tributes paid to Saragarhi martyrs

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Ferozepur, Sep 12 (UNI) Rich tribtues were today paid to the 21 brave soldiers of the 4th Sikh battalion, on the 111th anniversary of their martyrdom at the Saragarhi gurdwara here which was erected to their memory.

The memorial bears testimony to the incredible story of these brave men who gave up their lives in devotion to their duty on this day in the year 1897. It is one of the eight stories of collective bravery published by UNESCO.

The Battle of Saragarhi has been mentioned as one of the five most significant events of its kind in the world.

This heroic battle was fought on September 12,1897 by 21 soldiers of the Sikh Battalion in defence of the small Saragarhi signaling post in the North Weste Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) against an army of 10,000 odd Pathans.

Recalling the battle while paying tributes to these martyrs, Lieutenant General R S Sujlana, Colonel of the Sikh Regiment said time and again the Pathans asked the small Saragarhi garrison to surrender, but each time they met with a volley of fire and a challenge from the Sikhs, After six hours of gallant resistance, the Sikh soldiers, a majority of them from Ferozepur district under the command of Havildar Ishar Singh fell died fighting bravely.

According to a detailed history of the battle inscribed at the memorial, following an uprising by the Pathans in the NWEP on September nine, the Pathans attacked Gulistan Fort in large numbers. However they suffered serious reverses at the hands of the Sikh troops guarding the fort.

To avenge their defeat thousands of Afridi and Orakzai tribals gave their lines on the small Saragarhi signaling post on the morning of September 12, 1897. The tiny garrison of Saragarhi with a strength of 21 troops repulsed several determined attacks and killed a large number of enemy troops during the six hours of their gallant resistance against overwhelming odds.

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