Memorial unveiled in UK to honour Sikh soldiers

From Aditi Khanna
London, Nov 2 (PTI) A memorial commemorating Sikh soldiers of the British Indian Army who fought in World War I has been unveiled in the West Midlands region of England.
The National World War I Sikh Memorial statue, opened yesterday at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, commemorates the 130,000 Sikh men who took part in the war.
More than 150 people pledged over 22,000 pounds to pay for the structure.
Sikhs made up 20 per cent of the British Indian Army in action, despite being just 1 per cent of the Indian population at the time, the World War I Sikh Memorial Fund said.
The founder and chairman of the charity, Jay Singh-Sohal, said some
Sikhs left their towns and villages for the first time “to venture abroad to fight for Great Britain” and “made a contribution when Britain itself didn’t have the troops”.
Describing the memorial, he said “It’s got a large turban, long flowing beard, very much the image of a Sikh soldier from that period.
(It has) the look and feel of a Sikh solider with the uniform and the medal that they would have been eligible for and would have won as a result of their service”.
The memorial in the small town of Alrewas was sanctified with a traditional Sikh prayer and a minute’s silence was held to remember all who fought for Great Britain.
The statue was funded through a campaign by the World War I Sikh
Memorial Fund on the crowd-funding Kickstarter website.