| Singapore | 11 Sept 2015 | Asia Samachar |
Many Sikhs soldiers who lost their lives fighting ‘courageously and selflessly’ in World World II in Southeast Asia had missed out on the last rites as per the Sikh tradition.
“These brave Sikh soldiers could not have been given the last rites according to the Sikh tenets as they were either buried, or drowned in the rivers or marshes, or died as prisoners of war in Japanese prison camps, or just disappeared without a trace,” said Singapore’s Central Sikh Gurdwara Board (CSGB) president Gurcharan Singh.
He was speaking at a ceremony today (11 Sept 2015) where the CSGB presented a plaque to commemorate the participation and sacrifices of the Sikhs in WW2. The plaque will be displayed at the Changi Museum.
“There are no known graves, a number of them died in captivity as POWs [prisoners of war] during the construction of the infamous Burma-Thailand railway or were drowned at sea while being transported into imprisonment elsewhere,” he adds.
Gurcharan had started off his speech with a short ardaas (Sikh prayer). A video of his speech is available at the Central Sikh Gurdwara SC Facebook page.
He said Sikh soldiers died in the defence of Malaya, Singapore and other neighbouring regions during WW2.
Some Sikhs had also joined the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force (SSVF), a military reserve force in the Straits Settlements, while they were under British rule, according to the programe coordinator.
While the majority of the SSVF personnel were from Singapore, some lived in other parts of the Settlements, including Penang, Province Wellesley, Malacca and Labuan, according to a Wikipedia entry.
The SSVF was officially formed in 1922, following the amalgamation of the Singapore Volunteer Corps, Penang and Province Wellesley Volunteer Corps, Malacca Volunteer Corps, and Labuan Volunteer Defence Detachment.
The CGSB plaque reads: “In commemoration of the memory of the brave Sikh soldiers who fought and fell during World War II. True to the Sikh tradition, they fought courageously and selflessly, never flinching when even in the jaws of death, fighting an enemy that was no threat to them, in lands unknown to them. In dedication to their memory by the Central Sikh Gurdwara Board, Singapore.”
Singapore army pioneer Daljeet Singh in parade (Asia Samachar, 10 Aug 2015)
Singapore honours armed forces veterans at Khalsa Week (Asia Samachar, 14 April 2015)