SIKKAWALA – The Historian, Intellectual and Numismatist
The collector went on a journey today,
Absorbing and extruding all the facts thrown around him,
Baffled by enigma and spiralling decay,
This was a plot building up to unsure moments for him
The collector he has become to bear,
A tale or two, from weary travellers,
They seek to drop their baggage of history.
He collects them all, in a book he holds dear.
( in this case an Instagram account)
—-his handle says Sikkawala though and not the legend collector,
Or rather spotting history in monuments long forgotten, detailed by folklore and his talks to people around.
His lines run long and deep,
A landscape shaped by the constant tales,
He has let them seep into deep,
From near and far, setting wind to their sails.
He has sieved the ruins of discarded.
things and tales forgotten and presents to you a renewed history
Why am I suddenly waxing poetic??
Well, Shah Umair’s detailed description of yesteryears of era forgotten does have that effect. And to think it all started as a coin collection hobby which led him to historical research and metallurgical processes. In fact, Umair is passionate about the hobby and the resultant edge it has given him in his chosen profession as reshaped fashion brands through his company “noon social”.
The little known neglected monuments give a surreal effect to his branded shoots and a unique perspective. Umair is currently working with several national and international fashion houses and yet this Kolkatta boy at heart is a coin collection still.
Dubai, New York, London be damned he would rather roam the streets of Delhi and Gurugram hunting stories in the forgotten ruins or reshaped gardens. If covid was a turning point in your life then you need to meet Sikkawala who lost his job in covid and started investing more time in his childhood hobby of collecting and studying coins and he eve interacting with the online world and ended up with his passion and study taking five modules on eras as depicted by history and metallurgy of coins.
Who knew that his childhood enigma with British and Dutch residency coins would sustain him not only through the pandemic but open doors for a brand new career in social media and working with brands looking for a fresh earthy rebranding and restructuring
Shah Umair not only launched noon his company with a friend and backed by a team but with his rare eye for history is now the promoting catalyst for certainly lost tourist opportunities as well.
For example, the Shekhawati haveli with its fresco museum which after the distinct shoot by his company suddenly rose to heritage tourism level as the beauty was freshly re-examined. In fact, detailing his jaunts in Kakori Lucknow he also fondly recalls connecting a weaver of a lost art to a brand looking for fresh ideas and hence promoting both. And hence Sikkawala became a collector of legends though coin history and folklore will always be his first love.
Because coins don’t necessarily speak of an era and can be just a political tool as well. Citing the example of the Delhi invasion of Nadir Shah who to commemorate the event released coins minted in Shahjahanabad (the then Delhi) and is a statement on the available metals and science and industry of the time rather than the historical feature.
Similarly, Muhammad Ghori to celebrate his win released coins with Goddess Laxmi on them as a political tool to win over the masses and cover the language barrier. He got stamped the figure of Goddess Lakshmi on his coins and had his name inscribed in Nagari Characters. Speaking of further plans a book a podcast a venture into heritage tourism — all ideas but for sure only and only his plans to explore Haryana next( after Delhi and surroundings).
And discover Gardens or tabelas or government schools being run at neglected ruins. It’s not a wonder then that despite the basic tools of phone photography he has been honoured by several publications for his foray into the deep essence of history then and now as it stands amongst the masses.
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