An adviser to Syston Leicestershire, UK, Bobby Singh Bansal, launched a book – The Punjab Chiefs: The Lost Glory of The Punjab Aristocracy – at the Chandigarh Golf Club on Wednesday evening, attended by the offspring of the Lahore Darbar gentry of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Bansal’s book delves into the lives of courtiers who served during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the 19th century.
The book is also the most up-to-date document on the history of the modern Sikh Empire with around 350 rare and previously unseen images incorporated into it. The last updated book on modern Sikh history dates back to 1939 by Sir Leppel Griffin.
Speaking at the book launch event, Bobby Bansal said it took him five years to simply research the factual accuracy of the information in his book. He said he had to travel back and forth between London and the Indian subcontinent extensively interviewing dozens of families.
His book mentions 70 noble families and others left out are to be mentioned in the second volume of the book which will be launched in near future as it was not possible to include all noble families as the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh was very broad. spread to modern Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Bansal studied business management and belongs to a business education. However, his passion for learning more about Sikh history, culture and heritage shines through in the book and connects him to the Sikh diaspora, globally. Bansal on Wednesday also recalled how a chance to visit Lahore in 1989 at the age of 19 sparked in him a desire to learn more about Sikh heritage.
In London, he founded the Sarkar Khalsa (SK) in 2003, an organization which he currently directs, which works for the preservation of Sikh heritage in the subcontinent, particularly in Pakistan. Bansal traces his ancestral roots to Rawalpindi, but after partition his ancestors moved to Phagwara in Punjab and from there his parents migrated to the UK in the 1960s. He was born and raised in the UK.
The Punjab Chiefs: The Lost Glory of The Punjab Aristocracy is Bansal’s third publication, following The Lions Firanghis (2010) and Remnants of The Sikh Empire (2015). This book is published by Himalayan Books New Delhi in association with SK UK Foundation & International Sikh Confederation.