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Book launch on the role of Indian soldiers in World War 1 by French historian Douglas Gressiux in the presence of the French delegation

Ludhiana: French Historian, Douglas Gressiux will be launching his book at an event in the Sarabha Nagar market of Ludhiana to celebrate the Franco-Punjab relationship. The French book titled, 'Les Troupes Indiennes en France 1914-18' talks about Indian soldiers who fought alongside the French in the First World War.

Small placards showcasing the glorious association of Punjab and France will be displayed at the event. A photo montage depicting French-Sikh connection will also be on view.

"I think, after the historic French cultural, military and logistic contribution to Lahore, Kapurthala and Chandigarh, it is time to link up Ludhiana and launch of this book is the beginning", said Harjinder Singh Kukreja.

"We cherish in our hearts the rose pinned by a French lady to the chest of a Sikh soldier on the streets of Paris nearly a century ago. The fragrance of the rose is still fresh in our minds and will continue to inspire us to explore our glorious past", said Douglas Gressiux at his book launch.

Ludhiana-the Manchester of India has a growing youth population with keen interest in French and European political developments, languages and the rising xenophobia in recent times. "There is vast potential for Punjab to set up a centre for Punjab-Paris co-operation in many areas." said Harjinder Singh Kukreja, a social activist and host of the event.

Among the many countries that have participated alongside the French in the World War 1, there is one that is often ignored: India and Punjab in particular. Punjab, then under British rule, made a huge contribution in WW1 in the north of France.

"The role of French General, Allard in training the Fauj-e-Khas of the army of Maharaja Ranjit Singh is another proud chapter of the joint French- Punjab heritage," said Harjinder Singh Kukreja who had represented Punjab at the installation of the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Saint-Tropez, France.

The author and historian, Douglas Gressieux has been working for 20 years on memories of soldiers of Indian origin in France. He is an expert on the role of Sikh soldiers in World War 1 and has been working with Sikhs de France, an organisation that represents French Sikhs to highlight the role of Sikh soldiers who fought the World War 1 for the freedom of France.
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