A Sikh in the British Army raised awareness of the Sikh faith in one of the most remote parts of the world, having held a Turban Day event in the Falkland Islands.
On the 5th October 2017, Lance Corporal (LCpl) Manpreet Singh Lally organised a the event at the Mount Pleasant School, with over 70 personnel taking part. A serving Sikh soldier, LCpl Lally has been part of the British Army for the last four and half years where he serves as a Communication System Engineer in the Royal Signals and is currently posted to the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI).
LCpl Lally said of the event, “I organised the Turban Day in order to educate BFSAI personnel and their families about Sikhi, to tell the audience about the importance of the dastar (Sikh turban), and to raise awareness about Sikh history. The event was the first time that a Turban Day has been celebrated in British Army history.”
LCpl Lally, assisted by SAC Sarah McGhin from the Royal Air Force, tied dastars from 10am until 12.30pm. The event has hosted by headmaster Gary Margerison and was attended by the BFSAI Chief of Staff, Group Captain Jim Frampton and BFSAI Padre, Squadron Leader Rebekah Cannon.They were among more than 50 people, including students, teachers and service persons, to wear a dastar, which is a new record for the Falkland Islands. Leaflets from Sikh educational organisation Basics of Sikhi were also distributed to the audience. The material for the dastars and the leaflets were donated by Mr Sarabjit Singh of England, a volunteer of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara of Bradford.
The event concluded with LCpl Lally delivering a presentation about Sikhi which discussed the importance of the dastar, contributions of Sikhs from all across the world and a brief look into Sikh history. Amongst those LCpl Lally talked about were Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh scriptural Guru, Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan, Fauja Singh the world’s oldest marathon runner and Harman Singh, a New Zealand man saved a child’s life with his dastar.
LCpl Lally also talked about the contribution of Sikh soldiers in both World Wars, in which a staggering 83005 Sikhs lost their lives, and finished by talking about his brother Ajay Singh, the taxi driver who made national headlines for his role in rescuing and transporting people injured people during the Manchester Arena attack.
Sukhdeep Singh, an educator for Basics of Sikhi said, “It is great to see that in this most remote part of the world this Sikh has spent so much time and effort into ensuring he educates people on his faith.
“Sikhs can stand out so much that our physical identity, which was gifted to us by our Guru, can naturally prompt questions from those unfamiliar with Sikhi. This is why these events are important, so that people understand what the physical identity represents, and thus what they should think of when they see a Sikh.”