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Commemorating 21 Sikhs and the screening of Saragarhi: The True Story

Saragarhi day 2017
National Memorial Arboretum

A great event took place today 12th September to commemorate the epic battle of Saragarhi where 21 Sikh soldiers took a stand against tremendous odds against a army of Afghans numbering circa 10,000. With speeches by the British Army and Sikh representatives and an introduction to the battle of Saragarhi by Jay Singh-Sohal starting the proceedings.

The commemoration service, was led by Mrs Mandeep Kaur, Sikh Chaplain to the Armed Forces, took place in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy Sikh scripture,  the Supreme Spiritual Authority and Head of the Sikh religion.

The arrival of the ‘Living Guru’ at the Sikh memorial was heralded by the Jaikara war cry given by Captain Makand Singh of Coventry based 159 Regiment RLC. It is an integral part of Sikh liturgy and is traditionally shouted at the end of prayers or said in holy congregation.

Readings and prayers from the Guru Granth Sahib by Mrs Kaur, were followed by the playing of the Last Post by a bugler from the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps, as well as a one minute’s silence in honour of the epic bravery of the 21 men who fought to the end against such monumental odds. There was also an opportunity for members of the public to have a turban tied to show them the how Sikhs wear their ‘crown’.

Captain Jay Singh Sohal, a serving Army Reservist, who’s factual film, “Saragarhi: The True Story”, was premiered at the event, also paid tribute to the bravery of the Sikh soldiers who were remembered at the commemoration.He said: “The Sikhs who fought for Britain on the frontier were rightly rewarded and honored for their bravery and devotion to duty at that time; today we must continue to remember the sacrifices they and others made in such conflicts which might not be so well known but are vitally important.

Captain Makand Singh, of Coventry based 159 Royal Logistics Corps (RLC) added: “It was great to see so many people from across the country at the NMA to commemorate the Battle of Saragarhi.

“This has become a prominent event in our calendar. I think it is very important to remember our forefathers that made the ultimate sacrifice so that we can live in peace and harmony. This battle was a show of true grit upholding Sikh and Army Values and Standards.

Altogether it was an action packed day with with everyone feeling that the commemorations were a fitting tribute to 21 Sikhs. Around 200 military, civilian and community leaders including Colonel Richard Maybery, Deputy Commander of Donnington based 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade, Mr Ian Dudson, Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, and members of the British Armed Forces Sikh Association (BAFSA) gathered at the NMA’s Sikh memorial for the service paying tribute to the 21 British Indian Army Soldiers.

The finale was the screening of the documentary: Saragarhi: The True story, which was well received by the audience.

The documentary Saragarhi: The True Story will be shonw on KTV sky channel 858 at 9.30pm.
Original report by Asian Image with additions and editing by the SMI team.




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