Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sikhs and Shanghai: An Age Long Past

Sikhs in Shanghai: Relic from a Forgotten Time


When China was a weak nation the British wishing for a toehold in China subjected the Chinese to the famous "Opium wars" which led to the defeat of the Chinese and the hoisting of unequal treaties.. In 1900 the Chinese made a last-ditch attempt to overthrow the western powers in what is known as the Boxer rebellion, but they were again defeated and the most famous siege of Peking was lifted after 55 days. This was the period when the British inducted regiments of the Indian army consisting of Sikhs to fight the Chinese. The Sikhs played a stellar role in defeating the Chinese. 
This was also the time when the western powers got special privileges in China and the city of Shanghai became the focal point of these interests. The British began to man all the civic services and the police in Shanghai. To help them the British brought in Sikhs from Punjab in India. These Sikhs joined the Shanghai police force and for the next 40 years they continued there till the advent of the Japanese and the ousting of the British

Sikh policeman
Sikh policeman
Sikh gurudwara in 1908
Sikh gurudwara in 1908

The British brought in the Jat Sikhs from Punjab. These men nearly 6 ft. tall overawed the small Chinese who began to fear them. The British inducted these Sikhs in the Shanghai police force. The Sikhs also brought in European sports like Hockey and cricket. The Sikhs were all in the lower ranks and many were part of horse battalion. Many pictures of these Sikhs are available in the museum in Shanghai, now managed by the communist regime.
The Sikhs also erected at least 6 Gurudwara in Shanghai. All have now been destroyed. Many were restored after the exit of the Japanese but the communists who frowned on religion destroyed them. Presently perhaps one Gurudwara is still in Shanghai.

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