Heritage Lottery Fund provides £450,000 to UK Punjab Heritage Association for Centenary project

Posted on centenarynews.com on 22 October 2013
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The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided the United Kingdom Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA) with £450,000 for a Centenary project which will explore the role of Sikh soldiers during the First World War.

The London-based UKPHA and its volunteers will be researching regimental histories, official dispatches, correspondence and war grave records among other sources in order to "create a detailed picture of the Sikh involvement in the conflict."

Family recollections and personal memorabilia from Sikhs living in the UK will be incorporated into this research to create "as comprehensive a picture as possible of the lives of those who fought, as well as of those who they left behind".

The project will involve both younger and older people and those from across Sikh and non-Sikh communities. 

Descendants of Sikh soldiers who fought in the conflict will be interviewed and the recordings added to the information being collected alongside memorabilia such as medals, uniforms and photographs.

Other material will include posters, contemporary newspaper reports, postcards as well as artefacts and documents in the collections of a range of museums, libraries and archives.

Summer exhibition

Results of UKPHA's research will be added to the Imperial War Museum and the British Library's archives.

These institutions, along with the National Army Museum and other national and local museums, arts groups, and schools will partner with UKPHA on various aspects of the project.

A result of this collaboration will be a twelve-week exhibition at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, during the summer of 2014, featuring interactive displays and an educational kids’ zone.

It will also result in a documentary film, commemorative publication, educational packs for schools, and a programme of outreach events, designed to "provide opportunities for members of the public to take part and learn in a number of exciting ways".

Another aim of the project is the development of digital education packs, which will be made available to schools to allow "future generations to learn about this remarkable history".

A project database is also planned - which will be linked to the Imperial War Museum’s own Lives of the First World War site – to "ensure that there is a lasting legacy for the individual stories of Sikh combatants and those they left behind".

The open access site "will enable for the first time these memories and memorabilia to be collated and made accessible for families, the community, historians and researchers alike".

"Members of the public will be encouraged to undertake their own [guided] research into their and others’ family histories to help create the database, the commemorative publication and exhibition materials".

Wesley Kerr, Chairman Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for London said: "The Heritage Lottery Fund is very pleased to support this fascinating, landmark project which will enlist citizen historians to chronicle the past and bring to life powerful, important stories for a new audience of today’s Britons".

UKPHA Chair, Amandeep Madra, said that the organisation is "delighted" to have received Heritage Lottery Fund support.

"Given the major commemorations that will be taking place nationwide in 2014, this seemed like the appropriate time for the Sikh contribution to be recognised in a fitting way".

Source: Heritage Lottery Fund press release

Date of press release publication: 22/10/2013

Images courtesy of the Heritage Lottery Fund

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News