Home Secretary Theresa May unveils Derby statues to war heroes. One of the statues was a statue of a Sikh Soldier who served in the world wars and the second was of Baba Banda Singh Bahadar. It is not widely known that almost a million Indians fought on the side of Britain during the First […]
Home Secretary Theresa May unveils Derby statues to war heroes. One of the statues was a statue of a Sikh Soldier who served in the world wars and the second was of Baba Banda Singh Bahadar.
It is not widely known that almost a million Indians fought on the side of Britain during the First World War. Among them, 20% were Sikhs, despite making up only 2% of the Indian population – meaning their contribution was ten times more than any other community in India.
It is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War when the Sikh community in Derby decided to pay its own tribute. More than 138,000 Indian troops, many of them Sikhs, found themselves in the trenches of Belgium and France during the war, with more than a quarter of them becoming casualties.
Home Secretary Theresa May was specially invited to the National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum in Princes Street, Derby, today, to unveil two large statues of Sikh soldiers and two plaques – one in English and the other in Punjabi
The museum – the only one of its kind in the world – was opened in 2009 and is run entirely by volunteers. This time it was intended to commemorate the Sikh soldiers who fought in the First World War. The exhibition includes images of Sikh soldiers, military memorabilia and a soldier’s uniform.
Gurmel Singh, The secretary general of the Sikh Council UK, said he was delighted that Mrs May had come to Derby for the unveiling. He remarked”This museum is very important because it contains a great deal of Sikh heritage. It has put Derby on the map as visitors come to visit from across the world. It has also helped to regenerate this area of Derby.
Feeling honoured to perform the ceremony, Mrs May adds with enlightenment “The statutes are “thought-provoking” and it is right that we remember and pay tribute to the brave soldiers.
“They found themselves on cold European battlefields but answered our call in our hour of need.
“They showed great valour and sacrifice to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.”
Sikhs were allowed to use traditional Sikh weapons such as chakrams and talwar swords, and it was not uncommon to see the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, being carried before a marching Sikh battalion or even on the front lines among the battling troops.
Mrs May recognises and salutes the huge contribution of the Sikhs on the battlefield.
Like & Share to salute the Valor of The Sikh Warriors!
~ Source: Derby Telegraph