Among the soldiers who gave their lives during World War I and II, were millions from India who left their homes, never to touch the country's shores again, not even for their last rites. Serving the Commonwealth, many of them hailed from Uttar Pradesh — the then United Province.
As a mark of respect to these war heroes, UK-based Commonwealth War Grave Commission (CWGC), in collaboration with a few of Commonwealth nations, will organise a grand commemorating service in March.
CWGC is also in talks with the governments of France and Belgium — two countries that witnessed maximum participation of soldiers from India.
"Being an important region, United Province gave many soldiers, which are buried in cemeteries in France, Belgium and other countries," said Keneilhouzo Sukhose, sector manager, India, Africa and Asia Pacific Area, CWGC. "In all, around 1.3 million Indian soldiers participated in the wars. Of these, around 7 lakh died on duty while several others succumbed to fatal injuries later on," he added.
One such soldier was Aashiq Hussain. "Hussain, who belongs to Indian Labour Corps of 45th United Provinces Labour Coy and is a resident of Badaun, died on March 16, 1918, during the war in France. He is buried in Bruay Communal Cemetery Extension in Pas de Calais in France," states his grave registration document.
Similarly, Belgium, which has the third highest number of graves after France and UK, too has graves of UP soldiers. "Sepoy Ram Singh from Kanpur, posted in 9th Bhopal Infantry of 1st Battalion, died on October 28, 1914 and is buried in Ypres memorial in Belgium," states his grave registration document.