British Army Officers Pay Tribute to Saragarhi Martyrs

How 21 Sikhs faced 10,000 Afghan soldiers at Battle of Saragarhi.


A delegation from the British High Commission, including several members of the British Royal Army, saluted the Sikh martyrs of the battle of Saragarhi at an event in Ludhiana on Sept. 11.

“This is the story of two nations — the British and the Sikhs, who first met in the battle field and left as friends. The Sikhs in the British army carry on that tradition of valor,” Colonel John Richard Kindall, who attended the event commemorating the 120th anniversary of the battle, said, Tribune India reported. He praised the valor of the Sikh soldiers, and their loyalty towards fellow personnel, the army, and the country.

Major Sartaj Singh Gogna, who is now a part of the British Royal Army, recalled that he drew inspiration from the battle of Saragarhi to join the force at the age of 21. He added that he was just two years old when his parents migrated to the UK, and after completing a pharmacy course, he understood his true calling and joined the British Army.

Ranvir Singh, another British Royal Army personnel, said that the Sikh members in the force are following the religion’s values and ethos.

Battle of Saragarhi: Show of Sikh Valor

The battle of Saragarhi is considered one of the most ferocious battles fought in history. It involved a clash of 21 Sikh members and a non-combatant of the 36th regiment of the British Army with 10,000 Afghan tribesmen on Sept. 12, 1897. Killing more than 200 Pashtun Orakzai opponents, the British Army held their ground and proclaimed the bravery of the Sikh people to the whole world.

When the British Parliament heard the news, it halted the session midway to give a standing ovation to the 22 persons who were killed in the battle. The entire regiment was given ‘Indian Order of Merit’, the highest award given to Indian army officials at that time. It was also the first and the last time that an entire unit received a gallantry recognition.

Battle of Saragarhi Continues to Inspire People

A serving woman squadron leader who hails from the family of Naik Lal, one of the 22 martyrs, that the Hindustan Times that the Union government should also follow the footsteps of the Punjab government and declare a holiday on September 12 to commemorate Saragarhi day.

“I grew up listening to how 21 soldiers and a non-combatant killed more than 200. I was told how my great-great-grandfather, who was seriously injured, continued to fire till his last breath. It made me who I am today,” said the young woman who sought anonymity due to the Air Force Code of Conduct.

Films on Battle of Saragarhi

Three films based on the ‘Battle of Saragarhi’ are getting ready for release in Bollywood. Rajkumar Santoshi’s Battle of Saragarhi, with Randeep Hooda and Vikramjeet Virk in the lead roles, is expected to hit the screens next year.

Bollywood action icon Akshay Kumar and Karan Johar are joining forces for a new movie titled Kesar, which is also expected to be based on this battle.

Recently, Ajay Devgan also revealed that he will be making a big budget film based on the same incident with the title Sons of Sardaar: The Battle of Saragarhi.

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