University contributes rare manuscript to major Sikh exhibition

Our University is contributing a rare Sikh manuscript to a major exhibition showcasing unseen relics and artefacts from the 19th Century Anglo Sikh Wars.

The exhibition, which is organised by the Sikh Museum Initiative and is entitled ‘Anglo Sikh Wars: Battles, Treaties and Relics’, will be hosted at Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester from 11 March 2017 until 4 June 2017, and hopes to reveal a hidden era of British and Sikh history.

The project will showcase relics including the famous Koh-i-noor Diamond, armour and weaponry that have been 3D modelled - and will use augmented reality technology to bring alive the story from the wars that took place from 1845-1849.

The manuscript contributed by Leicester, (MS 241), is from the library’s Special Collections and can be dated to the early 1800 period, containing verses from Guru Granth Sahib and Sri Dasam Granth.

The manuscript was given to the University by Harry Hardy Peach (1874–1936), who with his father had set up a bookshop at 37 Belvoir Street, Leicester, specialising in manuscripts and early printed books.

He eventually set up a global business called Dryad Handicrafts as well as being President of the Literary and Philosophical Society.

It was displayed at the commemoration day of University College Leicester - the predecessor of the University of Leicester - in 1942.

The manuscript was also lent to Warwick Assizes for a case in which the accused and witnesses, who were Sikhs, were asked to swear an oath on it.

A small exhibition of items from Special Collections is currently on display in the Library basement to coincide with the exhibition.