Review 2017: Commemoration & Legacy

http://hindumattersinbritain.co.uk/UploadImages/37f9c9763c1d42ff87133416293dbc6b-0%20300%20x%20300.jpgThe commemoration of the role of Indian soldiers in WW1 continues, and HMB played a vital role in events in London and Leicester. It has produced a website (India1914.com) which will keep people updated and that the fallen should never be forgotten. The Heritage Lottery Fund supported the project.

There have been some outstanding events commemorating the role of Indian soldiers, and finally, history has appreciated the sacrifices.

In another moving story, an excavation in Richebourg village, 143 miles from Paris led to two human remains from WW1 being discovered.

On subsequent analysis, the remains were identified as casualties of an Indian regiment of the 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles. It was an astonishing discovery and further thought-provoking reflection of the vital contribution played by Indian soldiers in both World Wars.

The soldiers were buried in France with full military honours at the nearby French Military Cemetery in La Gorgue on 12 November 2017. The curator of the graves, The Office of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWWGC) in collaboration with the French and Indian Governments had decided to hold a ceremony at the Laventie Military Cemetery.

http://hindumattersinbritain.co.uk/UploadImages/_98784813_image2-2%20300%20x%20200.jpgThe CWWGC stated that "During World War I, the Garhwal Brigade comprising of 1st/39th and 2nd/39th Royal Garhwal Rifles showed unparalleled bravery in those treacherous trenches of France and Flanders. The Garhwal Brigade earned six Battle Honours and two Victoria Cross in France and Flanders Theatre," the statement said.

The British Library and the Library of Birmingham had also won Heritage Lottery funding to stage a major exhibition and public programme celebrating South Asian culture. The project received £91,700 to present Documenting Histories, a partnership project celebrating the important role South Asian culture has played in forming Birmingham’s history and identity.

The ‘East India Company’s name has been synonymous with colonialism and ruler of India. Not to be forgotten, business tycoon Sanjiv Mehta not only bought the company in 2005 but is redefining its legacy. He marked the 160th anniversary of the Indian Mutiny – what Mehta and many Indians call the first war of independence. The anniversary commemorates a revolt by Indian soldiers which kickstarted the freedom struggle against British imperialism. To Mehta, the anniversary has a particular poignancy – his own story seems the final nail in the coffin of the colonial East India Company, finishing off what those rebellious soldiers started in Meerut in 1857.

Another major outdoor touring exhibition honoured the long history of the Indian presence in Britain and its impact on British life. ‘At the Heart of the Nation: A Photographic Exhibition celebrating India in Britain’ told the story through a series of striking photographic images, the exhibition documents the diverse histories which make up the shared heritage of India and Britain from 1870, the earliest image in the exhibition, to the present day.

Curated to coincide with the India-UK Year of Culture for 2017, the exhibition grew out of a decade-long research project exploring South Asian and Indian-British connections. Spanning almost two centuries - from the period of the British Raj through to the better-known era of post-war migration to today - the exhibition, and an accompanying website, is a visual history of India’s impact on Britain’s cultural, intellectual and political life, national and global politics, human rights and equality, the arts and sport.