The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Pakistani village that gave its sons to fight for Britain
In this photograph taken on October 29, 2014, Pakistani resident Riaz Ahmed Malik (L) general secretary for the social welfare society of his village offers prayers at the grave of Captain Malik Ghulam Muhammad, a veteran of WWI in the village of Dulmial in Chakwal district some 150kms south of Islamabad. Down a broken road winding through a corner of Pakistan's Punjab province lies a silent graveyard, the resting place of hundreds of soldiers who fought for Britain in two world wars. AFP PHOTO/Aamir QURESHI.

By: Khurram Shahzad

DULMIAL (AFP).- Down a broken road winding through a corner of Pakistan's Punjab province lies a silent graveyard, the resting place of hundreds of soldiers who fought for Britain in two world wars.

Nestled in the rocky hills of Punjab's salt ranges, blasted by heat in the summer, the village of Dulmial is a far cry from the freezing mud of the Flanders trenches.

But the village, around 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Islamabad, gave 460 men to fight in the 1914-18 conflict -- more than any other single village in what was then British India.

By the end of World War I, nearly 1.3 million men from across the Indian subcontinent had volunteered for service, with 74,000 giving their lives in the fight against Germany and its allies.

As part of commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the British High Commission in Islamabad unveiled a plaque on Monday honouring Pakistani recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Three soldiers from what is now Pakistan were awarded the VC, Britain's highest military honour, for extreme bravery under fire.

Dulmial's contribution to Britain's war effort is recognised with a historic 12-pounder artillery gun, made in Scotland, installed on a marble platform in 1925 as a memorial and still kept an immaculate, gleaming black.

A few metres away, the primary school building has another plaque placed on a monument.

"From this village 460 men went to the Great War 1914-1919. Of these 9 gave their lives," the plaque reads.

Proud history 
Dulmial's military tradition continues to this day -- the district is still a fertile recruiting ground for Pakistan's armed forces. 

The WWI centenary has sparked interest in the village's history and the sacrifice made for the colonial rulers, who governed the subcontinent until it was divided into India and Pakistan at independence in 1947.

A one-room museum in the former home of late WWI veteran Fateh Muhammad Malik houses mementoes of the village's proud heritage -- a captured Italian battle flag, old military equipment and photos of soldiers.

"Three soldiers of our village received Indian Order of Merit (IOM) medals for their bravery and valour shown for the British forces during various wars," said Riaz Ahmed Malik, president of Dulmial's history society.

"The IOM medal was equivalent to the Victoria Cross because this top British military medal was not awarded to Indian soldiers before 1911."

Troops from the village were also honoured for bravery fighting in France in 1915, he said.

"Besides 460 men of our village who fought in WWI, at least 736 went to fight in WWII," Malik said.

We ate roots
Haji Malik Muhammad Khan was one of those men. Now 91 years of age, the old soldier is still fit enough to take a daily march across the village.

"I was recruited in the British army on December 11, 1940," he told AFP. "Everybody from our village was going to fight because there was great poverty around here." 

Khan's service with a Punjab infantry regiment fighting the feared Japanese took him to some of the toughest theatres of the war in the east -- Burma (now called Myanmar), Indonesia and Malaya (now Malaysia).

"There were many difficult times during the war," he said. "Many a time we had to eat the roots of banana plants to quell our hunger.

"Once our whole regiment was surrounded by the Japanese in the forests of Burma. As intelligence officer, I was assigned to get us out of the siege and thanks God I succeeded."

Almost 70 years after the end of WWII, Khan wants no one else to go through the horrors he witnessed as a young man.

"Disputes should be solved through talks. There should be no war. War destroys countries, lands, crops, people. War is a very bad thing," he said.

But for Malik, wars have put their village on the map, making it stand out from the thousands of others that dot Punjab.

"This cannon installed here is our pride. If we did not have this gun for our martial services, our village would have been like all others," he said.

"Our village sent the highest number of soldiers in WWI from Asia and we are proud of our history."

His mission now is to build a monument to accompany the gun, commemorating soldiers from the village who fought for Pakistan, as well as the British Empire.

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

November 12, 2014

artnet Auctions offers a selection of Robert Longo prints from his 'Men in the Cities' series

Jasper Johns' Flag fetches $36 million at Sotheby's and sets new auction record

Researchers say baby skeletons hint at death rituals of early people in North America

Patek Philippe gold watch fetches record $21.3 million at Sotheby's auction in Geneva

Christie's second auction in India features one of V.S. Gaitonde's last works

New Arts of the Pacific Gallery brings art and traditions of island cultures to Boston

Cranach portraits of Holy Roman Empire prince and his wife for sale at Bonhams

Guggenheim creates new curatorial position for architecture and digital initiatives

Exhibition of new works by Joseph Montgomery on view at Peter Blum Gallery

Bonhams to offer one of the most significant works of modern Greek art ever to appear at auction

Christie's Hong Kong announces Chinese Paintings Autumn Auctions on 24th and 25th November

European Central Bank picks Italian, Bulgarian, British artists for new headquarters

Warhol image of Ingrid Bergman heads 'Scandinavian Eye Exhibition' in London

'The Voorhees Legacy, in Art: A Place in America' at Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Morton & Eden to sell only 'Double' distinguished flying cross ever awarded to Indian airman

The Pakistani village that gave its sons to fight for Britain

Art Stage Singapore announces 2015 fair line-up and programme

Garment District Space for Public Art presents exhibition showcasing nine emerging dye artists

Dallas Museum of Art names Cynthia Calabrese Director of Development

Art Gallery of Ontario presents career-spanning survey of photo-based artist Suzy Lake

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers to sell estate of Kansas City interior designer James J. McKiernan

Outsider Art Fair announces 2015 exhibitor list

Western artist C.M. Russell's 'Spirited Chase' heads Bonhams' California Paintings auction

Yarat's new centre for contemporary art to open in Baku

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful