Archive: Aug 2013

  1. Watch Now: “Sikhs At Sandhurst” HD

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    This time last summer, my filmmaker colleague Juggy* and I walked through the corridors of Royal Military Academy, to discover the hidden history of “Sikhs at Sandhurst”.

    Being given rare access to film around the site was a tremendous honour- and on a hot English day we were duly rewarded for our efforts in capturing our glorious past with remarkable insight into the place where British (and Commonwealth) officers come to train.

    It’s a place that has a phenomenally strong Sikh presence- yet it’s largely unknown to those outside of the military community.  As a reservist I’ve always been in awe of the glorious ways in which Sikhs are celebrated at Sandhurst, but many Indians might not appreciate it’s sentiment or meaning without being prompted.

    So we’ve made a film to highlight the Sikh story at this fine military institution – and crucially to provide a broader understanding of the Sikh presence there and what it means today.

    It’s our latest production from the “Sikhs At War” series of online films we make to raise awareness of our history and heritage.

    In the film you will particularly discover:
    – Why Queen Victoria gave special permission to the son of the last ruler of the Punjab to attend the academy
    – Why the British deployed Sikhs in large numbers to unruly Afghanistan
    – How the British chose to remember the Sikh bravery and heroics with a special stained glass window
    – How British-Sikh history continues to inspire current generations to serve their country

    “Sikhs At Sandhurst” is available to watch in HD widescreen below or here.

    Sikhs have a unique and fascinating story of interaction with the British, something that as a third generation British Sikh I am very proud of and want to ensure people from all backgrounds appreciate too.

    This interaction began with the Anglo-Sikh wars, which saw the British conquer the Punjab after two bloody wars which they nearly lost.  The fall of the Sikh empire was a tragic loss, but rather than remain enemies the Sikhs served the British and soon became the most trusted of allies.

    This swift transition laid the foundations for the valiant contribution of the Sikhs on the frontier and during the World Wars, which we will be exploring as we head into the conflicts centenary.

    We will soon bring you an update on how we intend to launch this film – and give it the international media publicity it deserves.  We will also be showcasing it worldwide at film festivals and presentations.

    Until then – do watch and enjoy the film and do continue to visit and support all our channels and social media networks:


    Twitter: @DotHyphen
    Facebook: DotHyphenProductions
    Youtube: DotHyphenProductions / DotHyphenPublishers

    * Final thought: a special thanks to Juggy Singh Rehnsi, my creative director (left), who has stood by this project and it’s aims and aspirations through the technical difficulties we encountered in bringing you this story.

    This film should have been released earlier than it has.  Not to bore you with details, but quality productions are very important to us.  So is being innovative and working with the limited resources we have to make films that do justice the story of Sikh bravery and heroism.

    It is my hope that while we continue to use our expertise and passion for British Sikh history to bring you such productions, we also have your support in making them happen.

    If you would like to contribute by funding or sponsoring a production please do email us directly.

  2. Queen Victoria and Saragarhi

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    Much is made of Queen Victoria receiving news of the events at Saragarhi – but is this fact or fiction?

    One myth already established, through my research for “Saragarhi: The Forgotten Battle” is that there was no standing ovation in Parliament as the news of the battle was read out.

    This is incorrectly stated on many websites (including Wikipedia) and incorrectly pedaled by heritage types – I’d suggest going onto the official record of Parliament on Hansard and searching for yourself.

    Another reason why no ovation took place is because it is not in order to clap in the chamber (while this rule has been tested in recent times e.g. Tony Blair’s last PMQ’s during Victorian England this would never have happened).

    So what did Queen Victoria know of Saragarhi?  From my research I discovered that:
    – Victoria was at Balmoral in Scotland at the time
    – She received a Renter’s telegram about the battle four days after it happened

    And most importantly:
    – She writes about the “splendid behaviour of the Sikhs in defending Fort Cavagnari for 30 hours.”

    More details can be found in “Saragarhi: The Forgotten Battle”

    [PS would someone like to update Wikipedia?!]

  3. Remembering Saragarhi: Author’s Interview with Jay Singh-Sohal

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    Here’s the latest “Remembering Saragarhi” clip.

    In it, I answer the four questions that people always ask me about Saragarhi:
    – What is it?
    – What exactly happened?
    – Why write about it
    – Why was it forgotten.

    In short, here’s some answers from the clip:
    – It’s a battle of epic proportions that took place  in 1897
    – 21Sikhs made a defiant last stand against 10,000 Pathans, fought and died
    – Because it needs exploration through factual history
    – It was overshadowed by other campaigns and eventually the Great War, but it’s significance is strong