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GREATEST FIGHT-SARAGARHI - 21 SIKHS VS 12000 AFGANI PATHAN

Among world's top EIGHT Wars (UNESCO) - Generally, people think of Spartan & Greek warriers. They also like film like '300'. However, you should know about wars / fight which took place in Punjab, India between Afghans (12 Thousands in numbers) and Sikhs (only Twenty-one) in 1897.

Saragarhi is the incredible story of 21 men of the 36th Sikh Regiment  (currently the 4th Sikh Regiment) who lost their lives in devotion to  their duties. In keeping with the tradition of the Indian Army, they  fought to the death rather than surrender. The Battle at Saragarhi is  one of eight stories of collective bravery published by UNESCO (United  Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It has been  mentioned as one of the five most significant events of its kind in the  world, which includes the Saga of Thermoplyae associated with the heroic  stand of a small Greek force against the mighty Persian Army of Xerxes  in 480 B.C.

Saragarhi was a small village in the border district of Kohat, situated on the Samana Range, in present-day Pakistan. British had partially succeeded in getting control of this volatile area, however tribal Pashtuns attacked British personnel from time to time. Thus a series of forts, originally built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Ruler of the Sikh Empire, were consolidated. Two of the forts were Fort Lockhart, and Fort Gulistan(Sulaiman Range), situated a few miles apart. Due to the forts not being visible to each other, Saragarhi was created midway, as a heliographic communication post.

A general uprising by the Afghans began there in 1897, and between 27 August - 11 September, many vigorous efforts by Pashtuns (Afgani) to capture the forts were thwarted by 36th Sikh regiment. In 1897, insurgent and inimical activities had increased, and on 3 and 9 September Afridi tribes, with allegiance to Afghans, attacked Fort Gulistan. Both the attacks were repulsed, and a relief column from Fort Lockhart, on its return trip, reinforced the signalling detachment positioned at Saragarhi, increasing its strength to one Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) and twenty troops of Other Ranks (ORs).

On 12 September 1897,  12,000 Pashtuns attacked the signalling post at Saragarhi, so that communication would be lost between the two forts. This fight is being taught in Europe but unfortunately not in Indian curriculum.

At Saragarhi, the enemy made two determined attempts to rush the gate of  the post and on both occasions the defenders repulsed the assault.  While the enemy suffered heavy casualties, the ranks of the defenders  too kept dwindling as the fire from the attackers took its toll and  their ammunition stocks were depleting. Unmindful of his safety, Sepoy  Gurmukh Singh kept signalling a minute-to-minute account of the battle  from the signal tower in the post to Battalion HQs. The battle lasted  the better part of the day. When repeated attacks failed, the enemy set  fire to the surrounding bushes & shrubs and two of the tribesmen  under cover of smoke, managed to close in with the post's boundary wall  in an area blind to the defender's observation and rifle fire from the  post holes. They succeeded in making a breach in the wall. This  development could be seen from Fort Lockhart and was flashed to the  post.

A few men from those defending the approaches to the gate were  dispatched to deal with the breach in the wall. This diversion by the  enemy and the defenders' reaction resulted in weakening of the fire  covering the gate. The enemy now rushed the gate as well as the breach.  Thereafter, one of the fiercest hand-to-hand fights followed. One of the  Havildar Singh's men, who was seriously wounded and was profusely  bleeding, had taken charge of the guardroom. He shot four of the enemy  as they tried to approach his charge. All this time, Sepoy Gurmukh Singh  continued flashing the details of the action at the post. Beside this  the Commanding Officer of 36th Sikh and others at Lockhart Fort also saw  his unique saga of heroism and valour unfold at Saragarhi. The battle  had come too close for Sepoy Gurmukh Singh's comfort, so he asked  Battalion HQs for permission to shut down the heliograph and take up his  rifle. Permission was flashed back. He dismounted his heliograph  equipment, packed it in a leather bag, fixed bayonet on his rifle and  joined the fight. From this vantage point in the tower he wrought havoc  on the intruders in the post. He died fighting, but took 20 of the enemy  with him.

All these warriers were awrded posthumous 'Indian order of merit'. That was the equivalent of today's 'Pram Vir Cakra'. India's military history during this war of warriers taken by the most bizarre final verdict.

The names of the 21 recipients of the gallantry award are:

  1. Havildar Ishar Singh (regimental number 165)
  2. Naik Lal Singh (332)
  3. Naik Chanda Singh (546)
  4. Lance Naik Sundar Singh (1321)
  5. Lance Naik Ram Singh (287)
  6. Lance Naik Uttar Singh (492)
  7. Lance Naik Sahib Singh (182)
  8. Sepoy Hira Singh (359)
  9. Sepoy Daya Singh (687)
  10. Sepoy Jivan Singh (760)
  11. Sepoy Bhola Singh (791)
  12. Sepoy Narayan Singh (834)
  13. Sepoy Gurmukh Singh (814)
  14. Sepoy Jivan Singh (871)
  15. Sepoy Gurmukh Singh (1733)
  16. Sepoy Ram Singh (163)
  17. Sepoy Bhagwan Singh (1257)
  18. Sepoy Bhagwan Singh (1265)
  19. Sepoy Buta Singh (1556)
  20. Sepoy Jivan Singh (1651)
  21. Sepoy Nand Singh (1221)

Proud to be Indian!!!

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Comments

This truly was the greatest known fight
  • Nitin
  • 26/02/18

That is indeed happened and we should be very proud of our ancestors.


-Admin   26/02/18

Thanks for sharing great knowledge about our history.
  • Amita Srivastava
  • 19/02/18

Thanks for your comment. We should be aware of our history.


-Admin   19/02/18


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