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New UK sculpture to honour Indian soldiers

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A new sculpture in honour of Indian soldiers who fought during World War I was unveiled on Sunday in the town of in the region of England on Sunday.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara had commissioned the Lions of the Great War monument, which depicts a turbaned Sikh soldier, to honour the sacrifices made by millions of South Asian service personnel of all faiths who fought for Britain in the world wars and other conflicts as part of the

"We are very proud to be bringing this memorial to High Street to honour the sacrifice of all those brave men who travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn't their own, said Jatinder Singh, of

The 10-foot bronze statue was unveiled in Smethwick High Street to commemorate 1918, also referred as the Great War.

The new Lions of the has been placed between the High Street and in the town of Smethwick as part of a community project and collaboration between the gurdwara and the local Council.

The gurdwara donated around 20,000 pounds for the sculpture, with the council investing in creating the public space with seating and lighting to house the new monument.

"It's so important we remember the sacrifices made by people for our country, said Steve Eling, of Council.

Designed by local artist Luke Perry, the statue stands on a granite plinth with inscriptions naming the regiments in which South Asian soldiers served during the Great War.

"When I realised more than 1.5 million Indian soldiers had been sent to World War I, I just could not understand why their contribution had been ignored for so long in this country, said Perry.

"Indians of all religions fought in the war and we are such a diverse multicultural country in part because of the sacrifices they made, so this is a wonderful statement which will be perfect for and everything they represent, he said, in reference to to be held in Birmingham, just west of Smethwick.

The unveiling of the statue this Sunday comes just a week before Armistice Day on November 11, marked annually in an elaborate wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in central led by Elizabeth II, as well as other smaller events around the country.

Earlier this week in the House of Commons, British had paid tribute to the Indian soldiers who had fought as part of the

"Over 74,000 soldiers came from undivided and lost of their lives; 11 of them won the Victoria Cross for their outstanding bravery and played a crucial role in the war across multiple continents," she said on Wednesday, when she also pledged to adorn a khadi poppy in honour of these soldiers.

The Poppy Appeal is an annual fundraising campaign for war veterans held in the lead up to Armistice Day, with politicians and members of the public across the country wearing a cloth-based poppy on their lapels as a sign of respect for the war dead.

A khadi version of the poppy was launched by Indian-origin peer Lord and the for the first time this year as an evocative symbol of undivided India's contribution to the war effort.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 04 2018. 16:45 IST