Prime minister Theresa May said on Wednesday (31) that she is scheduled to join a group of MPs in wearing Khadi Poppy to respect the Indian army men who lost their lives in the First World War.
The Poppy Appeal annual fund-raising event for war veterans is taking place this month, in the lead up to Armistice Day on November 11, 1918, when the great war concluded. Britons are known to wear a poppy on their lapels as a symbol of their honour to the war heroes who lost their lives in the war.
A khadi version of the poppy was started by Lord Jitesh Gadhia and the Royal British Legion for the first time in 2018 as a reminder sign of India’s ever memorable support to the British during the war.
“Over 74,000 soldiers came from undivided India and lost of their lives; 11 of them won the Victoria Cross for their outstanding bravery and played a crucial role in the war across multiple continents,” the prime minister said in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“I would like to congratulate the Royal British Legion and Lord Gadhia for recognising this special contribution with the khadi poppy and I will certainly be interested in wearing a khadi poppy as we lead up to Armistice Day,” May added.
The prime minister was answering a question by MP Tom Tugendhat, himself a former Army officer, who asked if she would join him and others in wearing a Khadi Poppy to honour the war heroes.
May accepted that the gesture would appreciate and recognise the contribution made by soldiers from the commonwealth countries, including India.
Tugendhat, chair of the Commons’ foreign affairs committee which is currently holding a ‘Global Britain and India’ inquiry into India-UK relations, told the British Parliament that the “home-spun cotton remembers Gandhi’s and India’s contribution to the war effort” and is a significant reminder of the UK’s links to India.
Over 1.3 million Indian soldiers fought in the great war across the continents. The Indians made a financial support of which equals current money value of more than £20 billion. India supported the British with 3.7 million tonnes of supplies, over 10,000 nurses and 170,000 animals during the First World War.