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Virtual Book Club


Join us each week as we connect you to great authors and content creators on topics of Sikh & Punjabi arts, culture, heritage and history. Register and Join in.


George Morton-Jack on 'The Indian Empire at War'

Join us for a conversation on the First World War and India with the historian George Morton-Jack, author of 'The Indian Empire at War' - drawing on long-lost Indian veteran interviews and oral memories in India and Pakistan to explore neglected personal stories of 1914-1918
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Monday July 6, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy The Indian Empire at War here.

Kirit Singh on Sikh Musical Heritage

Kirit Singh is currently undertaking his PhD, titled Kirtan and Kala: Patrons and Musicians of Gurbani Kirtan and Hindustani Music in Punjab, 1801 to 1947 at SOAS University, London, under the supervision of Prof. Richard Widdess. This study is the first of its kind to explore in detail the tradition of gurbani kirtan in relation to Hindustani music in the Punjab region, during the unique period in which both traditions came to enjoy significant patronage from the Sikh princes and aristocracy. The study aims to document the outcome of the interactions and exchanges in such environments by drawing on written sources and oral histories. It will also focus on the major religious centres, such as Amritsar, which fostered a flourishing musical environment.
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Monday July 13, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Learn more about Kirit's work and support him here.

Dr Nadhra Khan on the Samadhi of Ranjit Singh

Nadhra Khan's primary area of research and interest is 19th Century Sikh Art and Architectural Ornament in the Punjab, but she also focuses on Mughal Art and Architecture (16th to 18th century). Her work emphasizes the significance of the Sikh period as the last episode of centuries old indigenous art and architectural tradition before annexation of the Punjab by the British in 1849 that changed, among other things, the visual culture of the Punjab forever. A research project that started with one Sikh funerary monument or samadhi built to honor Maharaja Ranjit Singh has led her to study almost all major monuments dateable to this period, including the Golden Temple Amritsar, Sikh period havelis and various other samadhis.
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Monday July 20, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy The Samadhi of Ranjit Singh here.

Prof Lou Fenech on an historical study of the Panj Pyara

Dr. Fenech's special expertise lies in the field of Punjabi and Sikh Studies. His publications include three books, the most recent of which is The Sikh Zafarnama of Guru Gobind Singh: A Discursive Blade in the Heart of the Mughal Empire (2013). He is also co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies(2014). Professor Fenech notes that fringe benefits of being a 'Sikhologist' include the opportunity to sample the many delicacies for which the Punjab is noted. A particular favorite of his is a small bitter gourd known as karela. Professor Fenech teaches the Liberal Arts Core class on India, and upper level classes on the History of Modern and Pre-Modern South Asia.
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Monday July 27, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Learn more about Prof Fenech work here.

Meera Syal in conversation with Amandeep Kaur Bhangu

We're absolutely thrilled that we are kicking off our 'South Asian Heritage Month' program with actor, comedian, writer, producer, playwright and national treasure Meera Syal. Joining her in conversation and leading a Q&A with the bookclub audience is reporter and filmmaker Amandeep Kaur Bhangu.
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Monday August 3, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Gurmeet Rai on the Built Heritage of Amritsar

Gurmeet S. Rai is a conservation architect based in New Delhi, India. She established CRCI, a conservation consultancy firm in 1996. Since its inception the firm has undertaken a wide range of projects within the domain of cultural heritage conservation and management practice in India. The works of CRCI include conservation and revitalization management plan for the Gobindgarh Fort in Amritsar and the Grand Trunk Road in Punjab, conservation plans for historic buildings in the Golden temple in Amritsar. In collaboration with international multidisciplinary teams, Gurmeet has prepared the visitor management and site management plans for the World Heritage Site of Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha in Nepal and for UNESCO the Cultural Heritage Policy for Punjab. Her vast experience in conservation and heritage management has been recognized by the World Monuments Fund in New York who appointed her as the project management consultant for scoping and coordinating conservation of 43 protected monuments in Madhya Pradesh. She is currently engaged in several conservation projects across the country.
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Monday August 10, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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William Dalrymple on 'Anarchy' in Conversation with Jassa Ahluwalia

Author and Historian William Dalrymple the writer of a dozen books on Indian history presents his latest work - a worldwide bestseller on the rapacious East India Company titled 'Anarchy'
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Monday August 31, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy Anarchy here.

more great book club talks coming soon

Prof. Kim Wagner, Amritsar 1919

Join us to hear Prof Wagner speak about his meticulously researched history of the 1919 massacre at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.
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Monday April 20, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

Watch a recording of the event here.
Buy Prof. Wagner's book Amritsar 1919 here.

Philip Deslippe: The History of Yogi Bhajan, His Kundalini Yoga, and the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization

An unusual and controversial figure, Yogi Bhajan, claimed to teach a secret and powerful form of yoga openly for the first time and led thousands of Western spiritual seekers to convert to Sikhism. Philip will discuss the origins of Yogi Bhajan's yoga, the reorienting of his group towards Sikhism, and where recent revelations about his abuse and misconduct might lead his organization and legacy in the future.
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Monday April 27, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

Watch a recording of the event here.
Download a free copy of Philip Deslippe's article here.

Kavita Puri on Partition Voices: Untold British Stories

Join us to hear BBC journalist Kavita Puri speak about the extraordinary testimonies she has collected of British South Asians, who broke their silence 70 years after partition, to reveal heart-breaking stories of loss, belonging and compassion.
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Monday May 04, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy Partition Voices by Kavita Puri here.

Jvala Singh, Sourced Sikh History

Jvala Singh,a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia, is studying Sikh history particularly looking at pre-colonial texts, specifically the Suraj Prakash (1843) which he provides chapter summaries on his podcast, the Suraj Podcast.
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Monday May 11, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Listen to Jvala Singh's Suraj Podcast here. (Also available on Soundcloud and Spotify)

Sathnam Sanghera in Conversation and Q&A

Award-winning journalist, author and presenter Sathnam Sanghera speaks with reporter-filmmaker Amandeep Kaur Bhangu about his writing, journalism and TV work. Join us for this interview followed by audience Q&A.
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Monday May 18, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Visit Sathnam's author page on Amazon here.

Davinder Toor on 'In Pursuit of Empire'

Having carefully curated the world's most important private collection of Sikh art, arms and armour Davinder Toor joins us to talk about his book 'In Pursuit of Empire' which takes the reader on a journey through his collection and the story of the Sikhs
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Monday May 25, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy 'In Pursuit of Empire' by Davinder Toor here.

Vee Walker in conversation with Jassa Ahluwalia on Major Tom's War

Vee Walker, award-winning author and heritage consultant, was inspired to write her prizewinning epic novel of WWI, Major Tom's War, by the unlikely yet true love story of her own grandparents. It is based on the war diary of her grandfather Tom Westmacott, an Indian Army cavalry officer greatly respected by his men. Closing the book on Tom, his reluctant bride Evie and his heroic Sikh protectors Harnam Singh and Amar Singh, among so many other memorable characters, has been described by historian John Keay as 'like leaving the company of old friends.' Join Vee in conversation and Q&A with actor and filmmaker, Jassa Ahluwalia.
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Monday June 1, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy Major Tom's War by Vee Walker here.

Amardeep Singh on Lost Heritage: Nanakpanthis of Indus

Amardeep Singh has dedicated himself to research on Sikh Legacy remnants. He has authored two path-breaking books, entitled, 'Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan' and 'The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan'. He has also made two documentaries detailing the remnants of the Sikh spiritual and martial legacy in Pakistan. Currently filming a multi-episode documentary 'Allegory - A Tapestry of Guru Nanak's Travels'. He will be talking about the 'Nanakpanthis of Indus.'
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Monday June 8, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Learn more about Amardeep's work and buy his books here.

Aanchal Malhotra in Conversation with Kavita Puri on 'Remnants of Partition'

BBC Journalist Kavita Puri talks to Aanchal Malhotra about her remarkable book Remnants of Partition which tells the family stories hidden within items carried between the new India and Pakistan, amid chaos and violence. Memories which uncover a rich tapestry of pain and rupture, but also of hope and connection
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Monday June 15, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy 'Remnants of Partition' here.

Anita Anand on The Patient Assassin

Anita Anand, biographer of Sophia Duleep Singh, joins the UKPHA bookclub to present the remarkable story of The Patient Assassin - Udham Singh.'
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Monday June 22, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy The Patient Assassin here.

Jvala Singh on 54 Punjabi Proverbs

Join Jvala Singh, a PhD candidate and linguist from Canada whose recent book '54 Punjabi Proverbs' is a playful rendering into English of some classic (and some little known) Punjabi proverbs. Each proverb is a wonderful way to better understand Punjabi culture and the playful manner of the Punjabi language.
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Monday June 29, 2020. 5.00pm (UK) on zoom

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Buy 54 Punjabi Proverbs here.