If I were to ask you “Which war had a handfull of soldiers with thousands of enemy soldiers?”
I am sure most of you would say “GREEK SPARTANS AND PERSIANS” on which even a movie 300 is made. We ALL proud of these 300 soldiers who didn’t let their country face shame and defeat in hand of the enemy.
Now what if I tell you that even a greater war was fought by indian Sikh soldiers. I believe our chest would broaden in pride. Most of us do not know the story of the ultimate sacrifice because our education system has not changed since the time of British.
Today i am going to tell you of 21 Sikh army men whose name are written in history in golen words. This is an event of year 1897 when a British fort which now is is in Pakistan (Khyber Pakenkhua).
36 Sikh Regiment fought 12000 Afgan invaders with determination, bravery and valour.
Saragarhi firt was most important from warfare strategy point of view as it did the work of communication between the forts using morse code with mirrors where in it depended on sunlight.
This they had to adopt because Afgan would cut any telegraphic wires laid. On 12th Sep 1897 Afgan arrmy with help of local forces attacked post. On this day 12000 Afgan soldiers surrounded saragarhi fort in all directions.
Sikh Regiment incharge Gurumukh Singh sent message to Cornell Hoffton ( who was in Lokhart fort) for much needed help, but got reply that reinforcements could not be sent due to various challenges including weather conditions.
Now it was 21 Sikh army soldiers verses 15000 Afgan intruders. The Afgan intruders tried to intimidate Indian Sikh troops to surrunder but the bravehearts decided to fight the odds out.
Sepoy Lal Singh and Bhagwan Singh surprised the enemies by moving out of the fort and attacking large army head on, capturing enemy cannons, guns and finally fought with swords.
After a brave and valour fight they gave ultimate sacrifice of their life. Looking at the bravery of just two soldiers, the enemy camp shivered in fear and terror.
Sikh command Ishar Singh led the army with great strategy, tacticaal and kept the Sikh army united midest of the wildest attack by enemy gunmen, archers, swordsmen.
They all chanted,JO BILE SO NIHAL. This slogan frightened the enemies and made them think that there is a very large army inside.
The enemies finally found the weakest door of entry in the fort and broke it open and entered the fort.
Sikh Regiment attacked every enemy intruder from morning to late night. Slowly all bravehearts gave ultimate sacrifice of their life with only Ishar Singh left.
Ishar Singh fought like a war god alone with more than 20 Afgan soldiers attacking him. Even the Afgan king watched him with all praise. Finally he was killby setting the fort on fire. Ishar Singh kept fighting despite all the fire and kept shouting the slogan JO BOLE SO NIHAL SASRIYAKAL . One side a team of 21 sik soldier and other side 14000 afgan soldiers. Each had killed atleast 600 soldiers.
In this great war Afgan army had taken huge losses and were forced to deviate from their planned strategy for war.
When this news reached Europe, no one believed this until Cornell Hofften reported this incident to Queen of England following which the British parliament payed respect to 21 braveheart soldiers with their salutes.
UNESCO Identified this war as the best war fought till date among 8 great war in history.
36 Sikh Regiment celebrates Saragarhi day every 12 September. On this day the regiment remembers 21 lionhearted soldiers who anhilatted 12000 Afgan enemy.
A famous poem “Khalsa Bahadhur” was written in their memory.
In Britain, France and other European countries, the battle of Saragarhi is taught but not in India.
Only two years back schools in Punjab started teaching it, that too after pressure from 36 Sikh regiment
Freinds, we have heard and praised story of Grèek Spartans bravery, but the brave decicion by Sikh Regiment to fight the war instead of running away from an obvious death in hands of large army.
This great war is beyond every possible boundaries of imagination. We should alway respect the brave soldiers. Even today we have same situation and we have no regard for them. Rather we criticise them under the lens of human rights, putting them subject to civil crime of murder for doing their job.
We never praise or present a soldier with smile. Giving donations to Army at event like “Army Flag day” and other days of army is considered a foolish act.
Have become greedy as a pig?
If we are taking breth peacefully, it’s only because of them. We don’t even remember them properly on independence and republic day. Our soldiers spend 24 hours guarding us 24 hours of 365 days.
Please also feel free to refer to Wikipedia for more details.
Also recently there has neen 65 episode serial on this. You can find it in YouTube.
With atmost reverence and repects to all soldiers.
Jai Jawan JAI Hind