Hindustantimes wants to start sending you push notifications. Click allow to subscribe

British Army celebrates Sikh festival of Holla Mohalla

ByPress Trust of India
Mar 23, 2024 08:32 AM IST

This year’s British Army Sikh Holla Mohalla event took place at the Ash Ranges in Hampshire, south-east England, on Tuesday and involved traditional games such as tug of war and quoits as an ode to the military forebears who played these games

London The British Army celebrated Holla Mohalla with several British Sikh officers from the Defence Sikh Network (DSN) organising the annual spring festivities that showcase the spirit of courage, preparation, and readiness.

Sikhs have been serving in the British Army since the 1800s and there were many Sikh regiments in the British Indian Army, who won battle honours including Victoria Crosses for immense bravery. (PTI)

The festival dates back to the 18th century when it was initiated by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, as a celebration of military prowess during which martial skills are honed and exhibited in fierce but well-natured competition. This year’s British Army Sikh Holla Mohalla event took place at the Ash Ranges in Hampshire, south-east England, on Tuesday and involved traditional games such as tug of war and quoits as an ode to the military forebears who played these games.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

Defence Sikh Network said its members, mainly the soldiers from the British Army, celebrated the Sikh Military Festival by taking part in the military shooting competition, traditional Sikh martial arts and traditional Sikh military games and finally finished the festival with rang, the throwing of coloured powder as a mark of victory.

The network is the official organisation within the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) that supports inclusion from a Sikh perspective. The network said the festival particularly resonates with the Sikhs within the country’s armed forces and therefore it began celebrating it in the British Army in 2021.

“We feel this should be one of the premier events in the Sikh calendar to ensure our martial tradition continues. This event is a celebration of our longstanding tradition of Sikh military culture and values,” the Defence Sikh Network said.

Sikhs have been serving in the British Army since the 1800s and there were many Sikh regiments in the British Indian Army, who won battle honours including Victoria Crosses for immense bravery. Over 84,000 Sikhs died during the two World Wars and more than 100,000 were injured.

At present, there are 160 Sikhs in the British Army, and the Defence Sikh Network would like to see more Sikhs join the ranks as cadets, reserves or in full-time service.

Holla Mahalla is often described as the annual Military Expo of the Sikh Armies. At Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, where Guru Gobind Singh first conceived this idea in 1701, participants enjoy various displays of fighting prowess, horse-riding and mock battles. The event concludes with a long military-style procession.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
OPEN APP