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21 Indian’s act of valor created history

21 Indian’s act of valor created history

Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in/ Chandigarh

21 Indian’s act of valor created history in Saragarhi. Saragarhi battle is amongst the world most deadly battle, recognised by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). In this battle 21 Sikh soldiers of 36 Battalion fought with 10,000 Afghan (Pashtun) Orakzai Tribal forces on 12, Sept. 1897. The battle occurred in the North-West Frontier Province, which formed part of British India. It is now named the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and is part of Pakistan.

These 21 Sikh soldiers under the command of Havaldar Ishar Singh fought valiantly, with full courage and defended the post till their last breath. They all chose to fight to the death. It is considered by some military historians as one of history’s great last-stands.

21 Indian’s act of valor created history-Photo courtesy-Internet

Saragarhi is now in Pakistan, was an important link between the two forts of border district of Kohat. These two forts are Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan, situated a few miles apart. As these forts are not being visible to each other, Saragarhi Post was created midway as a Heliographic communication post. Tribal Pashtuns continued to attack British personnel from time to time. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a sikh ruler originally built the series of forts on the border belt.

On 12 September 1897, Pashtuns attacked Saragarhi, the singalling post, so that communication would be lost between the two forts. The Pathans attacked at around 9am, at that time each Sikh soldier has only 400 round of ammunition with them, they fought with courage, proper planning and failed the attempt made by Afghan rebels to capture an important post of Britishers- Saragarhi,but were repulsed with around 60 losses as the Sikhs fired upon the mass of men. The battle culminated at around 3pm when a section of wall under attack from the diggers began to cave in; the enemy gave a final cry to advance and rushed through the new gap. As the enemy crowded over their own dead and injured to get into Saragarhi, the few Sikhs remaining inside put up a stubborn defence but were forced to retreat into the inner defences. Ishar Singh is believed to have covered the retreat and engaged in hand-to-hand combat. Another sepoy secured the guardroom door from the inside and carried on firing, but was burned to death in an ensuing fire. The signaller Gurmukh Singh is said to have asked permission to pack away his equipment before joining the fight.

21 Indian’s act of valor created history -Photo courtesy-Internet

The 21 Sikhs had made a valiant last stand, and the enemy had paid a high price for their victory, with around 180 dead.

Britishers recognized their bravery and honoured each Sikh Soldier with “Indian Order of Merit” to all soldier, posthumously which at the time was one of the highest gallantry awards given to Indian troops. Never before or since has a body of troops – that is, all of them won gallantry awards in a single action.


List of Saragarhi Martyr’s

165 Havildar Ishar Singh

546 Lance Naik Chanda Singh

332 Naik Lal Singh

1651 Sepoy Jivan Singh

791 Sepoy Bhola Singh

1221 Sepoy Nand Singh

834 Sepoy Narayan Singh

814 Sepoy Gurmukh Singh

1321 Sepoy Sundar Singh

871 Sepoy Jivan Singh

287 Sepoy Ram Singh

1733 Sepoy Gurmukh Singh

492 Sepoy Uttar Singh

163 Sepoy Ram Singh

182 Sepoy Sahib Singh

1257 Sepoy Bhagwan Singh

359 Sepoy Hira Singh

1265 Sepoy Bhagwan Singh

687 Sepoy Daya Singh

1556 Sepoy Buta Singh

760 Sepoy Jivan Singh



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