British Asia News Network
London: The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in collaboration with The Royal British Legion organised an inspirational event to honour the contribution of Indian and the Commonwealth soldiers during World War One.
The evening on the 16th November at the Neasden Temple was marked by a beautiful interfaith remembrance for the Armistice Centenary to honour the fallen 74,000 Indian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for the British Army. 11 were awarded the Victoria Cross for their outstanding bravery. Nearly 1.5 million soldiers belonged to the Commonwealth nations, and their stories and contributions have so far been left largely untold and unheard.
Notables like HE Euripides L Evrivades, High Commissioner of Cyprus to the UK, Lord Ahmed, Rt Hon Tom Tugendhat, Lord Jitesh Gadhia and Nitinbhai Palan shared inspiring words about the sacrifices of the soldiers that have gone to make the world a far safer and peaceful world for the next generation.
In the words of Swami Yogvivekdas: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.At the going down of the sun and in the morning.We will remember them.When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow you have today.
A special ‘khadi’ cotton poppy has also been made this year – an initiative by Lord Jitesh Gadhia to pay tribute and recognise the contribution made by India and the Commonwealth during World War I. Lord Gadhia told British News Asia.
“I have been working with the Royal British Legion for a while in bringing the Khadi Poppy idea to fruition – it has been humbling to see the positive response from so many people. It has not been created to simply separate out the South Asian contribution to the war effort.”
“To the contrary, the Khadi Poppy is designed in every possible way to look like the poppies we wear every year. Therein lies its beauty - it is the ability to appreciate the contribution from the Commonwealth and South Asia, but simultaneously integrate and embed this within the collective remembrance by the whole nation. It does not seek to single out just one group but remembers everyone: it is a unifying symbol for us all.”