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12th Sept: Reminiscing 125 Years of Indelible Heroism in Battle of Saragarhi

12th Sept: Reminiscing 125 Years of Indelible Heroism in Battle of Saragarhi

12th Sept: Reminiscing 125 Years of Indelible Heroism in Battle of Saragarhi
valiant endeavours

Saragarhi, the battle of heroic action fought by a small detachment of Sikh soldiers against heavy odds, took place on 12 September 1897 in the Tirah region of North-West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan). The heroes of Saragarhi, barely 21 in number, belonged to the 36th Sikh Regiment, since re-designated as the 4th Battalion of the Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army. During a general uprising of the turbulent Pathan tribals of Tirah in 1897, the battalion was deployed to defend Samana Ridge, a hill feature 8 km in length separating the Kurram and the Khanki valleys. About 10,000 Afridis and Orakazais tribesmen swarmed towards Saragarhi. For the next six hours the small detachment of 21 men led by Havildar Ishar Singh stood firm and repulsed all attacks. With passage of time the ranks of the Sikhs started getting thinner and their ammunition was running out. But they never faltered and continued to punish the enemy. The enemy succeeded in making a large breach in the outer wall and swarmed in, the Sikhs fought to the last man. All the 21 men were given the posthumous award of Indian Order of Merit, Class 1 (IOM). This was the highest gallantry award given to Indian ranks in those days and was equivalent to the Victoria Cross.

The Saragarhi Battle of the Sikh Regiment is one of the ten most famous battles of the world. Even to this date, this battle forms part of the school curriculum in France. 12th September, the day of the Battle of Saragarhi, is celebrated as the Regimental Battle Honours Day.

Memorials were built at Ferozepore and Amritsar to commemorate their bravery, three gurdwaras were erected — one at Saragarhi, the venue of the battle, the second at Firozpur called the Saragarhi Memorial and the third at Amritsar, called Gurdwara Saragarhi.

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