Sikhs have always been known for their valour and strength. Today’s story is about a group of such Sikh Soldiers who have not only saved the country from the Afghans, but have left a story full of inspiration.
The group leader who led this was Havaldar Ishwar Singh and he was deployed as a British Army Regiment leader of the guards at the Saragarhi Fort, now in Pakistan. He was the leader whose name is immortal at the battleground of Saragarhi.
It is his story that is drawing our attention 120 years later today and all thanks to a bollywood movie Kesari. On the border of Afghanistan and India, British built three forts namely Fort Lockhart, Fort Gulistan and Fort Saragrahi. These were built to make the border area strong enough for the Britishers and was manned by 21 Sikh soldiers including Havaldar as their leader.
On 12 September 1897, the fateful day arrived when Afghans tried to attack the Fort Saragrahi as they understood it was guarded by a very inadequate number of army men. Fort Saragrahi intimated the other nearby forts, but did not receive the right response.
As the leader, Havaldar had to make a decision and we all know there is a saying by the famous Guru Gobind Singh quote
“One Sikh can fight with 1.5 lakh people”. Imagine there were 21 Sikhs, Havaldar closed his eyes and found his Eureka Moment in which his guru.
Havaldar announced battle and fought till his last breath, killing 600 Afghanis and injuring thousands. Being a soldier he has fulfilled his duty with complete dedication and honesty. India takes pride in having these men as their warriors.
We all must have immense respect for these brave warriors who put their lives at stake each and every day for our safety and happiness. The modern Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army continues to commemorate the Battle of Saragarhi on 12 September each year as the Regimental Battle Honours Day. To commemorate the men the British built two Saragarhi Gurudwaras: One in Amritsar, very close to the main entrance of the Golden Temple and another in Firozpur Cantonment in the district that most of the men hailed from.