A mobile app exploring Sikhs’ history in Singapore has been launched here, according to media reports.
Partially funded by the National Heritage Board, the Sikh Heritage Trail app was developed by Ishvinder Singh, a 29-year-old project engineer in an aerospace company, and was launched yesterday, The Sunday Times reported.
Available both on the Android Google play store and the Apple app store, the SGD 20,000-app covers a trail of Sikh imprisoned in 1850 in Singapore, then a penal colony of British Empire.
The late Maharaj Singh is revered for his bravery and for planning a revolt with his followers against the British Raj in Punjab.
Bhai Maharaj Singh, Sikh martyr, was jailed in 1850 at the now-defunct Outram Prison. He died here in 1856.
His unmarked tomb in the forested grounds, where Singapore General Hospital is today, was relocated to the Silat Road Sikh Temple (Gurdwara) in 1966.
Among other trails, the app has the Sepoy Lines area around Outram Road and Cantonment Road where the sepoys, or Indian soldiers in the British Raj, built their barracks.
The app trail through Bukit Brown Cemetery and its surrounding cemeteries, home to 30 pairs of Sikh guard statues, is also featured in the app.
Other sites featured include the Upper Barracks and Lower Barracks on Pearl’s Hill, which were built in 1934 for the Sikh Contingent of the Straits Settlement Police to live in.
Ishvinder Singh and his team of two full-time app developers Chris Cai, 29, and Melody Ho, 24, as well as head researcher Vithya Subramaniam, 27, a South Asian studies graduate student at Columbia University, spent about three years putting together the app.
Their research involved site visits, conducting interviews with heads of Sikh temples here, and browsing materials from the National Archives of Singapore as well as overseas libraries.
“We didn’t want to only talk about prominent Sikhs… we wanted also to share about the lives of everyday Sikh families, as well as their interactions with historic sites here,” Singh told The Sunday Times.
Singh, who hopes the app will reach at least 10,000 people, said he will be updating it with more information about the Sikh community over time.
“As Sikhs, we have very strong visual identities with the turbans we wear and the facial hair we keep. I wanted to explore how we fit into modern Singapore and better understand the Sikh heritage and share the findings with a larger audience,” Singh was quoted as saying.