BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London paid tribute to the heroes of the First World War by installing a poppy display outside the Mandir.
The poppy was adopted as a symbol of remembrance after World War I to honour those who served and sacrificed their lives. The Royal British Legion, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the War, launched its annual poppy appeal on 25 October 2018 by unveiling a 20-foot poppy memorial at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.
The memorial features moving messages from the First World War generation woven along the threads that culminate in the large red flower. The threads point to 14 other partner displays around the UK. The Legion explains that the aim of the partner displays is to “highlight how the legacy of the First World War is woven through the fabric of the nation, often in unexpected places.”
The Mandir has been selected for a partner display to pay tribute to the Indian Army for its sacrifices to protect a foreign land. More than 1.5 million Indian Army soldiers served in the Great War, while 70,000 were killed and 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded to their ranks.
The words of Indian Veteran Sepoy Waris Khan of the 22nd Regiment, Nowshera, are embedded in the display at the Mandir: “Do not be anxious my dear friend. Every man whom God created is bound to die someday.”
Other locations for the poppies include No. 10 Downing Street (London), Queen Mary’s Hospital (Sidcup, Kent), The Response Memorial (Newcastle), Deepdale Stadium (Preston), The Royal Pavillion (Brighton), The Library of Birmingham, Edinburgh Napier University, Ballyclare Football Club (County Antrim), and the Women’s Land Army Tribute (Staffordshire).
Kesh Morjaria, a volunteer at the Mandir, shared, “We are deeply honoured to have been chosen as a partner and offer our heartfelt respects to those who served so selflessly for our country and our peace and liberty. We hope that the many hundreds of tourists, worshippers and visitors who pass the Mandir each day will observe this display and take a few moments to offer their own personal respects and gratitude to our heroes.”
Photo Credit: The Royal British Legion