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The Lion’s Roar
Indie, The Portsmouth Grammar School
Winner of the 14 – 16 age category, Celebration Day writing competition 2023
Possessing the wondrous name that every male member of the Sikh community holds, I am
truly grateful to be a Singh. Having some thirty million Sikh adherents worldwide, every one
of us are able to come together from such a small faction, and join with such a bold and
valorous spirit. Singh means Lion; being a Singh is synonymous to being the King of the
Animals; to be a Singh is to be the most daring of them all. Nothing is more courageous than
a lion, so nothing has more courage than Princess Sophia Duleep Singh.
As my strong belief that the Suffragettes are the boldest and most heroic women to walk this
earth, my opinion is backed up heavily by this particular woman. Despite being the daughter
of the Maharaja Duleep Singh, Sophia was thriving to make a difference in Britain, whilst
also having much to live up to; she was also goddaughter to Queen Victoria. However, there
was much to use to her advantage here, as she could use her fame, position, and also her
fiery tenacity to accomplish her greatest dreams. In this case, it was the first time a Singh
would fight for gender equality in the early twentieth century.
Not only was the Suffragette’s Fight a battle that would hone the weapons of marching and
protesting, it was an era where violence and conflict was experienced ubiquitously. In spite
of having royal blood and a reputation to uphold, the Princess understood this was a
skirmish worth fighting – the mindset of a true Singh. First, it was time for her to face the
streets and join the ten thousand strong ‘Women’s War Work’ Procession led by Mrs.
Pankhurst herself, which involved clashes and the like. Having a background where fighting
invading empires was a regular occurrence, her inner Lion emerged as she rescued a fellow
suffragette from the assault of a police officer. Many women wouldn’t have dared oppose a
law enforcer, let alone Queen Victoria’s goddaughter, she further pursued him to ascertain
his identity to form a complaint: “The policeman was unnecessarily and brutally rough, the
Princess Sophia hopes he will be suitably punished.”
As if this wasn’t enough for the women’s warrior, she gambled even more risks by joining the
Women’s Tax Resistance League, and spoiled her 1911 census by boldly selling ‘The
Suffragette’ newspaper outside of Hampton Court Palace where she lived, a move that her
fellow royals strongly disapproved of: yet she still pushed through and let her true Singh
spirit shine. Through the midst of King George V’s request for her to cease campaigning, or
she would be removed from the Palace, Sophia knew that selling propaganda alone wouldn’t
scratch the sides. Displaying great perseverance and resilience to her reluctant royals, she
was arrested for taking part in physical and violent protests. Through my eyes, I think we
should take a moment to admire how brave this action was, to stiffen her upper lip, and
sacrifice her own reputation and the reputation of her family for what she believed in.
A true Lion.
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