Ieper Visit – Menenpoort

Menenpoort
16 August 2019


Nepali memorial


Nepali memorial


Belgian (just visible) and Indian flag
Indian memorial


Ashoka lions
Indian memorial


India in Flanders ‘ fields
1914 – 1918
Indian memorial


The Indian national emblem
Ashoka lions
Indian memorial

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Published in: on September 1, 2019 at 5:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Hindustan Times – A little-known story of Nepal’s Sikh connection

The story of Sikh transporters is legendary in Nepal. In the early 1950s, hailing from the Jammu region, many of them personally navigated the newly laid tracks of the Tribhuvan Highway, and crossed rivers to haul their trucks to Kathmandu.  They also started the first public bus service in the country, and have been active in the setting up of modern schools in the country.

Manjeev Singh Puri

Kathmandu metropolitan – Nepal, 20 July 2019. Nepal has a small but a vibrant Sikh community that is best known for its role as transporters, who opened Nepal to the modern world. Not many, though, know that Nepal’s Sikh heritage dates to Guru Nanak Dev, who travelled through Nepal during his third udasi.

Marking his sojourn in Kathmandu is Nanak Math, which has a peepul tree marking the exact spot where Guru Saheb meditated. The math, like a few other shrines in Kathmandu, is linked to the Udasi tradition and has a mahant presiding over it.

The shrine is not well-known and remains neglected; this prompted author Desmond Doig to call it the “forgotten shrine of the Sikhs”. Nepal also boasts several handwritten copies of the Guru Granth Sahib, including a couple in the Pashupatinath Temple complex.

The Sikh connection with Nepal developed during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh when the armies of the Sikh and Gorkha courts fought inconclusively in the Kangra region. The valour of the Gorkhas led the Lahore Court to recruit them. Even today, Nepalese serving in the Indian Army are colloquially referred to as “Lahureys”.

Later, when Maharani Jind Kaur escaped from the British, she came to Nepal and lived in the country for several years. Accompanying her was a large body of Sikhs. When she left Nepal, many of them settled down in the area around Nepalgunj, bordering Uttar Pradesh.
Retaining their Sikh identity, including wearing unshorn hair and maintaining gurdwaras in the villages of their concentration, they are a community largely missing in the annals of the Sikh diaspora.

In modern times, Sikhs have played pioneering roles in Nepal not only as transporters but also as engineers, doctors, police officers, teachers, educationists, pilots, and even as fashion designers.

Indeed, the person credited with laying the first drinking water pipes in Kathmandu was a Sikh, Manohar Singh. And, of course, by setting up the first restaurants, they paved the way for popularising Punjabi cuisine in Nepal.

The story of Sikh transporters is legendary in Nepal. In the early 1950s, hailing from the Jammu region, many of them personally navigated the newly laid tracks of the Tribhuvan Highway, and crossed rivers to haul their trucks to Kathmandu. They also started the first public bus service in the country, and have been active in the setting up of modern schools in the country.

The Sikh community in Nepal in the 1980s totaled more than a few thousand and built a grand gurdwara in Kathmandu’s Kupondole neighbourhood, apart from smaller gurdwaras in Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Krishnanagar. It is further enriched by Nepalis like Sardar Gurbaksh Singh embracing Sikhism.

India’s diplomatic ties with Nepal also have a strong Sikh connection with Sardar Surjit Singh Majithia being the first ambassador and establishing the embassy in 1947. His arrival and departure, by air, saw the first uses of the landing strip that is now the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport.

As we celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Sikh connection of Nepal will be further strengthened as Nepal has started minting three commemorative coins, two in silver with denomination of Nepali Rupees 2,500 and 1,000 and a cupronickel coin with a face value of Nepali Rupees 100, to be launched on this auspicious occasion. Nepal is one of few countries issuing legal tender featuring a Sikh connection.

Manjeev Singh Puri is India’s ambassador to Nepal and is a former ambassador to the EU, Belgium and Luxemburg

https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/a-little-known-story-of-nepal-s-sikh-connection/story-hXrsxFKoF28H2VzaDJnCTK.html

The Statesman – Tension prevails in Saharanpur district after Ambedkar statue desecrated

A crowd of angry Dalits gathered near the statue, demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the act.

Swati Sharma

Meerut – Uttar Pradesh – India, 03 February 2019. Tension prevailed in Talheri Khurd village of Deoband area in Saharanpur district on Sunday morning after a statue of Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar was desecrated by unknown people.

A crowd of angry Dalits gathered near the statue, demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the act.

SP (Rural) Saharanpur Vidya Sagar Misra said that a case has been registered against unidentified people and the police have started an investigation. “Those involved in the act would soon be identified and arrested,” said the SP.

On Sunday morning, the villagers observed that one hand of the statue was damaged. This agitated them and they demanded an immediate arrest of those responsible for the act of vandalism.

As soon as the news of the incident reached the police, sub-divisional magistrate of Deoband Ritu Punia and circle officer Siddharth Singh rushed to the spot and tried to pacify angry Dalits. They assured the villagers of taking stern action against the miscreants and also promised to get the damaged statue replaced with a new one.

Saharanpur district has a notorious history of caste-related clashes, especially involving the Dalits who form a major chunk of the population here.

In May 2017, Dalit-Rajput clashes led to large scale violence in the district. The Bheem Army, which is a Dalit organisation, is also active in the district. Its chief, Chandra Shekhar alias Ravana, was arrested and booked under NSA at that time and was released a few months back.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/tension-prevails-saharanpur-district-ambedkar-statue-desecrated-1502729746.html

The New Indian Express – First India-Nepal passenger train on broad gauge likely to begin from December

The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch.

New Delhi – India, 04 November 2018. The first passenger train to run on broad gauge between India and Nepal is likely to run from December this year, sources in the railways have told PTI.

The train will run from Jayanagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Dhanusa district in Janakpur Zone of south-eastern Nepal, which is a 34 km stretch.

An immigration check-post is likely to be established at Jayanagar station manned by either the Bureau of Immigration or the state government.

No visa will be required for Indian and Nepalese nationals crossing the border through this stretch, a source said.

The Nepalese authorities have informed the railways that the section will be opened with four trips and will ply in eight to 16 hour shifts.

While the first train is to be a passenger train, the Nepalese have stated that they want to run both passenger and freight trains on this section.

Nepal will take rolling stock, rakes, coaches and others, on lease from India for the purpose, another source said.

The ministry of external affairs have had several inter-ministerial meetings with the railways, government of Nepal and other stakeholders on this.

More meetings to finalise logistics are likely to take place.

The move is being seen as part of efforts to counter China’s plans to forge rail links with Nepal.

After Beijing decided to extend its railway network up to Kathmandu, New Delhi proposed the construction of new railway links during Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s recent visit to India.

Nepal and India have plans for four cross-border railway links, including one to link Raxaul to Kathmandu.

The Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line was originally built during the British Raj to transport logs from forests at Mahottari to India.

At that time, the line from Jayanagar in Bihar to Bijulpura in Mahottari was 52 km long.

More than 15 years ago, floods swept away the Bighi bridge, disrupting railway services on the 29-km stretch from Janakpur to Jayanagar.

The Rs 5.5-billion (Nepalese Rs 8.8 billion) project is divided into three phases.

The first includes construction of a 34-km segment between Jayanagar and Kurtha, the second comprises construction of an 18-km segment from Kurtha to Bhangaha in Mahottari district, and the third comprises construction of a 17-km segment from Bhangaha to Bardibas.

Of the total length, only three kilometres is in Indian territory.

The sale of tickets, the source said, will be through an unreserved ticketing system and passenger reservation system in Nepal which will be facilitated by the railways.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2018/nov/04/first-india-nepal-passenger-train-on-broad-gauge-likely-to-begin-from-december-1894204.html