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FAR FROM THE WESTERN FRONT
Sat, Feb 11, 2017, 3:30 PM – Mon, Mar 27, 2017, 6:30 PM GMT
Invitation to the opening of the Far from the Western Front Exhibition
Saturday 11th February 2017 at 5pm
Minhaj ul Quran Community, Education and Cultural Centre London
292 Romford Road, London E7 9HD
Minhaj ul Quran London, cordially invites you on Saturday 11th February at 5pm to the “Far from the Western Front” exhibition highlighting the role played by South Asians in the First World War. The exhibition has previously been shown at the Royal Geographical Society, and the Karamel Gallery, and has been referred to as “hugely moving”, “eye-opening”, “so, so important” and “beautifully presented”.
The exhibition is the result of a London-wide research project, started in response to a need for more awareness about the role played by South Asians in the First World War. For more than a year, members of the Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese and British communities across London have worked together to research and curate this exhibition for all, exploring the untold stories of South Asians in the First World War.
The exhibition challenges perceptions of the First World War as a European war, fought by white men in the trenches.
It is not commonly known that the First World War was fought in places like East Africa, Iraq, and in Gaza; or that over 1.5 million South Asian men (from present day India, Pakistan and Nepal) served in the British army. Or indeed that hundreds of thousands of South Asian men went to war not as soldiers, but as construction teams, cooks, laundry-men, and stretcher bearers, and that some did not return home until years after the war had officially ended.
In a 2013 YouGov survey for British Futures, less than half of British people were aware of India’s contribution in the First World War. But when told, 80% agreed that it was important for integration today that all children are taught about the shared history of a multi-ethnic Britain.
Far from the Western Front presents the stories of eight men and women across the globe, using previously unseen images, digital media, and personal experiences uncovered from the archives.
Uncover a more diverse picture of the First World War and its global impact through the stories of:
The Maharaja of Bikaner, as he charges on camel towards the enemy
Stretcher-bearer Sisir Sarbadhikari, piecing together his diary after two years hiding the pages in his boots
14-year-old Satoori Devi, challenging the norm by learning to read her father’s letters
Soldier Mohammad Aslam, shielding his eyes from scavenger birds in the Middle East
The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is delivered by the Council of Asian People, in partnership with the Pak Cultural Society, the Gurkha Veterans Foundation, and Collage
For Minhaj-ul-Quran, which has its UK headquarters in Newham, this is an auspicious event as we reach out to bring together people from all walks of life to understand and appreciate the tragedy of war, and recognise the contributions made by people from South Asia to the United Kingdom. It also recognises how history shapes our past, present. and our future and how we need to work together to create love and understanding.
Bringing the Exhibition into the heart of one of the most diverse communities in the country is of paramount importance, especially in Newham, where people from all over the world reside, and we hope that this will help build bridges between the communities.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Community Development Executive