BC man collects thousands of rare books and artifacts documenting Sikh history – BC

It’s a collection that took nearly 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 the Wanjara Nomad Collections in Surrey, British Columbia, estimates he has over 2,000 objects in his personal mini-museum from around the world, including India and India. Afghanistan.

“When someone asks me, ‘What do you have?’ I always say, ‘A few pounds,’ but when they slide that door open and come in, they say, ‘That’s not what you told us,’ Bhandall told Global News.

“They are like living objects. There is a story behind them. Every item has a story.

Read more:

‘This is where it all began’: The story of BC’s Sikh community celebrated in new book

The story continues under the ad

On his websiteWanjara Nomad Collections bills itself as having a “collection of over 1,230 rare books relating to Sikh rule, the East India Company and the British Empire”.

“Despite misguided and failed attempts to racially cleanse Sikhs from history, Wanjara Nomad Collections has compiled an array of bespoke antiquities to collect and piece together Sikh history for the purpose of preserving, learning and share,” the website says.

Bhandall said he was driven by a desire to learn more about his story. He began scouring antique shops, flea markets and garage sales, while keeping tabs on online auctions around the world as part of his ongoing treasure hunt.

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

Click to play the video:

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

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

It is a hobby and a passion that has occupied much of his free time.

The story continues under the ad

“At home and with my friends, I drive them crazy,” he says with a smile. “So they ask, ‘Can you do anything else? “”

Now much of the collection is moved online so others can learn. Wanjara Nomad Collections does not accept donations and is free for everyone.

Read more:

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

“If they want to read about it, they can, and that’s when 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 hotline.”

One day, Bhandall said he planned to find a public space and open the doors to anyone who wanted to browse his collection – a legacy to leave for this story to live on.

“I just see myself as a keeper. I’m not an intellectual or a very educated person, but I deal with these things. Preserve, learn and share,” he said.

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

Colin L. Johnson