Steven Purewal (left) presents 1874 Red Ensign flag to Premier Christy Clark

South Asian military efforts marked at legislature

As Sikhs' ship turned away from Vancouver in 1914, another left to fight alongside Canada in World War I

An 1874 version of the Red Ensign flag has been presented to the B.C. government to commemorate the contribution of Indian Army soldiers to allied forces in World War I and their settlement in the province.

Steven Purewal, founder of Indus Media Foundation Canada, presented the flag to Premier Christy Clark Oct. 28 as a symbol of their contribution. Here are excerpts from Purewal’s speech:

“In 1849 Vancouver Island and the Punjab both became realms of the Crown. For the Punjab, the Victorian era opened up many opportunities within the vast military administration of the empire. And by the turn of the 19th Century, Punjabis had won many accolades as outstanding soldiers of the Queen in the various campaigns throughout Asia and Africa.

“As we know, in the summer of 1914, the ship Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver to a less than welcoming environment. It was a sad episode in our community’s history.

“But there is another story, an epilogue if you will, to the Komagata Maru story. And that is that another ship was asked to sail at the very same time the Komagata Maru was leaving from India, that was asked to sail to France.

“That ship contained the kith and kin of the people aboard the Komagata Maru. Their story is the story of the men that stood with Canada during its baptism of fire in World War I.

“The heroic story of the Canadians in Flanders Fields is told in our classrooms. But what’s not told is that the Punjabis were standing united with Canada. They were there as brothers in arms and friends in need. They stood true despite the events of Vancouver.

“On the centennial of World War I, our children should learn that the Indian Army won 9,000 gallantry awards, that the Indian Army fielded more men in World War I than all the other colonies put together, including Canada and Australia, that they were critical to the allied victory.”

Just Posted

TSB issues two safety recommendations in probe of fatal train derailment near Field

The train derailment killed three crew members on board

Liam’s Lowdown: The things we do for our parents

Our food may not be what we think it is

Revelstoke company to be on Dragons’ Den

The company will travel to Toronto in May to share their business idea to potential investors

Revelstoke roads and weather: periods of rain expected

Powder day at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

VIDEO: Weekend weather for the Okanagan-Shuswap

A mix of rain, clouds and sun are expected for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen

South Okanagan city unites for candlelight vigil honouring shooting victims

Hundreds gathered to support the grieving family & friends of the victims from the April 15 shooting

Three climbers presumed dead after avalanche in Banff National Park

One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe, according to officials

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Short-circuit likely caused Notre Dame fire: police official

Investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral but can’t yet search charred interior

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

Vancouver Island cat jumps from fourth floor to escape fire

Blueberry was missing after the fire but has been found

Dryer fire forces evacuation of Vernon business

Fire crews are on scene of a dryer fire in Vernon

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select sailings

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries will be available on the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

100 years of success to be celebrated for Peachland Fall Fair

The fall fair in the Central Okanagan has been ongoing to a century

Most Read