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Never forget those martyrs who saved the world's polity from worsening: Former Army Officials

April 23, 2024 04:56 PM

Chandigarh, In the memory of the Sikh soldiers from Punjab who were martyred for the British Army in Belgium during the World Wars, a three-day long Akhand Paath is being organized in joint collaboration with Belgium based In Flanders Field Museum (Ypres) and Chandigarh based Sikhya Seekers from April 26. To mark the auspicious occasion of 325th anniversary of Khalsa Sajna Diwas, the museum management has announced to organize this religious ritual in its museum premises and Sector 34 Gurudwara Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib from April  26 to 28  as an expression of respect and gratitude for the brave demised souls.

Sher Singh, Associate, In Flanders Fields Museum while virtually addressing the media from Belgium at Chandigarh Press Club emphasized that Belgians will always be grateful to those Sikh soldiers who bravely fought against the combined Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. Their bravery helped Belgium to save the nation from the German occupation resulting the Belgian faction of the Allied countries won the WWI. “Ypers is an vital phase of Indian and Belgian history wherein unfortunately nearly 1.5 lakh Punjabi soldiers lost their lives in two major wars. The tales of their bravery will remain immortal in Belgium. This Akhand Paath is a tribute by the countrymen of Belgium on the holy festival of Baisakhi month.” emotes Sher Singh.

General KJ Singh (Retd), GOC-in-Chief, Western Command, Chandimandir emphasized the importance of Punjabi soldiers in the First World War and lauded that their act of bravery has changed the course of world polity.”After the months of voyages and landing to an alien world for war, Punjabis left no stone unturned to become the real heroes of World War.  He stressed upon the need that  the time has come not to forget their dedication but should make them a part of daily remembrance.

In his address, War Veteran Brigadier GJ Singh, while appreciating this initiative, he also expressed his concern over the indifference towards the soldiers in two different parts of the world - India & Europe. He recalled that last year, along with Domineik Dendooven, Director, In Flanders Fields Museum, they visited Sultanwind near Amritsar and met the families of martyred Punjabi soldiers. The neglect of these families by the society and the Govt and even the abandoned memorials built by the British Govt in their respect, now seems to be an insult for demised soldiers. On the other hand, in Belgium, grand monuments have been built in the memory of those soldiers and the mark of respect is given every evening with the retreat. He highlighted that there are thousands of families in the region who are related to the First World War and to cherish their memories ‘Yadgaari Melas’ should be organized annually. 

 Present on the occasion, War Veteran Col Perminder Singh Randhawa, the key organizer and Founder of Sikhya Seekars while tracing down the history of World War I and role of Punjabi soldiers said that when soldiers landed on foreign soil, they were termed as 'Gentlemen from India', who could be the last hope for Allied forces against Germany’s aggression. Col Randhawa’s grandfather - Surain Singh Randhawa was also part of the same troop who gave tough resistance to his opponents.  “Even after a century, the honor being received from Belgium in this form is a testimony of sweet reminiscent of Europe to Indians. 25 years ago, on the occasion of the tricentennial of Khalsa, I was also part of almost the same gesture from Belgians. This overseas gratitude for the departed souls and Indians is heartwarming.” recalls Col Randhawa. Last year, when Domineik Dendooven, Director, In Flanders Fields Museum visited India, he gifted two replicas of the theme of 'Coming World Remember Me' made from the soil of Yepris to the Sikhya Seekers.


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