Infotainment The Battle Of Saragarhi : Remembering The Unsung Sikh Heroes Who Set Heights Of Bravery

The Battle Of Saragarhi : Remembering The Unsung Sikh Heroes Who Set Heights Of Bravery

Here is a story of action, bravery, pride, valour and above all – truth – for it is the story of 21 Sikh men that lived and walked the same earth as you: a story not of fictionalised kings and princes, but of men in the 36th regiment of the British army (now the 4th battalion of the Sikh regiment).

It is the story of those men who refused to give up in the face of adversity and certainty of imminent death. The Indian history books, however, have often shied away from discussing it.

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

However, lesser-known stories from history are making a resurgence, thanks to pop culture and cinema. There are now two movies being released on the Battle, namely, Ajay Devgn’s Sons of Sardaar: The Battle of Saragarhi, and Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Randeep Hooda starrer Battle of Saragarhi.

In the September 1897, when over 10,000 Afghan tribesmen of the Orakzai and Afridi tribe attacked Saragarhi, North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) (modern day Pakistan), the defending Sikh regiment, under the leadership of Havildar Ishar Singh, knew their fate had already been decided. Yet they held their ground and fought the thousands of enemy troops for several hours.

Here’s all you need to know about the Battle of Saragarhi in a glance :

Chapter 1: Saragarhi

Saragarhi served as a communication relay post between Fort Lockart and Fort Gulistan (also called Cavagnari), using heliography (mode of communication that primarily used mirrors and sunlight to convey messages in the 19th and 20th century).

On the morning of 12 September 1897, Havildar Ishar Singh and signalman Gurmukh Singh woke up to find thousands of Pashtun tribesmen marching towards them. The Saragarhi outpost was crucial to communication between the two British forts and breaking the frontier at Saragarhi would mean adverse consequences for the British army.

Chapter 2: Help Fails to Come Through

The Commander Officer of the 36th Sikhs, Lt Col Haughton was immediately informed of the situation. Gurumukh Singh sent the message to Fort Lockart:


Haughton, who had counted close to 14,000 tribesmen marching towards Saragarhi, sent a disheartening reply from Fort Lockart:


Havildar Singh discussed the situation with his men and together they reached a consensus and a reply was sent to Lockart:


Former Major General of the Indian Army, Dhruv C Katoch, comments on the massive size of the enemy troops the defending side braved in the battle.

Some estimates put the figure in the region of 10,000 to 12,000 personnel. The narrowness of the feature and the restricted approaches obviously could not have involved more than a couple of hundred attacking at any point of time, but the sheer numbers available to the attacking force meant that the attackers could make up their losses while the defenders had no means to do so. And that is how the battle unfolded.  –Dhruv C Katoch, Former Major General, Indian Army

Chapter 3: Saragarhi Under Attack

Two soldiers of the 36th Regiment with defenders of the Fort Gulistan.

The outnumbered Sikhs employed the delay tactic to give sufficient time to the two Forts to prepare themselves for the onslaught that would soon be directed towards them.

After fighting for several hours, as the regiment started running low on ammunition, they employed another war tactic and set the flora around Fort Saragarhi on fire. Though the smoke severely hindered the enemy’s advance, it also cut down the Sikhs’ visibility. Taking advantage of the situation, the tribesmen managed to breach a part of Saragarhi wall.

Havildar Ishar Singh, injured and wounded by this time, displayed a final act of bravery and asked his remaining men to retreat to the inner parts of the fort, while he stayed outside, with two other sepoys who had dragged him to his final position, to face the tribesmen in one-on-one combat.

Chapter 4: The Final Combat

Photographed by Lt. Col Haughton survivors of the Gulistan troops with captured Afridi tribesmen.

By the time the Pashtuns managed to breach the fort entirely, only five Sikhs were left alive, including Gurumukh Singh at the signal tower. The four men engaged in another round of hand to hand combat within the fort.

At 3:30 PM, Gurumukh sent the final message from Sarahgarhi:


He received a prompt reply:


At 19 years, Gurumukh Singh was the youngest of the Sikhs. After the message, Singh packed his equipment in a leather bag, armed himself with a bayonet and came down to face the tribesmen. According to Haughton’s accounts, he is said to have taken down 20 men before he was burnt alive by the enemy.

The 21 Sikhs, along with a cook who was staying with them, were killed in the Battle. Dhruv C Katoch writes that there were about 600 bodies that “were strewn around the post after it was retaken, but a large number of these would have been those killed in the counter attack, mostly from artillery fire.”

Chapter 5: Posthumous Honours

Fort Saragarhi after the onslaught. 

The fierce bravery of the 21 Sikhs sent ripples across the world. The British Parliament halted their session mid-way to give a standing ovation to the martyred 21 in September 1897. The British monarch praised the men and said :

It is no exaggeration to record that the armies which possess the valiant Sikhs cannot face defeat in war. – Queen Victoria, British Parliament 1897

Saragarhi Memorial Gurudwara in Firozpur, Punjab, IndiaSaragarhi Memorial Gurudwara in Firozpur, Punjab, India

Every year, 12 September is celebrated as the Saragarhi Day by the Sikh regiment, which is also the most decorated regiment of the Indian army.

Now You Can Get the Latest Buzz On Your Phone! Download the PagalParrot Mobile App For Android and IOS

Trending now

Another One Added To The Sad Songs’ List As B Praak’s Channa Ve Becomes Popular!

B Paraak is known for melodious songs especially sad ones. He is back with 'Channa Ve' for the film 'Sufna' which is becoming extremely popular and is trending on internet. With this, we add another melody to our sad songs' list. The beautiful song is written by...

Punjab’s Gangster Sukha Kahlon Being Portrayed As A Hero In The Film. The Trailer And Song Of ‘Shooter’ Are In Controversy Since The Release.

Punjab's famous gangster Sukha Kahlon's life will be seen in the theatres on 21st February 2020 through a film named as 'Shooter' where he is being portrayed as a Hero. The film promises a good message in the end. However, many are not liking the idea of...

Utilise These Leftover Areas To Make Your House More Beautiful And Spacious!

There are plenty of areas in our houses which are left unused. We can definitely use those leftover areas to either decorate our house or utilise it for a purpose. We have such ideas in the box. Let's unbox them!

Alia Bhatt Turns A Beautiful Bride! Her Photos Are Giving Us Major ‘Shaadi Goals’.

Alia Bhatt turns a beautiful bride giving us major wedding goals. No No! don't get a shocker! She hasn't married Ranbir Kapoor yet. She has turned as a pretty bride to endorse 'Mohey', a bridal attire brand. Mohey has chosen Alia Bhatt as their face in a...

Trending This Week

Disha Patani Boosts The Temperature In This Red Bikini From The Sets Of Malang

Sizzling actress Disha Patani is again in the headlines of social media because of her recent avatar in a red bikini.

Katrina Kaif Playing Cards As A bride: Photo Went Viral On Social Media

Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif has shared photos in which she is seen playing cards as a bride. Also, Katrina looks very happy with...

Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie All Set To Release The New Wine

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are to release the new Wine with their partner, Marc Perrin.

Utilise These Leftover Areas To Make Your House More Beautiful And Spacious!

There are plenty of areas in our houses which are left unused. We can definitely use those leftover areas to either decorate...

Trailer Of Hacked Is Trending!! Vikram Bhatt’s New Stalker Thriller Starring Hina Khan Will Shake You From Within!

Vikram Bhatt's 'Hacked- There Is No Place To Hide' will release on 7th February, 2020. The film stars Hina Khan, Rohan Shah...

Varun Dhawan and Shraddha Kapoor kickstart Delhi promotions of ‘Street Dance’ in swag

Street Dancer 3D is just three days away from its release, and the promotions are at the peak....

Fact Check: Now Laxmi faces The Fake News of ‘Chhapaak’

Recently, a Facebook post claimed Some controversial statements about Laxmi Agarwal. Post says that Laxmi blamed Deepika Padukone and film director Meghna...

Urvashi Dholakia’s Snapshots From Dubai Trip Are A Treat To The Eyes!

The entire world knows how Urvashi Dholakia is a badass woman who has stood against all the negatives and has emerged as...