Candle in the Dark Exhibition

One of the largest NSYF projects to date, the ‘Candle in the Dark’ exhibition was custom designed to explore the narrative of Sikh history and ideology, viewed through the lens of the political and spiritual teachings of the Guru. It showcased the events that led up to the 1984 Sikh Genocide in a never before seen light, highlighting the way in which Sikhs have challenged social injustice and tyranny throughout most of their short existence.

The exhibition was launched from the Houses of Parliament, London in October 2012 where it received much adulation from MPs and Councillors alike. The NSYF team then took the exhibition across the UK visiting major cities such as Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham over the course of 10 weeks.

The exhibition included facts and figures about Sikh political history as well as Sikh artefacts that included an 18th Century double edged sword, newspaper clippings from French sources regarding the Sikh Empire under Ranjit Singh and an art piece to illustrate the destructive tools of genocide used against the Sikhs in 1984.

The exhibition was very well received by everyone that attended, especially by non-Sikhs. It became very apparent that most of our audience had very little knowledge about the events that led up to the horrific events of 1984.

On the 1984 Genocide, Alex Sobel, Councillor for Moortown Leeds commented “I wasn’t aware that the genocide was orchestrated by political forces. I thought, like many people still think, that it was a reaction from the streets, but clearly it was well organised and well orchestrated. That’s a sad indictment on a modern country like India that things like this have happened and continue to happen, in terms of discrimination against the Sikh community”.

Member of Pariiament for Leeds North East, Fabian Hamilton added “I remember the attack on the Golden Temple and the murder of Bhindranwale, it seared into my mind very clearly. But it’s still quite a shock to be reminded of all the events that surrounded the Genocide and the attack on the Sikh people in Punjab”. 

Steve Murray Chief Inspector for Cardiff said “The exhibition I thought was really interesting. It really improved my knowledge of the whole situation around the Genocide 1984 and the history leading up to it. It’s an issue that I knew about, I remember from my school days watching the reports but not really knowing the background. It was really informative and great education that should be taken around all communities. A lot of problems with society today is lack of understanding and knowledge, and exhibitions such as this are excellent in relation to improving community cohesion”.

Download the exhibition guide.