Military Museums honour Sikhs connected with Canada's military

The Military Museums in Calgary have a new exhibit focusing on Sikhs and their connection to the military from a Canadian perspective.

Exhibit includes artifacts such as medals, postcards and toy soldiers

Pardeep Singh Nagra, executive director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada, gestures at a poster depicting Sikh soldiers. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

The Military Museums in Calgary have a new exhibit focusing on Sikhs and their connection to the military from a Canadian perspective.

The temporary display in the museum's atrium will run for three days, and includes items such as medals, turban and cap badges, and even toys depicting Sikh soldiers. There are also poster boards detailing the soldiers' lives and military service.

Canadian Forces Capt. Charan Kamal Singh Dullat co-organized the exhibit. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

"We are showcasing our soldiers who are forgotten, who have been hidden heroes," said Capt. Charan Kamal Singh Dullat. The Canadian Forces officer, who is Sikh, is one of four organizers of the weekend exhibit.

The exhibit includes a number of items lent from the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada in Toronto.

Spectators look at an exhibit featuring Sikh soldiers at the Military Museums. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

"It's fascinating to be able to share original artifacts, postcards, medals, toy soldiers, newspaper articles, and other great stories that sometimes people don't know about," said Pardeep Singh Nagra, executive director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada.

Toys depicting Sikh soldiers on display the Military Museums. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

Organizers say it's important to put a spotlight on groups that may not always be recognized for their contributions to major events in Canada's past.

Exhibit co-organizer Michael Hawley gestures at a display featuring a Sikh soldier. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

"It showcases a diversity in Alberta history," said Michael Hawley, an exhibit co-organizer who is also an expert in South Asian religions.

"If we take a look at the way in which history very often gets written and gets remembered, it … isn't as inclusive as it could be," added Hawley.

The exhibit runs from October 19 to 21, 2018. A larger exhibit will be featured at the Military Museums in April 2019 in honour of Sikh Heritage Month.

About the Author

Anis Heydari

Video Journalist

Anis Robert Heydari has worked in jobs ranging from cleaning up oil spills to fixing phone lines, but all those roads eventually led to being a jack-of-all-trades and CBC News reporter. Reach him at anis@cbc.ca.