Through twenty-five years of intense study and demanding physical training, Nidar Singh has managed to preserve this closely guarded art that has teetered on the brink of extinction for the last 150 years.
He is the sole-surviving master and ninth teacher of a classical school of learning established in 1661, called the Baba Darbara Singh Shastar Vidya Akhara, which is the last remnant of this ancient tradition.
Born and brought up in the UK, Nidar Singh was a teenager who knew virtually nothing about the religion he was born into when, in 1984 , left his home in the backstreets of Wolverhampton to live with relatives in a sleepy Punjabi village. It was there that his mundane life was changed forever following a chance meeting with an enigmatic septuagenarian Akali-Nihang warrior.
“I was fascinated by the old man’s claim that he was the last in a lineage of Sikh warriors who had secretly guarded the Guru’s art of war. I was immediately drawn on a journey of discovery into a world that has now all but vanished.”
Nidar Singh lives and breathes the technical aspects of the physical art, but reflecting the Indian tradition of all-encompassing learning, he is constantly striving to discover more of the art’s history, traditions, and martial philosophy, as passed on by a lineage of masters stretching back to the dawn of Indian civilisation.
Nidar Singh Nihang gives a fascinating account of how Shastra Vidya flourished across India till the arrival of the British, who not only banned possession of weapons but subdued and suppressed all native martial traditions and systematically laid them to waste. Improvising ways to hoodwink the British to keep their weapons, the brave Nihangs strove against all odds to preserve their closely guarded art which was teetering on the brink of extinction.
In the video, Nidar Singh demonstrates the technical and metaphysical aspects of Shastra Vidya encompassing martial yoga, body mechanics and other sophisticated, highly swift and efficient techniques and makes a case for the revival of this forgotten science.
His journey to reconnect people with their martial traditions continues and he has dedicated his life to preserving and sharing this precious heritage for the benefit of current and future generations.