Sikh soldiers were ‘brothers in arms’

REMEMBRANCE DAY: Surrey man’s exhibit honoured Punjabi soldiers

Surrey’s Steven Purewal reminded the B.C. legislature about the contribution of Punjabi soldiers during the Great War.

Tom Fletcher, BC Local News

Surrey resident Steven Purewal was in the B.C. legislature recently to mark South Asian military efforts in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.

Purewal was also the man who embarked upon a journey last year to detail the story of 500,000 Punjabi combatants who fought alongside Canadians in the First World War through the exhibit “Duty, Honour & Izzat.”

Purewal, a British-born Indian, has been collecting primary artifacts from the First World War pertaining to the involvement of Punjabis, including war medallions and propaganda art. He said that the Sikh side of the story has been grossly underrepresented and even the public school system completely bypasses that aspect of its history.

“The deficit isn’t just at the common layman’s levee, it’s even in academia,” Purewal told the Now last year at City Centre Library, where the exhibit then resided.

“We’re not saying, ‘Why haven’t you told our story?’ because we haven’t told it ourselves,” said Purewal at the time. “That’s the point of this project.”

It is surely with great pride that Purewal presented an 1874 version of the Red Ensign flag to the B.C. government on Oct. 28 to commemorate the contribution of Indian Army soldiers to allied forces and their settlement in the province.

“The heroic story of the Canadians in Flanders Fields is told in our classrooms. But what’s not told is that the Punjabis were standing united with Canada. They were there as brothers in arms and friends in need,” he said in his speech in the legislature.

“On the centennial of World War I, our children should learn that the Indian Army won 9,000 gallantry awards, that the Indian Army fielded more men in World War I than all the other colonies put together, including Canada and Australia, that they were critical to the allied victory.”

-With files from Kristi Alexander

Just Posted

Surrey man wins $500K, plans to build house, buy toys and ‘nice dinner’

Sukhwinder Sidhu bought winning ticket at store in Newton

Surrey mayoral candidates weigh in on proposed supportive housing in Cloverdale

Gill, Hayne and McCallum oppose the project, in its current location

Surrey breast-cancer survivor says charity run has ‘kept me alive’ for a decade

Sally Haysom is volunteer director of CIBC Run for the Cure, set for Sept. 30 at Bear Creek Park

Artist, history buff named Surrey Civic Treasures for 2018

Roxanne Charles and Jim Foulkes to be recognized at Oct. 2 event

Museum of Surrey grand opening will be a ‘prehistoric party’

Ribbon-cutting ceremony, barbecue, featured exhibit Dinosaurs Unearthed and more

VIDEO: Story surrounding new playground at Surrey hospital a real ‘tear-jerker’

Dad began planning after his son had surgery in Surrey and he saw too many sad faces

BC Children’s warns of possible PayPal fraud

Recipients are asked to forward the emails to PayPal

Increased security, staffing changes coming to Colony Farms

Coquitlam Forensic Psychiatric Hospital to get new safety measures, stop patient-on-staff violence

Still too many B.C. seniors in care facilities, on drugs

Seniors Advocate watching use of antipsychotics, opioids

Officials: 3 killed in shooting at Maryland Rite Aid centre

FBI described the Aberdeen incident as an ‘active shooter situation’

The hunt for online herb: feds seek dope on hazy world of pot’s ‘cryptomarket’

In less than a month, Canada to be first industrialized country to legalize recreational marijuana

Despite protests, Russia’s anti-doping agency reinstated

On a 9-2 vote, the executive committee declared RUSADA as having satisfied conditions

Burnaby pedestrian in hospital after being hit crossing busy street

Driver remained on scene, is speaking to RCMP

Most Read