Indian Heritage Centre shows off artefacts collected from Indian community

(From left) Indian Heritage Centre director Gauri Krishnan with contributors Salma Moiz and Subhas Gopal and the artifacts they are lending the Indian Heritage Centre. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
(From left) Indian Heritage Centre director Gauri Krishnan with contributors Salma Moiz and Subhas Gopal and the artifacts they are lending the Indian Heritage Centre. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Mr Subhas Gopal has vivid memories of his father's stories about life as a firefighter.

This is why he loaned his late father's hat, epaulettes, and metal buttons to the new Indian Heritage Centre.

"It's a little contribution that I am making to let (visitors) know about the contribution my community has made," said the 38-year-old, who is an infantry officer with the Singapore Armed Forces.

His father, Mr Gopalakrishnan, joined the Singapore Fire Brigade in 1963, before National Service was made compulsory.

The new centre is located in Little India, and has collected around 430 artefacts through donations and loans.

Although it will only officially open in May, members of the media got a sneak preview of what to expect on Monday night.

Items going on display include jewellery, religious items, and everyday objects - such as a framed portrait of Mrs Salma Moiz's in-laws.

Mrs Salma, 74, is a Dawoodi Bohra - the name of a Shi'ite Muslim trading community which settled in Singapore in the 1930s.

She also loaned the museum other items typically used by her community, including a gold-threaded cap for special occasions and a jade inkstand.

"We are a very unique community, and we have our own traditions," said Mrs Salma, who works as a tour guide.

She added that much of the Dawoodi Bohras' history here is entwined with that of World War II.

"Then, we all took a nosedive and had to start up again."