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Pacific Remembering Australia's Bearded, Turbaned War Heroes

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Pacific Remembering Australia's Bearded, Turbaned War Heroes

Ishna

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24 April, 2014

An often overlooked aspect of Anzac Day is the role Sikhs played both in fighting for, and dying in, Australia during wartime.

But it's a fact that often comes to the mind of New Zealand born, Australian tax accountant, Harjit Singh when he's called a terrorist walking the streets of his hometown of Perth.

"It doesn't happen as often anymore. However after 9/11 it did really pick up," he says.

Harjit follows the Sikh practice of wearing a turban and not cutting his hair or beard, but he talks with an accent that puts him in the league of Paul Hogan and Steve Irwin.

"I do some cultural diversity presentations for the WA Police down at the Academy. And when I rock up...I just talk in an Indian accent just to see what they think of me, and then in a few minutes' time I change it. It's quite funny; everybody judges, even I judge," he says.

Harjit's passion for breaking down prejudice led him to co-found the organisation Australian Sikh Heritage, which aims to promote the ties Australia has with Sikhs.

"One part of that rich shared heritage is with Anzacs and the Sikhs, and then a very important touch point in WWII being Manmohan Singh," he says.
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Full article including some photographs here: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2014/04/24/3991620.htm
 

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