Year 1897, date 12 September. The area is North West Frontier Province. Here was the fort of Saragarhi. This area was once called the Pathans and they did not like the arrival of the British here. Havildar Ishar Singh and 20 other soldiers were in charge of handling the Saragarhi fort.
The Pathans made a strategy to capture the fort. 12 to 14 thousand Pathans attacked on 12 September. At that time 21 Sikhs were present in the fort. A Sikh informed Colonel Houghton and asked for help, but it was difficult to reach help in such a short time. The colonel ordered, stay in your place. As a result, 21 Sikhs took up the responsibility of handling 14 thousand Pathans and the battle of Saragarhi started.
21 soldiers chased the Pathans twice
Gradually the Pathans surrounded the entire fort. Then a Pathan took his flag and moved towards the door of the fort and said – We have no enmity with you people. Our war is with the British. Your numbers are too few to fight the war. You will be killed, so put down your weapons. If you do this, then we will let you go.
Referring to this incident, James Lunt, who was in the rank of Major General in the British army, wrote, ‘Isher Singh gave a stern reply after listening to Pathan. Said- This land does not belong to the British, it belongs to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. We will fight till our last breath for this land of theirs. As soon as Isher Singh said this, the fort of Saragarhi resonated with ‘Bole so Nihal, Sat Shri Akal’.21 Sikhs put in full force and drove the army of Pathans twice.
When he could not enter the fort, he decided to break the walls.
The Pathans attacked a total of two times. He lost badly the first time. 60 of their soldiers were killed and the Sikh soldier Bhagwan Singh. According to Brigadier Kanwaljit Singh, author of the book ‘The Iconic Battle of Saragarhi’ written on the Battle of Saragarhi, Isher Singh ordered all the soldiers to fire only when the Pathans came within a range of 1000 yards. At that time the Sikhs had ‘Martini Henry’s .303 rifle, which was firing 10 rounds in a minute.
When the army of the Pathans could not enter the fort, they decided to break the walls. Two Pathans reached the right side of the fort and started breaking the wall from the bottom. He was successful in digging a pit of 7 feet amidst the moving bullets.
The Pathans picked up the cot lying outside and started moving towards the fort taking cover so that the bullets of the Sikh could not hit the target properly. There came a time when the Sikhs had run out of bullets, then started the work of expelling the Pathans with the bayonet of the rifle.
More than 600 Pathans were killed by 21 soldiers in a 6-hour battle, but the fort was finally captured by the Pathans, but the very next day the British drove the Pathans back and it is recorded in history as the Battle of Saragarhi. .
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