The Lost British accounts of Sikh texts

He will be going through rare documents, manuscripts and historical images showing how the earliest English translations...

Gurinder Singh Mann, Content Editor - the Sikh Nugget will be giving a lecture in Leicester on 27th November at Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Leicester between 2pm and 4pm. on the subject of "The Lost British accounts of Sikh Texts".

He will be going through rare documents, manuscripts and historical images showing how the earliest English translations of Sikh/Punjabi texts came about.

Dr Leyden flyer (49K)Leyden poster (43K)

The presentation revolves around one Dr John Leyden from Scotland who went to India and translated Punjabi/Sikh texts into English.

For those in other parts of the world a website and a booklet will released regarding the subject.

All are Welcome to atend and are requested to pass on the information to others interested.

Punjabi in the UK
There are around 2.3 million speakers of Punjabi in the UK. For the second, third and fourth generations, Punjabi is the second language to English. This makes some classical Punjabi texts difficult to understand for many. The Punjabi literature initiative by the (PCA) Panjab Cultural Association, is to create transliterated documents, both in the original Gurmukhi and Shahmukhi scripts, with translations and commentary. Using the latest publishing styles, fonts and illustrations to make the documents appealing. The first translation will focus on the classic legend of Heer and Ranjha, Sassi and Punno, and Sohni and Mahiwal, that are the Punjabi equivalents of Romeo and Juliet.

Dr Leyden translation project
A related project is the publication of the work of an 18th century linguist Dr Leyden whose life work is the preserve of the British library. His valuable contribution to Anglo-Punjabi heritage has never been considered let alone published. We will be developing a website showcasing the original texts by Dr Leyden, together with commentary. The Royal Asiatic Library, the Wellcome Trust, and the British Library have valuable material related to both projects, that will be published on two websites. In 2011, the project will culminate in the lecture on the two works (location to be confirmed) together with a booklet.

The Sketch of the Sikhs and Lt John Malcolm
Writing in 1805 , Lt. John Malcolm wrote an important tract called ‘Sketch of the Sikhs’ he was provided the translations of the Punjabi works by Dr Leyden. John Malcolm’s book became an important book for Indian Histiography in the 19th century and continues to be republished. Yet the foundations of his book i.e the translations of Dr Leyden have remained neglected.

PunjabiTranslation (98K)

For an interesting perspective on Lt John Malcolm and his Sketch of the Sikhs: Read this article.



Gurinder Singh Mann
Content Editor
email: [email protected]


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