By Surendra Prasad
This is to seek your support for a monument to honour Indian-Australian servicemen and women at the Sunnybank Returned Services League, Australia (RSL). This is a first for Queensland and we need the help of all those in the community working at grassroots level or otherwise to make this dream a reality.
India made the largest contribution to World War I of all Britain’s colonies and dominions. Indian soldiers played a vital role in Gallipoli and in many theatres of war around the world such as Italy, France, Belgium, Turkey and Iraq. Of the 1.3 million Indian soldiers who fought in World War I, 74,000 were killed. Up to 15,000 Indians fought with allied troops in Gallipoli. An estimated 1,400 Indians died in Gallipoli and another 3,500 were wounded.
The contribution in World War II was equally great. The Indian Army began the war, in 1939, numbering just under 200,000 men. By the end of the war it had become the largest volunteer army in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in August 1945. Serving in divisions of infantry, armour and a fledgling airborne force, they fought on three continents in Africa, Europe and Asia. Indian women also participated in this war but it is difficult to find accurate numbers.
Yet till recently Indian service men and women have remained forgotten in Australia. We have no monuments or events to remember the bravery and sacrifices they made fighting thousands of miles away from their families, home and motherlands or the bonds of friendship they forged with soldiers from Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.
The proposed monument will be a first step towards creating a collective public memory. But we cannot do it by ourselves. To make this dream a reality we need the contributions (monetary and non-monetary) and collaboration of Indians residents in Australia and our other Australian friends and supporters.
We seek your assistance to:
- Raise funds for the monument. We will need at least $30,000 in the first instance.
- Provide names of Indian communities and soldiers who may have been involved so that they can be acknowledged. We have been able to locate a few but need more.
- Send photographs of personnel and any memorabilia such as medals and letters which can be uploaded on the Facebook page for the Australia India Heritage Committee (under construction).
Every contribution counts. If you have any other suggestions or information you wish to share, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0413 004 100 / 0416 150 911.
If you wish to get involved, please contact any of the members below:
Name Email Address Phone/ Mobile
Surendra Prasad email@example.com 0413004100
Norma Todkill Norma.Todkill@aph.gov.au 33442622
Robin Jaggessar firstname.lastname@example.org 0416150911
Viral Shah email@example.com 0410549689
Shyam Dass firstname.lastname@example.org 0412031301
Graham Perrett MP email@example.com 33442622
Steven Haung firstname.lastname@example.org 34078500
Rashpal Singh email@example.com 0411036597
Parnam Singh Heir firstname.lastname@example.org 0434259285
Harry Classon email@example.com 0422525575
Kushagra Bhatnagar firstname.lastname@example.org 0450348432
Rakesh Sharma email@example.com 0411289202
Dr Indrani Ganguly firstname.lastname@example.org 0432382250