US Library of Congress launches collection of Sikh history

June 22nd, 2009 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 22 (IANS) The US Library of Congress has launched a Sikh Collection Initiative to bring together a wide range of literature and other research material on Sikh history at the prestigious institution.

The initiative was launched last week with a two-day international conference on Sikhism at the Library in recognition of the significant place the Sikh-Americans have occupied among the immigrant communities in the US.

With over 142 million items in more than 470 languages, the library is a central repository for all types of publications from across the world.

The initiative launched in association with the Kaur Foundation would bring together original documents and manuscripts from Sikh history as also papers, books, letters and become a permanent resource at the Library, according to Mirin Kaur, president, Kaur Foundation.

Founded in 2002, the leading Sikh American institution’s mission is to facilitate the creation of inclusive environments and empower coming generations of Sikh Americans.

The initiative is aimed at promoting the preservation of the heritage of the Sikhs, said James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, noting that the Sikh Community has become another layer in the fabric of America’s multi-ethnic identity.

A large collection of books provided by the Foundation as part of the initiative include the entire collection of Bhai Veer Singh and Bhai Randhir Singh’s writings in Gurumukhi. It has also given to the Library two MP3 files with the full recitation of Guru Granth Sahib.

The Foundation is now collecting materials about how Sikhs lived in 1800s and the how they are living today and the change.

Among the participants at the conference was Navtej Sarna, the Indian Ambassador to Israel and author of the book, “The Exile on Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of Punjab.”

The city council of the District of Columbia as the capital city of Washington DC is called, also passed a resolution to celebrate June 15-21 as the Sikh Heritage Week to promote and recognise the contributions of Sikh Americans.

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