On the occasion of ‘Remembrance Day’ the Peel Art Gallery and Museum Archives (PAMA Museum) inOntariojoined hands with the Rajput Community of Canadaand theHindu Heritage Foundation of Canada to celebrate the heroes of World War I and II, particularly thecrucial role played by the Rajput Princely States and theirregiments, marking the first-ever discussion on a global stage about the aforesaid subject.
Rajput regiments like the Jodhpur Lancerswere celebrated for displaying unparalleled valour in the battle of Haifa by valiantly ousting the Turks from Israel with swords and lances against a fortified Turkish position armed with machine guns and cannons. On the other hand, the hospitality of the revered ruler of Jamnagar who provided shelter to the polish children in distress was remembered with respect and admiration for his unconditional compassion.
The able leadership qualities of Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji Bikanerwere also brought to light by discussing how he became the sole non-white member of the British Imperial War Cabinet in the First World War to hold the honour of being the only Indian signatory of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, and how he became the first Indian to attain the rank of a General in the British Army.
The event also highlighted the indomitable spirit ofRajput bravery from the north that extended to the Dogra regiments nurtured by theMaharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and the rulers of Kangra. There was an interesting revelation about how the Raja of Kangraset up a gun manufacturing factory for the world war. It was also discussed how the state of Bhavnagarplayed a pivotal role by establishing a war hospital for soldiers.
Many lesser-known historical anecdotes were brought to light on this occasion by comprehensively discussing Rajput contributions in the great wars and their remarkable feats of bravery. Recipients of honours like the Order of British India, the Victoria Cross, the Military Cross, and those mentioned in despatches were remembered with great respect and admiration. It was an emotional journey for all the attendees to celebrate the soldiersrecruited from the length and breadth of the country.
The Chief Guest for this occasion was Canada’s Senior Politician Mr. Patrick Brown, the Mayor of Brampton, who paid his tribute to the Rajput warriors of the world wars and recognized the historic contribution of princely state armies from across the world to our history. The event stood out for its use of multimedia displays and digital kiosks, offering an interactive experience with background music, making it immersive.
A short film on the Jodhpur Lancers, Maharaja NawanagarDigvijaysinhJi, and Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji Bikaner, produced by the Rajput Community of Canada, was showcased. Endorsements from personalities like Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji of Jodhpur, Maharaja Aishwarya Chand Katoch of Kangra, Maharaja Dr. Karan Singh Ji of Jammu and Kashmir,MaharajRaghavendraRathoreof Jodhpur,Princess RajyashreeKumariof Bikaner, and Maharaja Jam Shatrushalya Singh Jiof Nawanagar were received. The event also hosted some special guests whose forefathers participated in the world wars and pivotal battles.
Maharaja Dr. Karan Singh Ji expressed his joy on this occasion by noting it as the first of its kind inworld historyand long overdue, congratulating the organizing committee for undertaking such a unique project.MaharajaAishwaryaChandKatochof Kangraupon learning that the Remembrance Day event is being hosted by the Rajput community of Canada sent a generous note of appreciation. He was elated to note that this event brought forth information buried under modern news cycles, extensively showcasing the Katoch and Jamwal dynasty of Kangra and Jammu-Kashmir, particularly their contribution towards establishing the Dogra Regiment.
The relentless efforts of Parakram Singh Jhala, YogeshwarPratap Singh Rana, Navneet Singh Dodiya, Deveshwar Singh Rathore,Yadvendra Singh Shaktawat and their dedicated team delivered forgotten history to the modern era, and provided insight into how Rajput soldiersshaped global history.The Rajput regimentsfought for the freedom of their own and for the freedom of otherswithsteadfast faith in their Kshatriya Dharma and this event was a humble effort to celebrate their glory on foreign shores. To sum up their magnificent past in the words of Thakur ShriJessraj Singh Sisodia, “To write at any length about the Rajputs is to relate the deeds and vicissitudes of one of the noblest and most ancient of known races, and to enliven many pages of the world’s history with startling episodes of romance. Their fame is recorded on every page of the stirring annals of the Rajput States of India.”