UK: During the First and Second World Wars, hundreds of thousands of Sikhs fought for the British Army, with approximately 83,000 Sikhs losing their lives in those Wars. Many within the British Sikh community have only recently come to appreciate the immense sacrifices made for them by their own forefathers and the significance these have had in integrating and accepting Sikhs into British society.
The Khanda Poppy Project was inspired by a trip to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire where poppy holders for other faiths were available to purchase. The Khanda Poppy idea was born, and was designed with and is produced through the Royal British Legion. The Khanda Poppy project was setup by Sikh Synergies to encourage more Sikhs to attend and join in the Remembrance day services for all those who died. It is intended to be placed at war memorials throughout the UK to mark the Sikh involvement in the two Wars at these services.
Kalvinder Singh Dhindsa, the creator of the Khanda Poppy, said “In the words of Winston Churchill, ‘They fought and died for us, in their turbans’, and the poppy enables everyone to know that these Sikhs sacrificed themselves for the greater cause. I would encourage all Sikhs to buy the poppies and place them at their local war memorials on Remembrance Sunday on 11th November, which coincides with Armistice Day this year.”
Parmjit Singh, historian and co-author of the forthcoming “Warrior Saints: Four Centuries of the Sikh Military History” said “The Sikhs have an incredibly rich martial tradition, but this heritage still remains largely unfamiliar both within and without our community. With initiatives such as Kalvinder’s, we can help commemorate the positive impact that Sikhs have had on British society.”