Privileged to unveil the UK’s first memorial to commemorate the 19th century Sikh soldiers

I was so privileged to join colleagues at today’s event in Wolverhampton to unveil the first UK memorial of its kind commemorating the bravery of 19th century Sikh soldiers

The Saragarhi Monument, by Black Country sculptor Luke Perry, stands on land close to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Well Lane, Wednesfield, and was revealed on the 124th anniversary of the Battle of Saragarhi.

What the 1897 Battle of Saragarhi has taught us (and what we all admire) is the courage, discipline, integrity, loyalty and most of all, the selfless commitment demonstrated by the soldiers in this battle.

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It’s those values that all of us, and especially those in power today should aspire to.

This is a monument of the 21 Sikh Soliders but it’s a monument for everyone to admire, to enjoy, to learn from and to reflect on.

And everyone in Wolverhampton, the UK and infact the world is invited to our great city to do so. Regardless of race, religion or any other demographic.. the monument is here for us all and marks a moment in history where Wolverhampton’s diversity is celebrated.

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The statue was commissioned by Wednesfield’s Guru Nanak Gurdwara whose members undertook a massive £100,000 fundraising programme. The council contributed £35,000 and transferred land to the Gurdwara on a 99-year lease. I was really pleased to contribute a small amount from my ward funds to help this come to life.

A huge credit to my dear friend and colleague Labour Councillor Bhupinder Ghakhal for leaving his legacy in bringing this project to life.