Kartarpur Bir

ca. 1604
Sodhi Family, Punjab

The original Guru Granth Sahib prepared by Guru Arjan (1563-1606) and his scribe Bhai Gurdas. The Kartarpur Bir was eventually kept by the Sixth Guru Hargobind (1595-1644) in his house. From here it was stolen by his grandson Dhir Mal who intended to use it to further his claims on the succession of the Guruship. Some thirty years later the followers of the Ninth Master, Guru Tegh Bahadur forcibly recovered it, but were instructed by the Guru to return it. Its ownership eventually passed to Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) who housed it in his personal Gurdwara in the Lahore fort. With the collapse of the Sikh empire and its annexation the volume came into the custody of the British who in 1850 gave in to a descendent of Dhir Mal, Sodhi Sadhu Singh of Kartarpur upon his petition. It has remained with the descendent's of that family ever since.

Scholarly access has been severely restricted and no photographic record of this important Granth has ever been permitted. This is one of the only known photograph of this priceless piece of Sikh heritage. Photographed by Dr. Pashaura Singh.