Many gurdwaras and little clues Tuesday, Aug 6 2013 

After the establishment of the Chinese Communist government (1949) , the China-Indian histories become all the more invisible. The Sikh gurdwaras that served the Indians in China as place of worship and community center became Chinese property.  Thus, the former gurdwaras no longer functioned as Indian religious entities.  With passage of time and clouded memories, the locations of  almost all gurdwras in Tientsin, Shanghai and Hankou persist as source of historical loss, considering that no one remembers the original purpose of these buildings. Some old timers in the area have just fuzzy  inkling due to the fact that urbanization and modernization of cities like Shanghai, Tianjin have obliterated glimpses into China-Indian past. The gurdwara on Dong BaoXing Road in Shanghai is the only officially known gurdwara that survived the strands of time and is recognized by the Chinese government as an immovable relic.

5 known gurdwaras(3 in Shanghai, 1 in Tianjin, 1 in Hankou) provided the much needed religious base to the Sikh policemen, recruited from India to man the British concessions and International settlement in China. Apart from religious services these gurdwaras served as  political discussion centers and hub for Ghadr  freedom movement in the early twentieth century.  Few photographs of the gurdwaras exist adding to the historical illiteracy of the Indian Sikh sojourn in China.

Image

100+ year old known gurdwara in Shanghai is now a residence for few Chinese families.

Tianjin gurdwara Monday, Jul 22 2013 

Image

Source: University of Texas.

The above c.1912 Tientsin map identifies the location of a Sikh temple. J J Singh of Kapurthala royal family, mentioned in his writings, of Sikh policemen stationed in Tientsin, approaching him for funds for a gurdwara. Then there is a picture of 2 Sikh soldiers/policemen, where one of them is holding a chaur used ritually for the holy book Guru Granth Sahib.  

Unfortunately, I haven’t come across any photographs of the Tientsin/Tianjin gurdwara. Yet. Again, the topic requires research and fact-finding to ascertain and explore the life of Tientsin Indian Sikhs.

Dhunjishahs evacuating Weihsien in October 1945. Wednesday, May 22 2013 

Dhunjishahs evacuating Weihsien in October 1945.

Many thanks to Angela Elliot for sharing this brilliant photo of the Tianjin Parsee family called Dhunjishahs, evacuating Weihsien in October 1945. Darab DhunjiShah was the co-owner of the Tientsin/Tianjin Talati hotel in China. Weihsien was the Japanese run internment camp during World War II to keep civilians of Allied countries living in Northern China

Naturalist in China – Arthur Sowerby Tuesday, Mar 5 2013 

Image

Arthur Sowerby was the son of a Christian missionary in China, the Reverend Arthur Sowerby, and Louisa Clayton. He was also the great grandson of James Sowerby the botanist and founder of the Geological Society. From 1881, Arthur’s parents were based at the Baptist Missionary Society mission station in Shanxi.The Sowerby family was on furlough in England at the time of the 1900 Boxer Rebellion during which many of their friends and colleagues at their Shanxi mission station were massacred. Sowerby attended Bristol University studying for a BSc in Science but dropped out and returned to China where he was appointed lecturer and curator of the Anglo-Chinese College in Tientsin.  Sowerby joined the Duke of Bedford’s 1906 Mission to collect zoological specimens in Shensi for the British Museum during which time he discovered a new species of Jerboa which was subsequently named after him Dipus sagitta sowerby. Sowerby was taken on as a naturalist for Robert Sterling Clark‘s Expedition of 1909 which sought specimens from the Yellow River into Shensi and then to Kansu province and made the first map of a little-known area of China. Clarke and Sowerby later published a book about the expedition entitled Through Shên-kan: the account of the Clark expedition in north China, 1908-9. Sowerby married Mary Ann Mesny in 1909, but she was to die just 5 years later.He made four separate expeditions into Manchuria and parts of Mongolia during the next few years, the last being in 1915 and then wrote his book Fur and Feather in North China. In. the autumn of 1915 he went over to meet his brother and sister, both missionaries in Sian, and took the opportunity to seek more specimens in the Ch’ingling range to the south of the city.”  (Source: Wikipedia).

Book link : http://www.archive.org/stream/sportsmansmiscel00sowe#page/n5/mode/2up

Smithsonian has a nice collection of Sowerby’s papers. http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/sets/72157630332817676/

Katya Knyazeva's scrapbook

Documenting the less observed history

Shanghai Art Deco

Documenting the less observed history

Sikhs in Shanghai

Documenting the less observed history

Colonizing Animals

A blog about beasts, Burma and British imperialism

:: Strange Black Box ::

:: Strange Cities ::

China Rhyming

Documenting the less observed history

Taj Mahal Foxtrot

Documenting the less observed history

COOLIE WOMAN

The Odyssey of Indenture

My Hong Kong Husband

Polish girl married to a Hongkonger, based in Hong Kong

In the Dark World's Fire: Life in Occupied Hong Kong

Documenting the less observed history

Documenting the less observed history

Soft Film 軟性電影

Documenting the less observed history

Untold lives blog

Documenting the less observed history

Amitav Ghosh

Documenting the less observed history

Shanghailander

Documenting the less observed history

Macau Antigo

Documenting the less observed history

Veritas Est Libertas

Documenting the less observed history

OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN

Documenting the less observed history