sahib. It dates from the Late 1800s and was probably given to Queen Victoria. Note the Nishan Sahib is Kesri in colour and has a fringe and tassle. It is adorned with a Bhaugauti and a Chakar/Degh/shield symbol





(* taken from The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms - The Canadian Collections - Seema Bharadia - 2000)

The second Shahidi Jatha arriving at Jaito (1920s) - though the symbols are hard to see on the Nishan Sahibs - they are like the ones in the woodcut posted above - you can clearly make out a 'Katar'.


Post Continues >>>>>

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(* taken from Warrior Saints - A S Madra P Singh 1999)

This photograph is of the Darshani Deori of Taran Taran Sahib - you can see the Nishan sahib is similar to the woodcut from 1874 AD , it has the kirpan / katar/ chakr pattern - the photograph comes from Khushwant Singh's book published in 1953


(* taken from The Sikhs - Khushwant Singh - 1953)

These next pictures are of Battle Standards

The first is the famous 'Dussehra' painting of Ranjit Singh's Darbar by Schoefft - you can see the Red standard behind Lal Singh




In this lithograph of Solykoff's painting of Sher Singh you can see the Battle Standards of Ranjit Singh - one with 'Karttikeya' on, the other I can't make out.




In this last picture you can see the Sikh Battle Standards from the collection of Lord Dalhousie as they were displayed at the Mansion of Colstoun , East Lothian , Scotland.

Family tradition states that they were captured by Lord Gough at the Battle of Gujrat 21 February 1849.


(* taken from Maharaja Ranjit singh - Mohinder Singh Rishi Singh Sondeep Shonkar - 2002)

GurFateh !

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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Gurfateh !

Here are two more examples

Sri Darbar Sahib circa 1840 (* from the Kapany Collection )



Fresco from the walls of the Darbar Sahib , Amritsar (* from Sikh Architecture - P S Arshi - 1986)

Guru Gobind Singh Ji - the Nishan is both decorated and has 'Shasters' on it.



Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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  • 4 months later...

A lot of the paintings that were produced during the Ranjit Singh period were painted by Hindu artists from the Kangra region(see Paintings of the Sikhs by W.G Archer) who were paid by the Punjab court. They produced the artwork with often there own styles and would add illustrations from Hindu mythology where they felt.

As most Sikhs were not educated a lot of information about Sikhi was distorted e.g many Sikh texts were actually written by Brahmins (as they were the literate ones)and gradually Hindu practices crept into Sikhi. By the end of the Sikh Raj the Brahmin Dogras had such control on the Punjab that even Sati happened at Ranjit Singh's funeral.

The Sikh Guru Sahibs of course had banned these activities and condemned Brahmin superstitions and myths.

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Guest Dancing Warrior
A lot of Brahmin influence crept in during the time of the Mahants and Hindu caretakers eg:paintings,and frescos,if i saw those Shiva style flags now I would burn them to be honest and frank.

Your hate is phenomenal. I hope one day you can truly find peace within yourself. Freed ji as always thank you for your time and trouble.

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