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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

Art’s Scarecrow Festival returns in September

Sixth annual event will be different than previous events because of the pandemic

Surrey’s top cop is keynote speaker at Surrey Board of Trade AGM

Asssistant Commissioner Brian Edwards will be on deck at Tuesday’s ‘virtual’ meeting

Refund emails from City of White Rock a ‘phishing’ scam

IT staff work to nullify security breach in ‘classic phishing campaign’

SPCA partners with Crime Stoppers

Many call in to the SPCA, but want to remain anonymous: Eccles

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor says he does not remember attack

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Most Read