Sikhs working on the Death Railway: Blood, toil, tears and sweat


A section of the Death Railway bridge over the Kwai Noi River in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand. — 123rf.com

The Death Railway line from Ban Pong in Siam (Thailand) to Ye in Burma (Myanmar) was built over 76 years ago by Prisoners of War (PoW) and slave labourers. Besides the Tamils, Chinese and Malays, a large group of Sikhs also worked on the infamous railway.

At the beginning of the construction, about 50,000 Allied PoW were taken as slave labourers. When this workforce proved incapable of meeting the tight deadline the Japanese had set for completing the railway, an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 Asiatic labourers were enticed or coerced into joining.

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