Nihang, an armed Sikh warrior. Historically the first line of defence, fighting for the right to live free from oppression. Often outnumbered in the battlefield, but never challenged. ‘Nihang’ is an exploration of that identity in the modern world.
Nihangs are scattered around Punjab, India. Their origins are traced back to the era of the ever expanding Mughal Empire. Constantly on the move, Nihangs would travel many miles on horseback and elephants while carrying the wounded, battle drums and an array of weapons. They would rest and recover in forests, jungles and when possible, stop at villages where locals provided food and supplies.
Despite dating back only 400 years, the Nihang’s lifestyle today is very different to that of their forefathers. As India’s economy continues to develop, traditions of the Nihang are slowly fading away.
Nonetheless, there are still people who choose to live the lifestyle of a Nihang, for the sole purpose of keeping its warrior traditions alive. Travelling from village to village on horseback, spreading the message of Sikhi and serving the local community where they choose to set up camps. Through them, we are able to catch a glimpse of that which once was; a tradition based upon the disciplining of oneself, serving humanity and meditating.
In early 2014, Raman Singh, a 25-year-old British born photographer, travelled to India and had the opportunity to capture a glimpse of this life dating back 400 years – the life of a Nihang, nomads of Punjab.
The project has gained scope noticeably being exhibited at City Hall, Central London, by the GLA (Greater London Authority) and the London Mayors office,; Boris Johnson during April 2015 Vaisakhi celebrations
Entire Exhibition can be Viewed at: RamanSingh.co