Colourful Heritage

We're raising £270,000 to build Scotland's first National Memorial to honour the British Indian Army

Colourful Heritage started 10 years ago to capture the rich and long South Asian story in Scotland. With inspiring videos, an exhibition, education resources and a digital timeline, we seek to preserve the stories of our elders for future generations
raised of £270,000 target
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The British Indian Army (BIA) played an instrumental role to protect Britain especially during World War 2 (WW2) and other conflicts. Over 2.5 million soldiers from the BIA fought to protect Britain during WW2. In addition, more than 87,000 Indian soldiers of various ethnicities and faiths including Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians and people of no faith lost their lives and countless others sustained life changing injuries during WW2.

Scotland has a special connection with WW2 and the BIA through a special contingent called ‘Force K6'. They were a mule transport contingent of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps of mainly Punjabi Muslim soldiers (nearly 1700) from the Pakistan side of undivided India that came and stayed in the Highlands of Scotland after escaping from Dunkirk during WW2.

Despite their immense sacrifices, how much do people across Britain know about their contribution? Is this history taught to our young people in schools? We want to get this message out and ensure that everyone in society knows about the amazing contribution from across the Commonwealth especially British India. We need your help to do so. Together with your support we want to build Scotland’s first National Memorial dedicated to the BIA.

Colourful Heritage are delighted to have been granted planning permission by Glasgow City Council, to construct the memorial within the grounds of the iconic Kelvingrove Art Gallery, which houses a painting by Henry Lamb of BIA’s ‘Force K6’ Driver: Abdul Ghani. The memorial will be a striking structure, designed in the Chattri (umbrella) style using red sandstone, resting on engraved pillars, that will serve as a permanent reminder of the contribution and sacrifice made by the BIA. We plan to also have a digital aspect to engage younger generations, and to exhibit a lesser-known aspect of history.

Scotland has over 4,900 war memorials to commemorate various regiments and countries. Our project aims to build a national memorial in Glasgow dedicated to the British Indian Army. The memorial will:

1) help to remember the BIA and their contribution to protecting Britain. It will be a fitting tribute to these soldiers that died alongside their British counterparts.

2) serve to enhance education that Scotland has a unique connection with the BIA in terms of ‘Force K6’ and highlight the amazing story of Isobel Harling BEM and her selfless commitment as well as many other connections (see digital schools resource pack for more).

3) be a tangible asset for the city of Glasgow and act as a focal point to bring both young and old people of different faiths & backgrounds together. In turn this will help them to reflect on their shared histories and further learn about the valuable contribution made by the BIA.  

Nearly 100 memorial designs and ideas were sent in by over 300 school pupils in and around Glasgow. Click here to see some of them!

A permanent memorial will show today’s generation that we have a shared past that needs to be remembered and commemorated and we have a shared future.

The BIA played vital roles in several theatres of war, and it's important that their contribution and sacrifice are recognised. Building a national memorial requires significant funds, and that's where we need your help. We are seeking crowdfunding support to help us raise the necessary funds to make this project a reality. Your contributions will go towards the construction and installation of the memorial. 

By supporting our crowdfunding campaign, you can help us build a national memorial in Glasgow that will serve as a fitting and lasting tribute to these brave soldiers. Please share this page and donate generously to help us make this project a reality. Thank you.

While this is a proud time for all those with connections to India, it will also provide the opportunity for future generations to learn about the brave sacrifice made by these soldiers. - Pam Gosal, MSP

About the charity

Colourful Heritage

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RCN SC044161
Colourful Heritage started 10 years ago to capture the rich and long South Asian story in Scotland. With inspiring first-hand video interviews, a museum exhibition, education resources, and a digital timeline, it seeks to preserve the stories of elders for future generations.

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