Saragarhi Day 2021: History, Significance, Soldiers, and Story of Kesari

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People called the Battle of Saragashi one of the last great battles in military history. In this battle, 21 Sikh soldiers fought 10,000 tribal members for more than six hours. Nearly 120 years later, the story of the battle of Saragarha finally surfaced. After the Netflix series 21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897, the story was retold in the movie Kesari, in which Akshay Kumar played Havildar Ishar Singh. The following is a recap of what actually happened before the TV show or movie was released. That day in 1897. the Battle of Saragarhi took place on September 12, 1897.

Saragarhi_Memorial_Ferozepur
Saragarhi Memorial Gurdwara, built-in 1904

21 vs 10,000. To the last man, with the last round.

Where is Saragarhi?

In the 19th century, Saragarhi was an inconspicuous small village in Northwestern Province. Today, it is only a few hours away from Peshawar near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Who fought the Battle of Saragarhi?

21 soldiers from the 36th Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army and more than 10,000 members of the Pashtun tribe participated in the epic battle of Saragashi. This battle took place nearly two decades after the Second Anglo-Arab War. The provinces of Central Asia have long been in conflict with local tribes and clans. There were many battles and hundreds of Indian soldiers were martyred for the British cause.

The Saragarhi Monuments
The Saragarhi Monuments

The names of the 21 Sikh soldiers were:

  1. Havildar Ishar Singh
  2. Naik Lal Singh
  3. Lance Naik Chanda Singh
  4. Sepoy Sundar Singh
  5. Sepoy Ramm Singh
  6. Sepoy Uttar Singh
  7. Sepoy Sahib Singh
  8. Sepoy Hira Singh
  9. Sepoy Daya Singh
  10. Sepoy Jivan Singh
  11. Sepoy Bhola Singh
  12. Sepoy Narayan Singh
  13. Sepoy Gurmukh Singh
  14. Sepoy Jivan Singh
  15. Sepoy Gurmukh Singh
  16. Sepoy Ram Singh
  17. Sepoy Bhagwan Singh
  18. Sepoy Bhagwan Singh
  19. Sepoy Buta Singh
  20. Sepoy Jivan Singh
  21. Sepoy Nand Singh

History of Saragarhi Day Battle

Fort Golestan and Fort Lockhart in Afghanistan were two fortresses under British control at the time. The fortresses communicate with each other through mirrors to display Morse code information. But the distance between them is quite large, so Saragarhi positions herself as an alarm station. Send messages from one end to the other. 21 soldiers from the 36th Sikh Regiment were assigned to guard this post.

The Ruins of Saragarhi
The Ruins of Saragarhi

In September 1897, it was reported that local tribes in Afghanistan were about to attack the fort, and everyone remained vigilant. On the morning of September 12, a guard from Saragarhi saw a cloud of dust rising in the distance. Two strong men. The words are back: the tribe will come. 10,000, maybe 14,000. “I need help,” Saragarhi showed the message through her mirror. “Unable to breakthrough. Stay strong,” is the answer.

For the next six hours, 21 Sikh soldiers under the leadership of Havildar Ishar Singh fought wave after wave of Afghan fighters. They aimed with a single-shot .303 rifle: every shot was fatal. , The Afghan army is retreating and trying to buy peace: they provide wealth and safe passage for soldiers. But Karsa’s principled fighters refused. The battle continues.

Now the tribe tried another strategy: they tried to make the soldiers smoke by setting fire in the nearby bushes, but it didn’t work, but the tribe members managed to break the wand, but Havildar Ishar Singh and his people persisted. With a small amount of ammunition, Saragarhi asked the British command for help again, but no one came.

Ishar Singh ordered his men to retreat to secure the last line of defense. He held himself tightly with a pistol and sword. Fight with one soldier at a time. The number of victims of Sikhism is increasing. Now comes the last man. even. Signalman Gulmuk Singh risked his life to send a message to his superiors requesting permission to use the mirror for weapons. Then the 19-year-old soldier shouted “Joe Bole Sau Nihal, Sat Sri Akal”. The brave Sikhs attacked the invaders one by one, killing nearly 20 people. Unable to catch the last one, the tribe set the fort on fire.

Here’s an excellent 8-minute recap of what happened on the day:

Who won the Battle of Saragarhi?

21 Sikh soldiers killed 180,600 Afghans. In the end, every soldier surrendered, but they fought for a whole day, giving Fort Lockhart and Gulistan Fort plenty of time to prepare. They also caused heavy losses to the invading forces. But it was quickly repelled by the British army.

Remembrance and Legacy

The epic “Khalsa Bahadur” is dedicated to the Sikhs who died in Saragari. This battle has become a symbol of Eastern military civilization, the military history of the British Empire, and the history of Sikhism.

The modern Sikh regiment of the Indian army continues to celebrate this battle. The British built two Saragarhi gurudwaras on September 12 each year, which is the day of military honor of the regiment. One is located in Amritsar, very close to the main entrance of the Golden Temple, and the other is located in Firozpur Canton in the Saragarhi area.

Saragarhi Day is a day of remembrance for Sikhs and is celebrated on September 12th every year to commemorate the Battle of Saragarhi. Every September 12th, Sikh soldiers and civilians around the world celebrate the anniversary of this battle. Every year, the regiment celebrates Saragari Day as a day of military honor.

The real story of Kesari

Akshay Kumar plays Havildar Ishar Singh in Kesari. The play begins on March 21 and tells the story of the epic battle of Saragarhi. This is a preview:

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  1. […] Saragarhi Day: History, Significance, Soldiers, and Story of Kesari […]

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