Ajai Singh (2021) publishes debut report

Ajai Singh

2021 mentee Ajai Singh has produced his first report on the unequal treatment of fallen soldiers of colour by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

Ajai’s piece details the ‘pervasive racism’ that a new report alleges exists in the CWGC, which led to up to 350,000 fallen soldiers from Black and South Asian backgrounds not being treated in the same way as their white counterparts.

He spoke to Verinder Singh, whose great-granduncle Thakur Singh was killed while fighting in the First World War. Thakur’s name was not inscribed in a memorial containing many of the names of his white counterparts.

However, thanks to this new report, this stands to change.

Claire Horton, Director General of the CWGC, said, ‘We are very sorry that the omissions that happened 100 years ago. It shouldn’t have happened, those people died for all of us and they mattered, and they should have been commemorated.

‘We’ll be working with communities affected, we’ll be telling those stories, and we’ll be making sure that they are properly commemorated as they always should have been.’

Ajai said, ‘It was a privilege to interview Verinder, whose great-grandfather and great-granduncle both fought in the First World War. It was also great to receive reassurances that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission will be rectifying this injustice. My thanks go to the Granada team for their help on this important news.’

You can watch Ajai’s full report here.