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Thetford Fest Marks 125th Death Anniversary of The Last Emperor Of The Sikh Kingdom of Punjab

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Thousands of visitors are expected to gather in Thetford, United Kingdom on Sunday, August 26, 2018 to enjoy a variety of activities to mark the 125th anniversary of the death of Maharaja Duleep Singh (1839-1893).

The one day festival, organised by the Maharaja Duleep Singh Centenary Trust, is being supported by Thetford Town Council , the Ancient House Museum and Breckland District Council.

In addition to musical entertainment, poetry, and speeches from the main stage at Melford Common there will be a Heritage Pavilion featuring:

- Displays of rare Sikh artefacts
- Turban tying
- Bookstalls
- Storytelling with Navleen Kaur
- Art workshop with Suman Kaur, Winner of the BBC Big Draw Challenge
- Military Ancestry Roadshow for those wishing to research their history of servicemen ancestors

Visitors will also be able to visit the Duleep Singh memorial statue at Butten Island and it is expected that many will also pay their tribute at his graveside in Elveden.

The Guildhall will host a special pictorial exhibition on the life of the Maharaja. The Ancient House Museum will be opening its doors especially where visitors will get a chance to view the stunning Singh Twin’s portrait of Duleep Singh titled “Casualty of War” (Courtesy, National Museums Scotland).

Spokesman for the Trust, Sardar Jasvinder Singh Nagra said: “This event has been organised in response to a longstanding demand from the Sikh community. We hold the memory of our last Maharaja very close to our heart and it is important that the 125th anniversary of his death should be appropriately marked.

“We are expecting visitors from throughout the UK from locations as disparate as Southampton and Scotland. It is our duty that our heritage be celebrated and preserved especially here in East Anglia which holds so many historical bonds and remains a place of cultural and historic interest to us.”

A spokesman for the Town Council added: “Thetford is very proud of its Sikh Heritage and is looking forward to a fantastic day of music, entertainment and displays to commemorate this. With exhibits in the Ancient House Museum
and The Guildhall there will be a warm welcome for all our visitors in the town centre as well as on Melford Common.”

Oliver Bone, Curator of the Ancient House Museum, comments: “We are really looking forward to welcoming people to Thetford to mark the anniversary of Maharaja Duleep Singh. It’s a great pleasure to be able to share the fascinating stories of the Duleep Singh family and to be part of this exciting Anglo-Sikh heritage festival.”

The Maharaja Duleep Singh Centenary Trust was formed especially in 1993 to mark the centenary of his death. It has spearheaded many of the major initiatives associated with Sikh-British heritage including commissioning the life size equestrian memorial statue at Butten Island. This is the 3rd major outdoor festival, with the previous ones being in 1993 and 1998

 

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August 22, 2018

 

Conversation about this article

1: Hardev Singh (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), August 22, 2018, 1:31 PM.

Any event that reinforces Sikh separate identity is most welcome, especially in current social and political situation in both Punjab and India. The historical time-line of abuse and betrayal of Sikhs also speaks volumes.

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