Education resource sent to West Midlands schools to teach about Sikh contribution to Britain

The statue got the blessing today of Wolverhampton City Council Credit: Wolverhampton City Council

An education resource about the frontier battle of Saragarhi is being sent free to teachers in the West Midlands to ensure the historic contribution made by Sikhs fighting for Britain is taught in classrooms.

It comes ahead of a statue and memorial plaque that will be built to pay tribute to the bravery of the 21 soldiers of the 36th Sikh Regiment who lost their lives in the Battle of Saragarhi.

It will be built on land in Wednesfield, which has today be transferred from the council to the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara These three sketches show how the artwork may look when cast in bronze.

How the statue may look Credit: Wolverhampton City Council
How the statue may look from a different angle
A third perspective on the statue Credit: Wolverhampton City Council

What will the resource include?

The school resource, containing films and lesson plans and is designed for use in classes on history, citizenship and religious education.

It focuses on the frontier battle of Saragarhi to educate Key Stage 3 and 4 level children about Sikhs and Sikhism.

 The school resource has been created by writer and filmmaker Capt.Jay Singh-Sohal, he said: “Throughout our work over the past decade we have found parents frustrated that the Sikh contribution is not taught in schools. 

"Teachers with an interest in this field are unable to find relevant authoritative resources to include these subjects in their lessons.

"I felt it therefore necessary to create this education pack, utilising our research and productions into Saragarhi, so that pupils can get a better understanding of our shared heritage. 

"My hope is that more teachers will use the resource and visit the new memorial in Wolverhampton to discover more about the Sikh faith and contribution to Britain.”

 What was the Battle of Saragarhi? 

The battle is remembered for the extraordinary acts of courage shown by Sikh soldiers.

On 12 September 1897 they were defending the Saragarhi outpost in then British India against the Afghan army.

Although they were massively outnumbered, they refused to surrender and carried on fighting until the bitter end.

They were awarded the Indian Order of Merit after their deaths.

The plaque which will accompany the monument is in the shape of the mountain range where the battle took place.

In 2018 the first ever full-sized statue of a Sikh soldier to be built in the UK was unveiled in Smethwick.

The 'Lions of the Great War' monument was designed to honour the service men and women from South Asia, who fought in both world wars.

Sculpture Luke Perry created this statue, and designed the one due to be built in Wednesfield.