Postal stamp in commemoration of 100 years of Sikhs in Uganda

Published Date:   Thursday, Mar 13, 2014

Uganda has decided to release the postal stamp on the completion of 100 years of Sikhs in the country. The Uganda postal service ‘Posta Uganda’ has commemorated 100 years of Sikh presence in the country by issuing four postages. The four stamps depicted the religious sanctuaries ie; Gurudwara on Sikh Road, Kampala; the Khanda, the Nishan Sahib and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. This is the first time that a country has issued four triangular stamps in recognition of the contribution of the diaspora community in their own land. The stamps were released jointly by Posta Uganda and invited members of the Sikh community, with high court judge Lady Justice Catherine Bagumeriere as the chief guest. The confidence of Sikh community was also further boosted when Justice Anup Singh Choudry, a Ugandan born Sikh was appointed a High Court judge.

There are around 12,000 people of Indian origin living in Uganda. During 1800s, over 30,000 Indians, mostly Sikhs were brought on three years contracts from the places like Mombasa, Kampala and Punjab to build the Ugandan Railway under the aid of Imperial British contract. Over the time, some Indians died and others decided to return after completing the contracts but around 7,000 Indians chose to stay in Uganda. Later, both Hindu and Muslims who were brought to serve the economic needs of the indentured labourers joined the Gujarati traders. With the time, these Indians became very prosperous and dominated in the entire country which cause tussle between the African populations. This problem of anti-Indian resentment came to a crisis, when Idi Amin, the then Premier ordered for the expulsion of all Asians from Uganda in 1972. As a result, many Indians were expelled from the country furiously. Therefore, many Indian primarily moved to the United Kingdom, the United States and other parts of the world and began rebuilding their livelihoods.

There are also success stories of Sikh representing in parliament. The issuance of commemorative stamps has given a loud message of the inclusiveness of the current Uganda’s government policies and a positive signal towards racial harmony.



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