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124TH ANNIVERSARY OF BATTLE OF SARAGARHI

124TH ANNIVERSARY OF BATTLE OF SARAGARHI

Context:

September 12 marks the 124th anniversary of the Battle of Saragarhi. This battle has inspired a host of armies, books and films, both at home and abroad. The Indian Army's 4th battalion of the Sikh Regiment celebrates the battle every year on the 12th of September, as Saragarhi Day.

About the Battle:

  • It is considered one of the finest last stands in the military history of the world.
  • 21 soldiers fought against over 8,000 Afridi and Orakzai tribals but they managed to hold the fort for 7 hours.
  • The soldiers of 36th Sikhs (now 4 Sikhs), led by Havildar Ishar Singh, fought till their last breath, killing 200 tribals and injuring 600.
  • It was a last-stand battle fought before the Tirah Campaign between the British Raj and Afghan tribesmen.

The course of the Battle:

  • On 12 September 1897, around 12,000 – 24,000 Orakzai and Afridi tribesmen were seen near Gogra, at Samana Suk, and around Saragarhi, cutting off Fort Gulistan from Fort Lockhart.
  • The Afghans attacked the outpost of Saragarhi where thousands of them swarmed and covered the fort, preparing to assault it.
  • Led by Havildar Ishar Singh, the 21 Sikh soldiers in the fort refused to surrender and were wiped out in the last stand. The post was recaptured 2 days later by another British Indian contingent.

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