Saturday, December 10, 2022
Home New Release B.C. man collects thousands of rare books, artifacts documenting Sikh history

B.C. man collects thousands of rare books, artifacts documenting Sikh history

It’s a collection that has taken almost three decades to build: rare medals, maps, artifacts and volumes of many types of books, some dating as far back as 1696.

Raj Singh Bhandall, the man behind Surrey, B.C.’s Wanjara Nomad Collections, estimates he has more than 2,000 items in his personal mini museum from all over the world, including India and Afghanistan.

“When anyone asks me, ‘What do you have?’ I always say, ‘Some books,’ but when they slide this door and they enter, they say, ‘This is not what you told us,’” Bhandall told Global News.

“They’re like living objects. There is a story behind them. Every single item has a story.”

Read more:

‘It’s where everything started’: History of B.C. Sikh community celebrated in new book

Story continues below advertisement

On its website, Wanjara Nomad Collections bills itself as having a “collection in excess of 1,230 rare books pertaining to the Sikh rule, East India Company, and the British empire.”

“Despite the ill-advised and unsuccessful attempts to racially cleanse the Sikhs from history, Wanjara Nomad Collections has compiled a bespoke array of antiquities to gather and piece together the history of the Sikhs to preserve, learn and share,” the website reads.

Bhandall said he was driven by a desire to learn about his history. He started scouring antique stores, flea markets and yard sales, while keeping an eye on online auctions around the world as part of his ongoing treasure hunt.

“It makes me feel like a kid too,” he explained. “I used to collect marbles, fly kites — it’s not the same thing but it’s similar in a way.”


Click to play video: 'This Is BC: Maple Ridge man trains wild horses for adoption'







This Is BC: Maple Ridge man trains wild horses for adoption


This Is BC: Maple Ridge man trains wild horses for adoption – Jul 14, 2022

It’s a hobby and passion that has taken up a lot of his free time.

Story continues below advertisement

“At home and with my friends, I’m driving them nuts,” he said with a smile. “So they are asking, ‘Can you do something else?’”

Now a large part of the collection is being transferred online so others can learn. Wanjara Nomad Collections doesn’t take donations and is free for anyone to use.

Read more:

Vancouver shop helps revitalize ‘iconic’ vintage neon signs for new downtown display

“If they want to read about it, they can, and that’s where the readers are like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know,’” said Sunny Khroud, researcher and cataloger for Wanjara Nomad Collections.

“There are questions and comments coming in, we have a phone line.”

One day, Bhandall said he plans to find a public space and open the doors to anyone who wants to browse his collection — a legacy to leave behind so this history will always live on.

“I see myself just as a caretaker. I’m not an intellectual or a very learned person, but I’m taking care of these things. Preserve, learn, and share,” he said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Kailer Yamamoto nets game-winner in Edmonton Oilers’ 5-2 victory over Minnesota Wild

The Edmonton Oilers finally beat the Minnesota Wild, scoring a 5-2 win Friday night at Rogers Place. The Wild had won the previous seven meetings...

First-place Jets extend win streak to four with 3-1 win in Chicago

The Winnipeg Jets took care of business Friday night in the Windy City, dumping the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 to claim their first four-game win...

London Knights edge first-place Ottawa 67s in a shootout

On a day when both quarter-final matches at the World Cup of soccer were decided in shootouts, the London Knights and the Ottawa 67s...

More than 20 coolers wash up in Alaska from MV Zim Kingston cargo spill

A recreational pilot has collected 23 coolers from beaches on the central Gulf of Alaska believed to be cargo spilled from the MV Zim...