The Guru Nanak Mission Society in Atlanta, Georgia is hosting a “heritage” exhibition from April 1 through 20, putting on display artifacts that are attributed to the Sikh Gurus and other relics from Sikh history. This would be an intriguing exhibition to partake, however, there is a little irony to be found therein.
Of note, the exhibits are “provided by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) New Delhi Consul General of India.” It is noted that one of the exhibits includes “Rare photographs of the collection of artifacts in the Toshakhana [treasury] of the Golden Temple.”
It was the Government of India who, in its violent military raid of Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, Punjab, in June 1984 (known as Operation Blue Star), cost the lives of thousands of innocent pilgrims, and caused the destruction, loss and theft of many valuable and historic Sikh artifacts that have since never been recovered.
What is also interesting is this sponsorship by the ICCR follows a trend of engagement by representatives of the Government of India at Sikh events in the United States. This phenomenon seems particularly unique to the United States, as it is rare that such engagement by Government of India officials occurs to the same degree with the larger Sikh communities in Canada or in the United Kingdom.