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.
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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.
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(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.