The Uganda postal service Posta Uganda has commemorated 100 years of Sikh presence in the country by issuing four postage stamps releasing a book titled 'The Human Rights of Women in Sikhism', by Justice AS Choudry, in a function held at Resort Beach Hotel, Entebbe, recently.
The four stamps depicted the gurdwara on Sikh Road, Kampala; the Khanda, the Nishan Sahib and the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
This is the first time that a country has issued four triangular stamps in recognition of the contribution of the Sikh community.
The stamps were released jointly by Posta Uganda and invited members of the Sikh community, with high court judge Lady Justice Catherine Bagumeriere as the chief guest.
Chief of Posta Uganda Emmanuel Okurt said the triangular stamps would market Uganda to Asians.
Justice Choudry said, "I am thrilled and humbled to see these stamps, as they mark our existence in Uganda over the last 100 years, and recognise the contribution of our forefathers, who were the pillars of the economic and social development of Uganda, which we enjoy today." He has also edited the Sikh Centenary Magazine.
Pastor Bosco Odiro said the Sikh history and contribution should be reflected in the curriculum of school history books.
In reply, Lady Justice Catherine described the Sikhs as a "meek, humble and peaceful" community, which has existed alongside Ugandans without any conflict, adding that their character should be emulated by all foreigners in Uganda. She assured the audience that she would present the concern raised by Pastor Bosco to the ministry of education.
The names of nearly 40 people were announced as winners of the Sikh Centenary Gold medals, which would be awarded at a function at the end of this year.
Participants included Gurmel Singh, secretary general of the UK Sikh Council, and Baldev Singh Bains, a member of the Sikh Council.
The Sikhs came to East Africa in the 1880s as soldiers who offered skilled and semi-skilled labour at a time when the region had no infrastructure, and curbed Kabaka's mutiny in 1899.