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‘Flying Sikh’ Hardit Singh Malik to Be Honoured in UK Memorial

Twentieth century Sikh fighter pilot, cricketer and golfer from Oxford University Hardit Singh Malik is to be immortalised in a sculpture, the design for which has now been approved for a memorial in England.
As per PTI, a memorial will be erected in Southampton in memory of all Indians who fought in the World Wars.
The Community Hampshire and Dorset (OCHD) organisation has, as per PTI, informed:
“As such the statue to the legendary World War I hero, Hardit Singh Malik, the world”s first Royal Flying Corps (now the Royal Air Force) Sikh, turbaned fighter pilot will be emblematic for the broader Sikh contributions in the British armed forces of World War I and II, with Malik’s extraordinary accomplishments as a ‘touchstone’ for the whole Sikh community and other of its lesser-known heroes.”
Malik first entered the UK as a 14-year-old in 1908 to study at the Balliol College, University of Oxford. Following this, he joined the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.
He was the first Indian and turbaned pilot with a specialised helmet, and thereby dubbed “Flying Sikh”.
He also played cricket for Sussex, and went on to serve in the Indian Civil Services and then as the Indian Ambassador to France.
Dr Sanjukta Ghosh, Artistic Director at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS,) and OCHD Advisor, reportedly, told PTI:
“The public statue of Hardit Singh Malik embodies the spirit of inclusivity – representing the will to ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ at the intersection of two World Wars and minority enrolment in the RAF: a significant feat for an Indian at the time.”
The memorial is to be created by English sculptor Luke Perry, who, on his part, said to PTI:
“Monuments such as this are a vital part of the fight for equal representation. These artworks are long overdue thanks and recognition to the communities from around the world who have supported Britain in its past and continue to do so in vital roles, not just in the armed forces but our health care and every aspect of modern life.”
A Go Fund Me fundraiser is also inviting contributions for the memorial.
(With inputs from PTI)

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