Chinese Maritime Customs Service men, Shanghai

Chinese Maritime Customs Service men, Shanghai


University of Bristol - Historical Photographs of China reference number: Jn-s48. Photograph mounted on card, which has been cut back, maybe taking off the name of the photographer too. Group of men (Sikh and European men, with one Chinese man) in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service - with one boy standing behind a shield with Khanda and text (now illegible, due to fading of photograph). Photograph taken in a room, perhaps in gurdwara or the Customs House? The little boy is Harbhajan Singh Sangha who had to get his hair cut in order to attend school in the French concession. Sikh children with unshorn hair were not allowed to attend school, as such informal education for Sikh children happened at the Sikh temple (gurdwara). In the back row the fourth person from the left is Bishan Singh (from the village Brahmpura in the district Amritsar in Punjab), who was a very good friend of Jaskaran Sangha's grandfather and a colleague at the CMCS. He heeded to Subhash Chandra Bose's call to join the Indian National Army (INA), in addition to calls from the Japanese forces occupying Shanghai during WW II. He was later caught by the British fighting in Burma, imprisoned in Singapore and freed after Indian independence. Jas Sangha's father remembers Kartar Singh Sangha telling how the community did a send-off for Bishan Singh when joined the INA. Our family association with Bishan Singh continued even after Kartar Singh Sangha died in 1975. Bishan Singh used "Shanghai" as his last name after his return to India. The person sitting second from the left in the front row, is Sajjan Singh. He worked for the CMCS as well and was from the village Sur Singh near Amritsar (Majha).



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Black and white photograph

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