Friday, 25 July 2014

WW1 Postcards

Postcards depicting various races and tribes during WW1 were very popular, especially in France.


Beneath it says: Salute! My Duty Calls.

The reason the soldier is shown as a little child is because it was a popular type of theme for postcards in those days.  Other cards were done showing "kiddie soldiers".  

This card was published by Inter-Art Co., Red Lion Square, London, W.C.  Artist: Donald McGill.  Card designed early 1915.

If you have any postcards of Sikhs please share with us.

Photo courtesy of: Marika Pirie

Media Coverage of "Indians in the Trenches"

It's been a busy period for us outside of the project post launch of "Indians in the Trenches".

In that period we've spoken to various media outlets, and had a lot of coverage on our project.

We've had a lot of social media impressions - and the film is going strong with 2,000 views!

Here's a link of some of those articles about our work:

Sikhnet

Sikh24 News

Asian Image

Operation Black Vote

Indian Express:

Times of India article below:


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Press Release: Story Of “Indians In The Trenches” Captured On Film For The First Time

Young actors have been given a rare opportunity to dress up in British World War One uniforms and re-enact the real life experiences of Sikhs who fought during the conflict for a new film, being released on Friday 4th July 2014.

"Indians in the Trenches" depicts the real life stories of those from the subcontinent who left their villages in 1914 to fight in a faraway land for the first time.  The film uses the original letters sent from the trenches of France and Flanders to delve into what the Indian soldiers felt and experienced at different key points during the four-year war.

It's the first time a Sikh re-enactment has taken place in Britain, and the first time the original writings of those who fought have been enacted and captured on film.  Around 126,000 Sikhs fought during the conflict in every arena of the war - from the western front to Mesopotamia; and their contribution is all the more remarkable when considered that despite being only 2% of the Indian population at the time they made up 20% of the fighting force of the British Indian Army.

The letters contain a strong belief of their faith and identity.  One Sikh soldier wrote “It was my very good fortune to be engaged in this war.  We shall never get such another chance to exalt the name of race, country, ancestors, parents, village and brothers.” while another Sikh remarked “We are fortunate men to have been able to join in this great war.  We will do our best to uphold the family traditions and the reputation of our tribe.”

But the experience for the Indians was also very harrowing as they faced the harsh realities of the conflict during the winter of 1914 without proper warm kit.  One Sikh soldier remarked “The guns fire all day like the thunder in Sawan.  The heaven and earth are undistinguishable and at night there is a regular Diwali festival.”

Speaking about the film, director Jay Singh-Sohal said: "This has been a fantastic way of highlighting the Indian contribution during the war through real life letters and experiences.  The Sikh story itself is inspiring because of the overwhelming contribution this small community made to the war effort, and this is reflected in that a quarter of Indian gallantry awards were given to this martial race.  It’s something people today should not forget."

This was the first role for aspiring young actor Pavandeep Singh Sandhu (pictured top), who plays the role of cavalrymen Bhaga Singh says: "It’s been a really exciting opportunity to portray this role, especially as Sikhs made such a dramatic impact during the course of the war.  It makes me feel proud that our forefathers made this sacrifice.  To delve into the psyche of the soldiers enabled me to appreciate what they went through – and be inspired by it.”

The film is being released on the online film site www.sikhsatwar.info and broadcast on British television as part of efforts to raise awareness during the centenary commemorations of World War One.

The team will then be working alongside members of the Armed Forces to create a national memorial to remember the sacrifices of Sikh soldiers.

***ENDS***

Notes to Editors:
All media bids for interview to be made via:
07908 22 6667/ dothyphen1@gmail.com

For more information visit: www.sikhsatwar.info or contact us on Twitter: @SikhsAtWar

Stills images attached are available for publication, more are available upon request. 

Please ensure logos are not cropped and accredit “www.sikhsatwar.info”.


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

BBC News ...and an email from Philip

*** UPDATE: Watch the BBC report by clicking here ***

On Monday 23rd the story of the thousands upon thousands of Sikhs who fought for Britain during WW1 was featured on BBC regional news - on Midlands Today.

The "Sikhs At War" project was a key part of the special news report.  Earlier in the year we allowed the BBC to follow our work and film our forthcoming "Indians in the Trenches" film.

In turn they did a fantastic job of highlighting our endeavours.  And they raised the question of what is being done to recognise and remember the contributions that these gallant warriors made to a foreign land they had never visited before.


Since that broadcast I've been inundated with messages of thanks and support through email and social media.

The messages all convey one message - thanks for raising awareness of this significant history.


I wanted to share one such email with you - as it sums up nicely the high regard Sikhs continue to be held in and how we contribute to British society.
Here is an email from Philip:

"I would like to express my immense appreciation of the bravery and sacrifice that so many men of your faith made on our behalf in two world wars.

"You stood side by side with us and many many other men of the Commonwealth to overcome a great evil.


When I see the Sikh people, I behold a happy community, happy to be here and happy to be with us. I personally, am more than happy to have you here and wish that I could get to know you better."

[Above: images from the news report including Jay and Juggy filmmaking]

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

FILM: Chattri Memorial in Brighton

Here's a short film I put together about the Chattri Memorial in Brighton after my first visit there for the annual remembrance day event.

For more information about the monument visit www.chattri.com.




Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Story Of Bhaga Singh of 38th Central India Horse

Dot Hyphen Productions presents "Indians in the Trenches" - a new film featuring the real life experiences of soldiers who fought in France and France.

In this second trailer, Pavandeep Singh Sandhu narrates the story of Bhaga Singh of 38th Central India Horse through the letters he sent home to India in July 1917 describing what he saw.

For more films visit www.sikhsatwar.info

Monday, 9 June 2014

Ardaas at Chattri Memorial Service in Brighton

It was a wonderful gloriously sunny day to trek fields the fields of the South Downs in Brighton for a memorial service at the Chattri Memorial yesterday (8th June).

The memorial is where 53 Sikh and Hindu injured soldiers brought over to hospitals in Brighton during the First World War were cremated.

The walk through fields on green is worth the pilgrimage to see this amazing monument which tells such a remarkable story.

An Ardaas was said for those who served and died - before speeches by local dignitaries.

This is a regular annual event, for more information visit www.chattri.com





Saturday, 31 May 2014

Faith and War: Sikhs in World War One

Here's a presentation I gave ahead of the first screening of "Indians in the Trenches" at Goldman Sachs, London on 28th May 2014.

In this part, I narrate briefly the Sikh contribution during World War One and why it was so significant.

The trailer is also below - and the film will be released this August.

** If you'd like to host such a presentation contact us via dothyphen1 AT gmail DOT com **





Thursday, 29 May 2014

BBC World War One At Home

The BBC's series "World War One At Home" has a special episode on "Sikhs In The Trenches.

You can listen to it via this link here or the image below.

A special programme on  "The Empire’s Army" will be broadcast on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Monday 2nd June at 8.15am and a longer more in depth edition at 11.30am the same day.