When 21 Sikhs Fought 10000 Afgans, Deadlist Battle of Saragarhi

battle of sara

Deadliest Battle of Saragarhi

Have you watched movie ‘300’ where 300 Men fight thousands of enemy for their motherland. India is also land of brave-hearts. Ours is the country where we call Earth ‘Mother’.

History speaks volume about bravery of India. Mother India has produced finest warriors. In this article, we will look such story which is also recorded as five most significant events of its kind in the world. This is story of a battle which doesn’t have a match even today. Such story can be found on television only. But to our proud, this battle was fought by 21 Indian Sikhs who chose to fight 10000 Afghans. And this story is not centuries-old. It was on 12th September 1897 and event is recorded as Battle of Saragarhi in world’s  history.

Deadlist Battle of Sargarhi

The battle of Saragarhi was fought by 36th British Indian Contingent. 36th Sikh British Indian contingent is now known as 4th battalion of the Sikh Regiment.

Saragarhi was a small village in Kohat situated on Saamana range, presently in Pakistan. It was 9 in the morning, when enemy started gathering at the signalling post at Saragarhi. This signalling post was guarded by 36th Sikh contingent and at that time only 21 men were guarding the post. Full battalion was posted in Lockhart and the distance between Lockhard and Saragarhi was in miles.

21 men posted in Saragarhi sniffed the attack and send signal to Lockhart by heliograph but Col Haughton who was commanding 36th Sikh regiment responded that he cannot give immediate cover considering the enemy Army was well equipped and they were outnumbered.

Deadlist Battle of Sargarhi

When news reached at Saragarhi, 21 Sikh heroes had two options. Either to abandon the post or fight till death. Brave sons of India took fraction of time to decide to stay back and fight. They decided “This is the land of Waheguru, this land is our mother. If we abandon this land, we will insert our ancestors and our mother. We shall stay back and fight till we don’t kill the last enemy.” They decided to pay back to motherland. After deliberations and strategy they decided to fight enemy with full force and fight them in a way that history would remember them. The action was planned by 21 heroes.

The battle began and the 21 Akalies attacked like death on Afghans. The enemy was shattered. But soon their finest Warrior Bhagwan Singh was killed and another hero Lal Singh was seriously injured. This did not affect the ferocity of the attack. They kept on fighting. Soon portion of wall guarding the post which was part of strategy, was breached. History record says the Afgan tribals  were anywhere between 10000 to 14000. And on the other side just 21 brave-hearts resisting them.

As the battle continued and Sikh heroes continued to put resistance, another wall was demolished and the enemy manage to breach inside the fort and there began hand to hand fight.

As warriors blazed their weapons, the enemy front line received massive blow causing casualty. It may sound dramatic but that is how 21 Warriors proved their mettle. They knew the fact that they would be killed but they did not want to go back like loosers. Instead they created history, a history which will be remembered for centuries.

Deadlist Battle of Sargarhi

Sepoy Gurmukh was the last Sikh defender. He killed 20 Afgans alone in hand to hand fight. After Gurmukh Singh breathed last, Pastuns set the entire post on fire. As Gurmukh Singh was dying burning inside the fire screams the Sikh war cry “Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal !”.

Saragarhi was destroyed. The Afghans moved forward to Fort Gulistan which was near to Saragarhi but they could not realize that the fierce fight put forward by 21 Sikhs has causing them massive blow and they had lost many of their soldiers.

Meanwhile adding to war strategy, 21 heroes gave enough time for  main regiment to reinforce. Indian British Regiment started arriving at fort Gulistan in the night of 13 – 14 September and Afghans who were already tired and run out of logistic support, were forced to step back and run for their life.

A total of 600 bodies were said to have been seen around the ruined Saragarhi post. The post was reclaimed on 14 September by fierce firing. The total casualties in the entire Battle of Saragarhi were numbered about 4800. You can imagine the resistance put forward by 21 war heroes and their love for the country.

All the 21 Sikhs were soldiers of other ranks. All 21 heroes were posthumously awarded the highest gallantry award of that time ‘Indian Order of merit’.

The Indian Order of Merit is equivalent to today’s ‘Param Veer Chakra’ awarded by the President of India.

The battle is regarded as most bravest and most deadliest. This story is taught as motivational story by many countries to their Armies. The bravery and strategy put up by these 21 Singh Warriors is worth studying.

The names written in golden words in world history are:-

  1. Havildar Ishwar Singh
  2. Naik Lal Singh
  3. Naik Chanda Singh
  4. Lance Naik Sundar Singh
  5. Lance Naik Ram Singh
  6. Lance Naik Uttar Singh
  7. Lance Naik  Sahib Singh
  8. Sepoy Hira Singh
  9. Sepoy Daya Singh
  10. Sepoy Jeevan Singh
  11. Sepoy Bhola Singh
  12. Sepoy Narayan Singh
  13. Sepoy Gurmukh Singh
  14. Sepoy Jeevan Singh
  15. Sepoy Gurmukh Singh
  16. Sepoy Ram Singh
  17. Sepoy Bhagwan Singh
  18. Sepoy Bhagwan Singh
  19. Sepoy Buta Singh
  20. Sepoy Jeevan Singh
  21. Sepoy Nand singh

‘Singh is King’, they already proved this a century ago.

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