Honour & Duty: Saluting the Unsung Heroes

As part of its ANZAC Day celebration, the city of Wellington has a rare glimpse of Sikh military contributions all over the world, from the late 18th century till the end of World War II in 1945.

Duty and Honour

Source: Supplied

The photo exhibition entitled "Honour & Duty: A Tribute to Sikh Valour" is held in conjunction with the ANZAC commemoration at a Wellington Library.

The exhibition showcasing more than 200 photographs of Sikh soldiers in military action can be seen at the Wellington Central Library from April 12 – April 27, 2017.

Launched in Malaysia in 2007 this photographic exhibition offers a rare glimpse into Sikh military contributions all over the world from the late 18th century onwards.

It includes previously unseen black and white photographs of Sikh soldiers who served in Malaya, Singapore, Burma(Myanmar), Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Korea, the Middle East Africa and Europe.

The curator of this exhibition Harchand Singh Bedi told SBS Radio’s Punjabi Program that most of the photographs are from the archives of the Imperial War Museum in Elephant and Castle, London.

“The exhibition not only commemorates the life of Sikh soldiers who served with the Anzacs at Gallipoli, but also documents Sikh military history throughout the 19th and 20th  century,” said Mr Bedi.

“There is a need to learn more about the martial contributions of Indian and Sikh soldiers in Australia-NZ and elsewhere".
“The role of Indian and Sikh soldiers in Gallipoli needs a proper acknowledgement. Let it be on memorials or at a governmental level.”

“On Anzac celebrations there is an abundance of information in the media. But we still lack to educate people about the martial contribution of other communities.”

“It is important that we remember them, the fallen, who fought for this land so that we might remain a free country.”

“Sikhs were blessed to be born warriors and defend for others. They stood for rights of others and never were down-trodden,” added Mr Bedi.

The exhibition is proudly sponsored by British High Commission in New Zealand.

The Deputy High Commissioner Helen Smith gave an introductory speech to assembled guests at the "Honour & Duty" launch.

“We welcome the display as an opportunity to learn more about the bravery and gallantry of the Sikh soldiers in WW1 and 2,” said Ms Smith.

“In the last two world wars, 83,005 turban-wearing Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded. They all died or were wounded for their freedom of Britain and the world, and during shell fire, with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith.” - General Sir Frank Messervy

The Sikh Foundation New Zealand, which is one of the main organisers of this event, has invited everyone to be part of this historic exhibition.

3 min read
Published 24 April 2017 at 10:51pm
By Preetinder Grewal