The battle of Saragarhi is simultaneously one of the greatest and least well know battles to have taken place in the history of India. The battle of Saragarhi Is considered as one of the greatest battles in the history of British India due to the conditions faced by the 21 Sikhs of the 36th Sikh Regiment. The battle took place on the 12 of September 1897 at the Saragarhi communication’s outpost where 21 Sikhs of the 36th regiment stood against 10,000 tribal Afghan Pathans who had declared a Jihad on the British Empire.
The 21 Sikhs positioned themselves in their defenses within the surrounded outpost with an average of 40 rounds per solider. Each solider fought courageously until their end with reports of one Sikh solider killing up to 20 enemy soldiers in fierce hand to hand combat. The Lockhart and Gulistan forts situated close buy where unable to send reinforcements to aid the 21 Sikhs as they were cut off buy enemy forces.
News of the battle and the gallantry of the 21 Sikh solder’s who sacrificed their lives for the greater good of their country spread throughout India and even to the Queen of England. It is possible if not highly likely that the battle and the bravery of the 21 Sikhs inspired other Sikhs and former citizens of the Sikh empire to enlist in the Indian army of the British Empire. The battle of Saragarhi is remembered and celebrated on the 12th of September in India with Saragarhi Day.
The remains of the Saragarhi outpost
The Battle of Saragarhi is neither the first nor the last battle where Sikh soldiers displayed gallantry in the field of battle.During WW1 and WW2 Sikh soldiers were awarded a range of medals and battle honors including Victoria Cross and George Cross medals. Sikhs served on a diverse range of battle fields throughout both world wars from Palestine to Mesopotamia. Sikh soldiers even served alongside Australian diggers in the fronts of Gallipoli and Burma as part of the allied forces.
Sikhs serving alongside allied forces in Sicily