Remembrance Sunday marked the annual tradition of respecting and honouring those who have served for our country. In attendance at the Bradford memorial service was representatives of all faiths, commemorating and paying respects in union; one such group in attendance was the Yorkshire Sikh Forum.

Representing the Sikh community of Yorkshire, the Sikh Forum is led by chairman Nirmal Singh Sekhon, father of Iqbal Singh Sekhon and Nirmal Sekhon of the Sekhon Group of Companies. The Yorkshire Sikh Forum represented both the values of the Sikh religion as well as the many brave soldiers of the Sikh faith that have served for the British forces, alongside paying respect to all those who have served.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Iqbal Singh Sekhon reflects on the importance of Sikh involvement in both World Wars, citing Winston Churchill who famously credited the brave antics of Sikh soldiers as vital to allied war efforts, saying that “British people are highly indebted and obliged to Sikhs for a long time. I know that within this century we needed their help twice, and they did help us very well. As a result of their timely help, we are today able to live with honour, dignity and independence.” Simmy notes that it is important to remember how integral the Sikh soldiers’ dedication and sacrifices were and to ensure their memory is not forgotten or side-lined.

Iqbal Singh Sekhon relates to this through his own family history as his grandfather, SR Nazar Singh Athwal, served and gave his life during World War 2. He says that his family want to “commemorate our grandfather”, and that through this familial link, it makes remembrance Sunday “even more personal for us”.  Simmy Sekhon also strengthens this bond through his own faith, citing inspiration and comfort through Sikh teachings of peace, prosperity and philanthropy.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

As a member of the Yorkshire Sikh Forum, he affirms the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji which include “earn honestly and righteously”, “chant thy name” and especially “share ones wealth with those in need” which were all core value passed down from his grandfather. Iqbal Singh Sekhon further explained how these practises extend to everyday life with Sikh temples offering food to those in need, regardless of their faith. He continued to explain how despite making up just 2% of the population of India, Sikhs represent 30% of charitable donations in the country. This aligns with the Sikh mantra of providing service above self, ensuring selfless acts and generosity are the highest priority in day to day life.

To ensure the memory of Sikh soldiers is preserved, Iqbal Singh Sekhon references the statue of a Sikh soldier that was erected in 2019 in Greenhead Park in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. It serves as a monument to those who served and preserves their memory, to which Iqbal Singh Sekhon expresses his desire to expand on this and feature a monument to Sikh soldiers at all major cenotaphs and memorial sites.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

In total 83,005 Sikhs lost their lives serving in both World Wars, so continuing their legacy and respecting their memory remains an essential part of the remembrance Sunday service both as part of the Yorkshire Sikh Forum and nationwide.