As we approach ANZAC Day (April 25), let’s celebrate the contributions of our fellow Asian/Asian Australians. Just last month, a Sikh War Memorial was established at Glenwood, in Sydney’s Western suburbs. The memorial commemorates the contributions of Sikh soldiers in military history, including World War I & II, Gallipoli, and Saragarhi – fighting alongside Aussie soldiers.
This War Memorial is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, with the history of Sikh troops fighting alongside Aussie soldiers going back as far as 1885 when soldiers from the British Indian Army’s Sikh Regiment fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the Australian troops in Sudan during their first overseas military expedition.
With that, it wasn’t until 1888, when Sikhs were allowed into the Australian permanent force – all the time before they were part of the British Imperial Army. Sikh soldiers suffered significant losses with one single Sikh battalion seeing 80% casualties during Gallipoli (WW1).
So it is high time they be commemorated for the contributions, considering the pain, discrimination and suffering the Sikhs and the majority of South Asia experienced under British colonisation.
Amarinder Bajwa, the founder of Fateh Foundation, who led this initiative in conjunction with the Blacktown City Council and the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) New South Wales branch, was interviewed by SBS News Punjabi and said:
“This 6 feet gunmetal statue featuring a sculpture of a Sikh soldier in military uniform will recognise their great sacrifices throughout history and remind us of their legacy”.
“The memorial will tell the generations to come about who these turbaned Sikh people were and what they- continue to stand for.”
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