Sotheby’s bows to Sikh protestors
The armour allegedly belonged to Guru Gobind Singh - the tenth and last religious leader of the Sikhs (notwithstanding that they now believe the Guru Granth Sahib [their scriptures] to be a living guru, and treat it accordingly).
The Sotheby's catalogue lists the item as an 18th century ‘rare Sikh steel armour plate’ from what is now the north-west India and Pakistan region, with an estimated value of £10-12,000 ($20-24,000).
But there is not a shred of evidence to support the claims that the armour once belonged to Guru Gobind Singh. Sotheby’s state that they have ‘researched the provenance of this piece (and) in the course of this research, Sotheby's has not found or been given any evidence to indicate ownership of this piece by Guru Gobind Singh. We therefore do not deem the piece to be a relic of the Guru.’
But that is no matter. It is what these Sikh protesters believe that is the important thing. Why should inconvenient facts get in the way of subjective sentimentalism and religious fervour?
One wonders what notice Sotheby's might take of Christians anywhere abroad who might object to the auctioning of the odd relic (and there are one or two lying around). Or is their policy formulation contingent on the possession of a kirpan?