Today’s Bollywood news is all about the action-war movie named Kesari. A lot of buzz has been created. It stars Akshay Kumar – the man who is also referred to as the original “Khatron Ke Khiladi”. However, Kesari – battle of Saragarhi movie is based on 21 Sikhs who fought against a horde of an army.
Many people are excited about movie Kesari. But have you ever wondered how, when and what is the Saragarhi day? Here is a glimpse into what happened in the battle of Saragarhi.
On 12 September 1897, a fierce war took place between the Sikh soldiers of the British Indian Army and Pashtun Orakzai. British India’s 36th Sikh regiment (the 4th battalion of Sikh Regiment in Present Day) comprised of 21 jat Sikh soldiers. It was led by Havildar Ishar Singh. It is considered as one of the greatest last-stand in the history of the Military.
21 Sikh soldiers chose to fight until death. They were up against 10,000 Pashtun Afghans. The Sikh Military personnel celebrate the Saragarhi day in commemoration of this war.
The Background of Battle of Saragarhi
Saragarhi is a small town situated on the Samana range on the border district of Kohat. It is currently in Pakistan. In April 1894, the British Indian Army created the 36th Sikhs regiment under the command of Colonel J. Cook.
The Pashtuns attacked British personnel from time to time. Therefore, in August 1897, five companies of the 36th Sikhs were stationed at Samana Hills, Kurag, Sangar, Shaptop Dhar, and Saragarhi. under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel John Haughton.
Saragarhi was created as heliographic communication post between the Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan which were originally built by the Raja Ranjit Singh. The two forts were not visible to each other. They were combined due to attacks from Pashtuns. It was located on a rocky ridge, consisting of a small block house with loop-holed ramparts and a signaling tower.
The uprising by the Afghans began to capture the fort, which was thwarted by the 36th Sikhs. Afridi tribe allied with the Afghans and attacked the fort Gulistan. But the attacks were repulsed.
What happened in the Saragarhi War
On the morning of 12 September, 10,000 afghans reach the signaling post of Saragarhi.
It is believed that the sepoy Gurmukh Singh signaled Lieutenant Colonel John Haughton about the attack on fort Lockhart. To which, his response was he cannot send immediate help to Saragarhi. But the brave soldiers of the 36th Sikhs regiment decided to fight against all the odds. They prevented the enemy from reaching the fort until their last breath.
To stay motivated in the battle they repeatedly yelled the Sikh battle cry “Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal!”.
Sepoy Bhagwan Singh was the first sepoy to be killed by the enemy whereas Naik Lal Singh was seriously injured. The 21 Sikhs were fighting fiercely, even the leaders of the Afghans enticed them to surrender.
An act of bravery was shown by Havildar Ishar Singh. He sent his remaining troop back to the inner layer and fought with bravery all alone, killing the enemies. The last defender of Sikh sepoy Gurmukh Singh narrated the battle to Colonel John Haughton.
This battle was outstanding as it delayed the Afghans in reaching Fort Gulistan. This provided time for reinforcements to reach the fort before it could be captured.
It was so heroic that the Pashtuns acknowledged losing 180 of their soldiers. Whereas in reality nearly 600 dead bodies were found. At the place when the relief party arrived. The last surviving defender
Sepoy Gurmukh Singh narrated the battle to Haughton.
The 21 Sikh non-commissioned officers and soldiers who died in the Battle of Saragarhi were from Majha, Punjab. They were awarded the Indian Order of Merit equivalent of present Param Vir Chakra.
Kesari Movie and the Battle of Saragarhi
Kesari is an upcoming war movie which is based on the battle of Saragarhi. It stars Akshay Kumar as Havildar Ishar Singh and Parineeti Chopra in the lead. Other popular actors like Mir Sarwar, Vansh Bhardwaj as Chanda Singh, Jaspreet Singh as Taklu, Vivek Saini as Sipahi Jiwan Singh have also been roped in. It is directed by Anurag Singh. With the mesmerizing posters and trailers, Kesari is one of the most anticipated films of 2019.