Empire ,Faith and War Exhibition – the Sikhs and world war 1
A landmark Exhibition presented by the U.K .Punjab Heritage Association ( UKPHA) to commemorate the remarkable but largely forgotten contribution and experience of Sikh Soldiers as well as the families left behind will be held at the School of Oriental studies in the University of London.
The British people and some Europeans will recall that the Sikhs were he backbone of the British army in the first and second world wars.
Sir Winston Churchill was very well conversant with the bravery of the Sikhs, who had fought for Britain in the World Wars. Churchill while speaking in the British Parliament said:
".....It is a matter of regret that due to the obsession of the present times people are distorting the superior religious and social values, but those who wish to preserve them with respect, we should appreciate them as well as help them. Sikhs do need our help for such a cause and we should give it happily. Those who know the Sikh history, know England's relationship with the Sikhs and are aware of the achievements of the Sikhs, they should persistently support the idea of relaxation to Sikhs to ride a motorbike with their turbans on, because it is their religious privilege."
Churchill, further added:
"...British people are highly indebted and obliged to Sikhs for a long time. I know that within this century we needed their help twice and they did help us very well. As a result of their timely help, we are today able to live with honour, dignity, and independence. In the war, they fought and died for us, wearing the turbans. At that time we were not adamant that they should wear safety helmets because we knew that they are not going to wear them anyways and we would be deprived of their help. At that time due to our miserable and poor situation, we did not force it on them to wear safety helmets, why should we force it now? Rather, we should now respect their traditions and by granting this legitimate concession, win their applaud."
Prince Charles s had this to say about the bravery of the Sikhs:
The Prince praised the charitable work of the Sikh community in the UK and the "courage and heroism" of Sikh soldiers during the Second World War.
He said: "The Sikh community raises money and does so many good works all over this country. The UK owes an immense debt of gratitude to the courage and sacrifice of the Sikh soldiers.
Around 1.5 million Sikhs fought in the old Sikh regiment of the British Army in the Second World War and some 90,000 lost their lives.
The Exhibition will be held at the Brunel Gallery in SOAS on 9th July y 2014 at 10.30am until 28th September 2014.
Nearest tube : Russell Square, Goodge Street or Euston