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I've always had a deep problems with folks accepting things like obe's, mbe's , awards from Lizzie etc.  Apart from the fact that you kneel before royals to accept them (I thought us Sikhs only bowed

The British and Sikhs have a long history together. British historians studying Sikhi and writing it in their books. The 2 Anglo-Sikh wars and annexation of Punjab. And the prince Dalip Sing

Kinda off topic but seen this gem on twitter. The Sikh Raj held weight.   

Posted Images

On 10/17/2021 at 8:50 AM, Premi5 said:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/amritsar/uk-cites-law-breach-declines-to-raise-sikh/punjabi-regiment/articleshow/87014180.cms

AMRITSAR: The United Kingdom has once again declined to raise a Sikh or Punjabi regiment in the country’s armed forces. In a recent communique to British MP Lisa Cameron, UK’s minister for the armed forces James Heappey said, “The setting up of a Sikh or Punjabi regiment or indeed any other religious or ethnic group, would not be supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and would breach anti-discrimination laws.”
UK-based Punjabi Language Awareness Board along with likeminded bodies and individuals have been perpetually taking up the issue with UK leadership, seeking to raise the Sikh or Punjabi regiment in the UK’s armed forces to honour the role of Sikhs in WWI and WWII wherein Punjabi soldiers had fought bravely alongside the British troops.
Board president Harmeet Singh said they had recently written to Cameron, who is MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow to raise the demand of raising a Sikh or Punjabi regiment. Harmeet informed that there was a Brigade of Gurkha’s in the UK’s armed forces about which Heappey said, “The only exception is the service in the Brigade of Gurkhas, where this is permitted under the Race Relations Act (now subsumed by the Equalities Act) because a defence minister accepted the need to make special arrangements under Section 41(2)(d) of the Race Relations Act 1976 in deference to the Government of Nepal”. In 2007, the demand for a Sikh regiment was not accepted after the Commission for Racial Equality argued that it would be divisive and amount to “segregation”.

We should also remember that Sikh regiments in the raj were heavily under surveillance lest they got their own ideas (which many soldiers did and ended up on the west coast). Their letters were censored and brits had informants planted throughout.  Sikhs are very unlikely to join the brit army in droves now. Many people (sadly not all) are getting clued up about the realities of the raj for Sikhs, and aren't so keen to be canon fodder or tokenistic figures. 

What the above is basically saying is that: "We don't trust you enough to give you your own regiment."  

They've got good reason too, with a rise in nostalgia for Sikh sovereignty and the brits own vested interests in modern 'India'.  

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The Sikhs that join the services is going to be a tiny minority. 

The modern forces probably focuses more on logistics, engineers etc more than being front-line. 

I have works quite a few ex-military in the telecomms industry. They tend pick up a lot of signalling/engineering skills that come in handy in their post-military career.

I think the Anglo-Sikh angle gets over-played too much.

Sikhs that do join up are looking at more pragmatic reasons than some romantic notions 

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On 10/27/2021 at 10:47 AM, imhosingh said:

I've always had a deep problems with folks accepting things like obe's, mbe's , awards from Lizzie etc.  Apart from the fact that you kneel before royals to accept them (I thought us Sikhs only bowed to Maharaj ).. you also kneel before what those people represent and kind of take an oath to them.

Many of these folks who drone on about racism , empire etc...can't run fast enough to pick up their 'awards' from that very establishment (empire). Very hypocritical. 

Suppose Arungzeb's ancestors were around, would you you be cool with accepting a Member of the Mughal Empire ? If you look at what the British did to the Sikh Raj and to our systems and beliefs it's not far off Arungzeb's , in fact Id say the British did a better job at weakening Sikhi.

As for this 'celebration' of Sikhs fighting for the British in world wars etc... The reason was that the British paid well. Go to India not a single statue or commemoration of 'indians' who fought for the British. But you have loads of statues for Bose and his Indians (including plenty of Sikhs) who fought against the British interests in ww2. 

These awards by the establishment basically are awards for compliance and a nudge nudge wink wink that you'll toe the establishment line going forward.

I personally have an infinite amount of respect for folks like Benjamin Zephaniah who stick to their principles, rather than selling their souls to the lot who killed and persecuted our ancestors 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/nov/27/poetry.monarchy 

 

 

 

Very true and the acceptance of these MBEs and OBEs by so-called anti-racism campaigners shows what hypocrites they really are. The Queen is the representative of the racist establishment and even more importantly for Sikhs, her family are the ones that destroyed our sovereignty in 1849. All the massacres and genocides that we have faced since then have been because we do not have our own country and her family were the ones that took it away. 

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https://www.gov.uk/government/news/polar-preet-embarks-on-700-mile-trek-to-the-south-pole

 

‘Polar Preet’ embarks on 700-mile trek to the South Pole

Captain Harpreet Chandi, an Army physiotherapist with 3 Medical Regiment is aiming to complete the 700-mile trek for a solo expedition to the South Pole this year.

From:
Ministry of Defence
Published
22 October 2021
 
Army Captain Harpreet Chandi stands at a podium talking to guests

Polar Preet speaking about her training preparations at the launch event

Self-titled ‘Polar Preet’, Captain Chandi is in the final phase of her rigorous training ahead of the 45-day challenge, where she will endure temperatures of up to -50 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of up to 60mph.

The British-born Indian Sikh’s preparation has been underway for two years and included various extensive training exercises such as dragging tyres to simulate pulling a 90kg sled. Earlier this year, Preet headed to Greenland for a 27-day ‘warm up’ expedition encountering gruelling weather conditions. She will head to Antarctica in November and, if she completes the unsupported trek, will pull and carry all her equipment without resupply.

Defence Minister Leo Docherty said:

People are Defence’s best asset and Preet’s determination and drive to complete this momentous challenge is a true testament to that. The physical and mental resilience shown during her preparations is something we can all learn from. Preet shows that people from all backgrounds can achieve incredible things through a career in the Armed Forces.

We all wish Preet the very best of luck and will be eagerly following her progress.

At a launch event held at The Shard on 21 October, Preet spoke to guests about the physical and mental training she endured ahead of the trek. Equipment she will be carrying with her such as a pulk (a Nordic small sled), cooker, freeze-dried food and specialist clothing were also on display highlighting the extensive preparation she has undergone and the enormity of the challenge ahead.

Brigadier Lizzie Faithfull-Davies CBE, Commander 102 Logistics Brigade said:

It is genuinely inspiring to watch Captain Harpreet Chandi’s polar ambition turn into reality and every aspect of her preparation demonstrates the values and standards that are so important to the British Army.

We are delighted to have such a talented and determined officer in 102 Logistic Brigade who can set such a great example to all our people about how to turn a dream into reality. We will all be avidly watching and supporting her endeavours from afar and, from the whole brigade, we wish Polar Preet the very best for her expedition.

Preet joined the Army in 2008 and has served for 13 years, including supporting the Covid-19 vaccination efforts in recent months. She had never camped or hiked prior to joining, it was participation in Adventurous Training which sparked her passion and drive to complete this incredible feat. Preet has already set her sights higher and plans to also complete a solo and unsupported full crossing of the continent from coast to coast.

Captain Harpreet Chandi said:

There is so much to prepare for an expedition like this and I’m really proud to be representing the Army. As I started to train for it, I learned more about it and it just shows the more you do, the more you realise you’re capable of.

So, wherever you’re from, whatever experience you’ve got, if you want to go out and do something different, take that first step and go for it.

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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/10/records-of-320000-punjab-soldiers-from-first-world-war-uncovered

 

Records of 320,000 Punjab soldiers from first world war uncovered

Military files of Indian troops left unread in Pakistan museum for 97 years go online

 

A woman to the left of the black and white image reaches for the chest of a soldier among a group of troops in uniform, each carrying a sword and wearing turbansA woman pins a flower on the uniform of Ganga Dat Singh, a Hindu risaldar-major, during the 1916 Bastille Day parade in Paris. Photograph: Toor Collection

 
Wed 10 Nov 2021 06.00 GMT

The records of 320,000 troops from the Punjab who fought in the first world war, left unread in a basement for 97 years, have been disclosed by UK-based historians to offer new insight into the contribution of Indian soldiers to the allied war effort.

Files found in the depths of the Lahore Museum in Pakistan have been digitised and uploaded on to a website in time for Armistice Day on Thursday.

Whereas historians and the descendants of British and Irish soldiers could search public databases of service records, until now no such facility existed for the families of Indian soldiers.

Some UK citizens of Punjabi origin have already been invited to search for their ancestors in the database. They have discovered that their family’s villages provided soldiers who served in France, the Middle East, Gallipoli, Aden and east Africa, as well as in other parts of British India during the first world war. Punjab was split between India and Pakistan in 1947.

The shadow minister Tanmanjeet Dhesi uncovered proof among the files that his great-grandfather had served in Iraq and had been wounded in action, losing a leg.

It is hoped that the records will help to dispel myths surrounding the contributions of soldiers from the Commonwealth. Last year, the actor turned activist Laurence Fox apologised after he had earlier criticised the historical accuracy of a Sikh character’s inclusion on the western front in the film 1917.

Amandeep Madra, the chair of the UK Punjab Heritage Association who worked with the University of Greenwich to digitise the files, said: “Punjab was the main recruiting ground for the Indian army during world war one. And yet the contribution of the individuals has largely been unrecognised. In most cases we didn’t even know their names.”

Punjabis of all faiths – including Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs – made up about a third of the Indian army, and about one sixth of all the empire’s overseas forces.

Victorian racial ideology mythologised the qualities of soldiers from the region. In 1879, the Eden Commission report noted that “the Punjab is the home of the most martial races of India and is the nursery of our best soldiers”.

The registers were compiled by the Punjab government in 1919 when the war ended. Comprising 26,000 pages, some are handwritten while others are typed. But all provide village-by-village data on the war service of recruits, as well as information on their family background, rank and regiment.

Madra, who has co-authored five books about Indian history, said he first approached the Lahore Museum about the files in 2014, having been told about them by Indian military historians who knew of their existence but had never gained access.

He was sent sample pages by a curator, and found that they were organised by village. “The history of each Punjabi person’s family goes back to their village. I could see that this would allow people to peer into their past,” he said.

The documents showed that the volunteer rates in many villages were as high as 40%.

 
The image shows rows of beds containing wounded Indian soldiers. Two soldiers in turbans are standing halfway along the rows towards the centre of the image and a British soldier is seated behind a desk before the fireplace.Wounded Indian soldiers being treated at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton during the first world war. Photograph: AH Fry/Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Dhesi, the shadow railways minister, said his late grandmother had often told him stories about her father, Mihan Singh, who had lost a leg, but he knew little else about his service in the army and there were no known public records to examine.

The records from Lahore Museum show Mihan was one of 16,000 soldiers recruited to the Indian army from the Hoshiarpur district in north-east Punjab. A sepoy who served in Mesopotamia, a region now divided between Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Kuwait, he was wounded in battle.

“I always wondered what had happened, but no one really knew until now. He came home severely injured and went back to being a farmer,” Dhesi said.

“These records give people written proof that our ancestors were there, fighting for Britain. This is about recognising both the contribution my family made, but also the contribution and sacrifice that people from across the Commonwealth made for the war effort,” he said.

The pilot project has been uploaded for Armistice Day and before Remembrance Sunday. About 45,000 records from three districts – Jalandhar and Ludhiana, both now in India, and Sialkot in present-day Pakistan – have so far been uploaded to the website.

It is hoped that the successful completion of the pilot project will lead to the release of the registers for a further 25 districts comprising an estimated 275,000 soldiers’ records.

Dr Gavin Rand, of the University of Greenwich, said: “The personal and family histories of Punjab’s first world war volunteers are largely unknown, even to many descendants. Few Indian veterans left written records of their service, and many Punjabi family histories are dominated by the upheavals and migrations which followed Punjab’s partition in 1947.”

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https://globalnews.ca/news/8365206/bc-museum-exhibit-shared-sacrifice-punjabi-canadian-troops/

 

B.C. museum exhibit shines light on shared sacrifice of Punjabi, Canadian troops

 
By Simon Little & Neetu Garcha  Global News
Posted November 10, 2021 8:33 pm
 Updated November 10, 2021 10:56 pm
 

The curator of an exhibit at the Museum of Surrey is hoping to shine a light on the shared historical contribution and sacrifice of Punjabi and Canadian troops.

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Steven Purewall is the curator of the Duty, Honour & Izzat exhibit and author of a book of the same name looking at that that history and its absence from Canada’s national story.

“There were thousands of people in Flanders’ fields during an iconic moment of Canadian history that have been left out traditionally in classrooms and museums,” he told Global News.

Purewal points to the second battle of Ypres in 1915, one of the Canadian military’s first defining moments, as an example.

Canadian troops were lauded for holding off a German advance, despite repeated gas attacks, in a moment that’s become iconic of Canada’s First World War story.

“We’re told that Canada came together as a nation on the battlefields of Europe,” Purewal said.

“What the Punjabi soldiers did during the First World War was it really enabled that story to unfold — without the participation of Punjabi soldiers, Ypres would have been lost. The Canadian forces wouldn’t actually have been able to hold the line at Ypres because it was the Punjabis who came to reinforce them.”

 

Anyone, e.g. @dallysingh101 read the book ?

 

51DR9gSvmBL._SY435_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Duty-Honour-Izzat-Steven-Purewal/dp/1988903475

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3 hours ago, Premi5 said:

Come on man. I mean even the cover looks like old time colonial propaganda. 

Plus it confirms what many have always suspected: That Germans would have probably won the war if it wasn't for Panjabi canon fodder. 

It's a shame apnay never fought as hard for their own sovereignty. 

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2 hours ago, dallysingh101 said:

Come on man. I mean even the cover looks like old time colonial propaganda. 

Plus it confirms what many have always suspected: That Germans would have probably won the war if it wasn't for Panjabi canon fodder. 

It's a shame apnay never fought as hard for their own sovereignty. 

That cover is replete with symbolism.  

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/remembrance-sunday-feltham-doctors-7-22147807

Remembrance Sunday: Feltham doctor’s 7-year search to unearth great-grandfather’s forgotten WWI history 

The records of 320,000 Punjab soldiers from the First World War have been made available to the public for the first time

By
Neha GohilReporter
  • 08:00, 14 NOV 2021

 

Dr Tejpal Singh Ralmill (right) embarked on a 7-year long search to discover the military career of his great-grandfather, Subadar Major Bawa Singh (left)

Dr Tejpal Singh Ralmill (right) embarked on a 7-year long search to discover the military career of his great-grandfather, Subadar Major Bawa Singh (left) (Image: Dr Tejpal Singh Ralmill/ The National Archives, ref. CN4/8 / UKPHA)

A doctor from Feltham has embarked on a 7-year long search to unearth his great-grandfather’s military history before, during and after WWI.

Dr Tejpal Singh Ralmill, 42, discovered the military history of his great-grandfather, Subadar Major Bawa Singh, during a 7-year-long search which saw him examining lists at the British Library and reading war diaries at the National Archives.

Tejpal’s paternal great-grand-father, Subadar Major Bawa Singh, was a Subadar Major in the 23rd Sikh Pioneers regiment. He was born into the family of Saran Singh, a practitioner of herbal medicine, in a village called Panjaura in the Hoshiarpur district of Punjab, India.

Up until 2014, Tejpal's only knowledge of his great-grandfather was his role as a Subadar Major in the 23rd Sikh Pioneers regiment. The doctor was aware of this due to a painting of his great-grandfather that hung in his Uncle’s house in Wolverhampton.

Tejpal told My London: “I knew he was in the army but I did not know which campaigns and which theatres of war he fought in. I took it upon myself to try to find out as much as I could about my great-grandfather.”

READ MORE: Remembrance Day: 'As a Muslim student I’d like people to realise that our great-grandfathers served alongside theirs in WW2'The family painting of Subadar Major Bawa Singh

The family painting of Subadar Major Bawa Singh (Image: Dr Tejpal Singh Ralmill)

Tejpal’s journey to discovering his great-grandfather’s military history began in 2014 when he was advised by Amandeep Singh Madra OBE and Harbakhsh S Grewal, members of the UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA), to research Bawa Singh’s war service history.

Through his research, Tejpal was able to discover that Bawa Singh was just 17 when he enlisted in 1901.

he doctor uncovered his great-grandfather’s war service history from the 1924 Indian Army List (IAL) which revealed Bawa Singh had fought in the Sinai and Palestine campaigns in WWI with General Allenby, who led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force to victory in Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918.

Tejpal also learnt how Bawa Singh, along with the 23rd Sikh Pioneers, were mobilised as Indian Expeditionary Force E, in October 1914. The regiment was tasked to defend the line of sea communication through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.

During his research, the doctor also discovered via a Facebook forum that photos of his great-grandfather were in the National Archives.Three Viceroy's Commissioned Officers of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers who saw action in the First World War (c.1921-24) including Subadar Major Bawa Singh (centre)

Three Viceroy's Commissioned Officers of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers who saw action in the First World War (c.1921-24) including Subadar Major Bawa Singh (centre) (Image: The National Archives, ref. CN4/8)

He said: “It was unbelievable. Somebody had uploaded the photo [of my great-grandfather] online on a Facebook forum and I asked where they had gotten it from?

“When I went to the National Archives, I knew what I was going to find but finding the original [photo] and opening up that folder - it was breathtaking. This was the original photo.

“Ironically I live about five miles from Kew and we’ve been here all our lives and we did not know about this.

“I bought the digital copy and the rights for it... I’m still overwhelmed now even though it's been three years.”

In a bid to commemorate his great-grandfather, Tejpal has created a digital memorial at the Imperial War Museum and was selected to lay a wreath on behalf of the pre-1947 Indian Army at the annual Remembrance Day held at Hampton Court Palace in 2018.

For Tejpal, the journey to discovering his great-grandfather’s history is one that is still ongoing.

Just this week, Tejpal travelled to India to attend a three-day reunion and conference at the headquarters of his great-grandfather’s regiment. The doctor hopes to discover even more information about his great-grandfather.

During the Great War 1914-1920, British imperialists recruited up to 1.4 million Indian soldiers.

At its peak, after decades of racist imperialism and territorial expansion , the British Empire was the largest to have ever existed covering around 25% of the world’s land surface.

One sixth of all of the British Empire’s overseas forces hailed from Punjab with Punjabis of all faiths - Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs - making up around a third of the Indian Army.

Despite this, Tejpal recalls how little he knew about the contribution of soldiers from South Asia growing up.

“I was not taught about this at school,” he said, “I was not really aware of the Indian contribution at all. And even when I was, I was not made aware of the sheer seismic and epic nature of the contribution. If it was mentioned, it was a footnote.”

Tejpal added: “It frustrates me that there is so little knowledge about our contribution… That level playing field has never really been there in any aspects of this discussion.

“Whether it's commemoration, some people are remembered more than others, and when it comes to being awarded medals, some people were eligible for certain medals and others weren’t, for the same action.”

The chair of the UKPHA, Amandeep Madra, also spoke about the ‘largely forgotten’ history of South Asia’s role in WWI.

He said: “South Asia’s role in the First World War and the disproportionately large contribution from Punjab have largely been forgotten and their sacrifices omitted from mainstream narratives, or left as somewhat forlorn footnotes of history.”

 

Indian cavalrymen take part in the Bastille Day parade in Paris on 14 July 1916 led by three Punjabi officers of the 2nd Lancers
Indian cavalrymen take part in the Bastille Day parade in Paris on 14 July 1916 led by three Punjabi officers of the 2nd Lancers (Image: Toor Collection / UKPHA)

To commemorate this history, records of hundreds of thousands of Indian Army troops from Punjab - a region now divided between India and Pakistan - have been made public for the first time this year.

Tejpal is one of many volunteers that has worked with the UK Punjab Heritage Association to help digitise the Punjab register.

The Punjab Government compiled a series of registers in 1919 listing the names of every man that had served in the Army. Such records have remained un-researched for almost a century, until now.

According to the UKPHA, the registers offer a detailed breakdown of the recruiting practices of the Indian Army a century ago and into the individual soldiers, revealing insights into their occupational, social, political and faith backgrounds.

In some cases the registers also detail the awards they received and the far flung theatres of war that they served in, and from which at least 15,000 did not return.A single page from the 26,000 pages of the Punjab Registers

A single page from the 26,000 pages of the Punjab Registers (Image: UKPHA Archive)

The UKPHA, in collaboration with the University of Greenwich, have worked to track down and digitise the registers on a new website that can be accessed here.

UKPHA were able to secure access to the records of 320,000 wartime service personnel after years of correspondence and relationship-building with the Lahore Museum in Pakistan.

The initial project will make records available from three districts, Jalandhar and Ludhiana both now in independent India, and Sialkot now in Pakistan. A future project aims to make the entire database available.

According to Tejpal, the registers will empower people to research their ancestors' history.

He said: “It astonishes me that my next door neighbour can find out who his great-grandfather voted for, if they fought in the war, what medals they received.

“We struggle and we have to go from pillar to post. With this register, that will change things dramatically. This will empower citizen historians to research their ancestors in a similar way to how other communities can.”Victory Parade, London, 1919

Victory Parade, London, 1919 (Image: Toor Collection / UKPHA)

The digitised registers have already allowed high-profile Punjabis to piece together details of the roles of their ancestors or others from their native villages in the Great War.

Politicians, including former Conservative Party Chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi and Labour shadow minister Tanmanjit Dhesi, learned that their family villages provided soldiers who served in various theatres of war from the Western Front, the Middle East and even East Africa.

Amandeep Madra added: “In digitising these records we're allowing the global Punjabi diaspora, as well as researchers and academics worldwide, access to a rich seam of data which helps tell the stories of men of all backgrounds who fought alongside one another and other British and allied troops in the trenches of the Western Front, at Gallipoli and in the deserts and heat of Africa and the Middle East...

"Together we can do justice to the collective service of the fighting men of Punjab in what we hope is just the first stage in creating a proper archive of Punjab and World War One."

Dr Gavin Rand, from the University of Greenwich, said: “Whereas the ancestors of British and Irish soldiers can easily search public databases of service records, no such facility exists for the descendants of colonial soldiers.

“By making some of the unique data recorded in the registers widely available for the first time, the project will provide the basis for extensive engagement with the Punjabi community in and beyond the UK by allowing them to access records of their ancestors’ wartime service, as well as providing unique insights into the villages of pre-partition Punjab."

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