Big Sikh presence at KL Remembrance Sunday

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| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  | 8 Nov 2015 | Asia Samachar |
Retired Sikh from the Malaysian armed forces and representatives of CMSO seated in the front row at the Remembrance Day service in Kuala Lumpur on 8 Nov 2015. Also present were retire policemen. (R-L) are ASP (Rt) Saran Singh and Sub-Inspector (Rt) Gurdial Singh - PHOTO ASIA SAMACHAR
Retired Sikhs from the Malaysian armed forces and representatives of CMSO seated in the front row at the Remembrance Day service in Kuala Lumpur on 8 Nov 2015. Also present were retired policemen (R-L) ASP (Rt) Saran Singh and Sub-Inspector (Rt) Gurdial Singh – PHOTO ASIA SAMACHAR

Sikh war veterans were present in sizeable numbers at the Remembrance Sunday organised by the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur today.

Some 16 retired Sikh soldiers from Malaysian armed forces, led by Major General (Rt) Ranjit Singh Ramday, took part in the ceremony held at Tugu Negara, or the national monument, this morning (8 Nov 2015).

The retired Sikh soldiers were seated in the front row at the morning function.

Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations (CMSO) secretary general Autar Singh was invited to present a reflection on the Sikh contribution to the war.

The day commemorates those who have died in the name of peace since the end of the First World War.

“It has been many years since I came here,” Major (R) Amarjit Singh, who retired as the Army Institute of Management head of examination and curriculum, told Asia Samachar.

The Sri Dasmesh Pipe Band, which had recently attracted raving media attention in the UK during its Scotland trip earlier this year, was also invited to perform during the ceremony.

SEE ALSO: Sikhs at Malaysia Warriors’ Day

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The Sikh delegation then joined a breakfast hosted by the British High Commissioner to Kuala Lumpur Vicki Treadell.

“One of the lesser known facts and notable contributions from the Commonwealth in the war was the significant part played by Indian & Sikh soldiers,” according to a booklet distributed at the event.

The ceremony was attended by senior representatives from the Malaysian defence forces, ambassadors and high commissioners, defence advisors from various countries, local societies and uniformed groups.

The Tugu Negara, an idea mooted by Malaysia’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahmah, was constructed in 1963 to commemorate the warriors who died defending the sovereignty of the country.

Major Gen (R) Ranjit Singh Ramday (first form right) and some fellow retired Sikhs from the Malaysian armed forces after the Remembrance Day service in Kuala Lumpur on 8 Nov 2015. - PHOTO ASIA SAMACHAR
Major Gen (R) Ranjit Singh Ramday (first form right) and some fellow retired Sikhs from the Malaysian armed forces after the Remembrance Day service in Kuala Lumpur on 8 Nov 2015. – PHOTO ASIA SAMACHAR

The following Malaysian armed forces members present:

  • Maj.Gen Dato Ranjit Singh Ramday
  • Brig Gen Dato Ranjit Singh RMAF
  • Col. Harbans Singh
  • Col. Bupinder Singh RMAF
  • Lt. Col. Manjit Singh
  • Lt. Col Baldev Singh
  • Lt. Col Amreek Singh
  • Lt. Col Mohan Singh Rendhawa RMAF
  • Lt. Col Serinder Singh RMAF
  • Maj Ajit Singh
  • Maj Harwan Singh
  • Maj Bagwan Singh
  • Maj. Karam Singh
  • Maj Amarjit Singh
  • Maj Baldev Singh
  • Maj Harjit Singh Rendawa

Police representatives:

  • ASP (Rt) Saran Singh
  • Sub-Inspector (Rt) Gurdial Singh

WarVeterans-TuguNegara-collage1b

 

RELATED STORIES:

British Army second commemoration for Battle of Saragarhi (Asia Samachar, 16 Sept 2015)

 

Singapore honours armed forces veterans at Khalsa Week (Asia Samachar, 14 April 2015)

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Tribute to Sikh community during Remembrance Day

    (THE STAR, Published: Monday November 9, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM )

    WATCH THE STAR VIDEO HERE:
    http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2015/11/09/Tribute-to-Sikh-community-during-Remembrance-Day/

    KUALA LUMPUR: The Sikh community’s role in defending the then Malaya during the two World Wars was the highlight of the Remembrance Day ceremony held at the National Monument here.

    British High Commissioner to Malaysia Vicki Treadell said the Sikhs had fought as part of the British Indian Army who defended Malaya, adding that it was important for the present generation to pay their respects and remember those who had given everything, including their lives.

    “During World War I, the Sikhs contributed over 20% of the British Indian Army and in World War II, the Sikhs made up more than 60% of the total Indian Commonwealth Force in Malaya that fought against the Japanese,” she said in her welcoming address at the event yesterday.

    Besides war veterans, Treadell urged people to remember all those who had lost their lives, including military prisoners of war and civilian interns who suffered in captivity throughout the region.

    Expressing his gratitude for the recognition, Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations secretary-general Autar Singh said the community had contributed a lot during the Japanese invasion and the Emergency.

    “We are proud to say that this ceremony has touched the hearts of the Sikh community,” he said.

    Major (rtd) Amarjit Singh, who served in the Malaysian Armed Forces for 27 years, said Remembrance Day was the day for the younger generation to pay their respects to their forefathers who had fought for peace and stabili­ty.

    “If people think that the army person has no brains but all brawn, they are totally wrong. We learn everything from A to Z about ethics and strategies to build a nation,” said the Royal Ranger Regiment veteran who is the fourth generation in his family to have served the nation as a member of the armed forces.

    Earlier, more than 200 representatives from various countries observed a two-minute silence in honour of those who died in both World Wars.

    The Remembrance Day ceremony was also attended by foreign ambassadors, high commissioners and defence advisers from, among others, Britain, France, the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, South Africa, Sweden and New Zealand, as well as representatives from the Malaysian Armed Forces. It ended with the traditional laying of 39 wreaths at the base of the Cenotaph.

    In Labuan, hundreds of people gathered at the country’s largest World War II Memorial to honour the 3,908 soldiers from the Allied Forces and local defence units who lost their lives in Borneo during World War II from 1941-45. — Bernama

  2. It may be a “historical” event in Malaysia, for Sikhs to be remembered in a large number.It certainly is NOT the first in the diaspora.

    Sikhs in Europe, Canada and Australia have been part of official representation of war remembrance for many years now.Sikhs in Europe stretch to Italy,Flanders , Yepress in Belgium and Holland.
    Sikhs march every year down Downing street,to Cenatoph on rememberance day, since the first in 1985

    I find the following rather ineptly written and gramatically inadequate statement,in language of the street.”Historical event in Malaysia and Diaspora. Without the Sikhs it would be difficult for the British colonial to rule Malaya and other Commonwealth countries. The Sikhs army and police are very loyal, dedicated and well respected by the British colonial officers.”

    Perhaps, the writer has not read that it was, without Sikhs, the British conquered India [90%]; and sadly it was with Sikhs, from the Cis Satluj territories the British also defeated the Sikh Army-after four treacherous battles.

    It was not only Sikhs,but fair number of Punjabi Musalmans, Dogras/Hindus from Punjab, Garhwal, Rajasthan and Gurkhas from Nepal.However, it is interesting to how they used these races, that were termed “MARTIAL”.

    In the East, stretching from Burma,Malaysia, Singapore, to Fiji, Hong Kong,to Shanghai, extending to Keeling,Christmas Islands and Cocoas Islands, 90 % of the Police used was Sikhs.It was in Malaysia, the biggest non Sikh element formed of Punjabi Musalman[& Pathan] and Hindu based.

    The others, were almost wholly of Sikhs apart,from later years in Shanghai, where some Pathans and Punjabi musalmans were inclusive.

    Sadly, Sikhs have particularly been known to lack a sense of their own history, and have been reliant on foreigners to systematically record THEIR history, but obviously from a viewpoint that often creates biased history and leaves big voids.

    So, where is the real history of the Sikhs in Malaysia?Lying the hundereds of thouands of letters sent home to the Punjab, to their relatives.Some of it lies untouched in the British National Library.Many thousands of pages in the magazine “THE PENSIONER” that was published in the Punjab for the very people who were out serving the colonial masters in the Eastern colonies, until 1960.

    However, the fact remains no one has really chronicled and documented that history, the valour and sacrifices of the Sikhs in any consolidated form, where in Malaysia or anywhere else outside the Punjab.

    The reality is some are still stuck with Sikhs arrival beginning in 1873/4, when in actual fact it begins long before that in 1850/51 and earlier than that in 1827/8 in Sinkiawang- with Lanfang Chinese Republic, when two Sikhs- Suncha [?Sucha]Sing and Hanam [Harnam?]Singh are mentioned negotiating with the Republic’s officials for Sikh army, to fend off the Dutch Colonial forces.These two are said to have left to Singapore by sea, and by land route through Malaya , departed from Penang.How many more such Sikhs arrived here, we do not have records or would know.

    The Sikhs fought many battles in the 19th and 20th centuries,and almost on all batllefields of the world, where Britain was involved in either policing, annexing, or disputes with locals or another rival colonial power.

    Although, today, we may all recognise the battle of Saragarhi in 1897, was the ultimate sacrifice, and show of valour,as 21 Sikhs chose to be martyred, than call it a day.There MANY other battles where similar valour and sacfrice was shown and is seen and recorded.

    Queen Victoria goes on to say “it is no exageration to record that the armies which posess the valiant Sikhs, cannot be defeated in war”-Sikhs must also recall, that it meant absolutely nothing when the Sikhs heartland was divided in 1947, they left us homeless and refugees within our own lands.So the history or praise of a foreigner is like water washing off a ducks back.

    Thus it remains important we record our own history, and sing that to our own generataions-in the course of which OTHERS may learn and understand the Sikhs and their religion and history.

    Not to make this long, I would point out that the valour and bravery of the Sikhs was NOT the only reason the British recruited them, but there were many other political reasons.

    Large numbers of young Sikhs left the Punjab,simplified the British to hold over the Punjab and the empire.As most of initial freedom fighters of India , who were prepared to wage military crusade against the colonial power were from among the young Sikhs who were prepared to die for ‘dharam and desh’.

    With most young men, out of the Punjab, the Moslem police was deployed to police the Sikhs and Punjab, which resulted in many atrocities upon the Sikh population, culminating in 1947, when the Moslem police in districts east of the Satluj participated actively in the Sikhs massacres of 1947.

    It was not a co-incidental choice, it was well planned and structured recruitment that led Sikhs overseas, of course with a carrot hung at the end of it. But that is another part.

  3. Why was Capt (RTD) Mukhtiar Singh not invited? A true national hero who is yet unrecognised by this ungrateful government.

  4. Sikhs appreciated at British High Commision Kuala Lumpur Remembrance Service

    (RAKYAT POST, 8 Nov 2015)

    KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 8, 2015: A tribute was held for the Sikh community for their contributions during the World Wars at the Remembrance Service by the British High Commision Kuala Lumpur.

    British High Commissioner (Designate) to Malaysia Vicki Treadell in her address said the role of the Sikhs in both World Wars was not as well documented as it should have been.

    “The Sikhs made up a relatively small percentage of undivided India and yet at the start of WW1 they contributed to over 22% of the British Indian army.

    “These numbers swelled over the course of the war and Sikhs fought in all major theatres contested by British forces from the Western Front to the Middle East.

    “In WW2 the Sikhs represented more than 60% of the total Indian Commonwealth Force in Malaysia that fought the Japanese invasion,” she said at the tribute ceremony at Tugu Negara here today.

    She said over the last few years, as part of the WW1 programme of commemoration, the story of the Sikh contribution to the WW1 was focused on.

    “I am therefore delighted to contribute to this initiative by involving the local Sikh community today.

    “I would like to mention our Sikh friends here today, including the Sri Damesh Band for welcoming the local Sikh community, for participating in this year’s Remembrance Service.”

    The service observed a two-minute moment of silence to show respect for heroes, who died in the World Wars.

    The first two-minutes of silence in Britain was held on Nov 11, 1919, when King George V asked the public to observe the silence at 11am, one year after the end of WW1.

    Treadell said it was not just the fallen that needed to be remembered but also those who were still willing to risk their lives for tomorrow.

    The Remembrance Day service was attended by foreign ambassadors, High Commissioners and Defence Advisers from 11 different countries.

    Notably missing were top brass representatives from the Malaysian Defence Ministry.

    The event ended with the traditional laying of 39 wreaths at the base of the Cenotaph.

    http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2015/11/08/sikhs-appreciated-at-british-high-commision-kuala-lumpur-remembrance-service/#.Vj69tWvY-J0.facebook

  5. Historical event in Malaysia and Diaspora. Without the Sikhs it would be difficult for the British colonial to rule Malaya and other Commonwealth countries. The Sikhs army and police are very loyal, dedicated and well respected by the British colonial officers.

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