AMONG THE five ‘takhats’ regarded as places of importance to Sikhs is Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib — a shrine at Nanded where the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, had set up his camp in 1708, after the departure of emperor Bahadur Shah. City-based photographer and maker of short films Sanjay Dongre had visited the shrine three decades ago, when he had shifted to Nanded to study engineering at a local college.
About four months ago, Dongre revisited the place with a group of friends and decided to conduct a three-month-long research on Sachkhand Sahib, which translated into a short film — Sachkhand – Saga of a Saint Soldier Strategist. The movie was released last week.
“When I visited the shrine with my friends, we managed to get rooms in the Hazur Sahib Complex, which gave us the advantage of being close to everything, right from the Takhat Sahib to the Langar Sahib. I had gone with a mission to capture the beautiful story on my camera and narrate it to the world. I wanted to clear some misconceptions about the faith, and highlight the right things. Shamsheer is an important facet of Sikhism, but so is seva and samta,” said Dongre.
Sachkhand depicts the story of a young boy (Guru Gobind Singh), who was made the head at the age of nine, after his father was brutally eliminated. The story follows his journey towards strategic changes that will transform the faith. The most important change was his Last Order, which institutionalised the faith. “The Last Order was issued at Nanded. I felt it was time to narrate this aspect to the world,” he added.
“During my college days in Nanded, I had made a few Sikh friends and had learnt a lot about Gurdwaras and their culture,” said Dongre.
Since then, he’s been to many gurdwaras, including Golden Temple, Pathar Sahib, Tees Ganj and Hollywood Gurdwara.
Thanking the members of Sachkhand Sahib for their help, in terms of arranging interviews with the spiritual leaders and explaining the subtle aspects, he said, “Although hectic, the few days we spent running all over the place were highly educative. We met different people, interviewed them, got an insight into the workings of the faith, and what makes it so unique and strong.”
Dongre’s past works include an exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery, which narrated the story of Vijaynagar and showcased some intriguing visuals from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi. He has also made a short film on Yeshwant Holkar, also known as the Napoleon of India.
He had also made a short film, capturing the tale of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj from the perspective of his forts.
“The objective is to spread an enhanced awareness of our rich and diverse heritage, as there is so much to learn…,” he added.