Friday, 26 February 2010

Bul Chuk Maaf!

Dear Guru Pyari Sadh Sangat, Brothers and Sisters,

Apologies for the lack of posts in the last few weeks and months.. This Blog is still up, running and alive, it's just that the Kirpa to update the Blog has not been here...

Please check for a truly blessed and very interesting Blog..

With Guru Ji's Kirpa we hope to be fully back and operating as usual soon,

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Panjabis Homeless in Southall...

courtesy of Manvir Singh Khalsa (

I came across some videos showing homeless Panjabis in West London. It was shocking to see that there are at least 100 homeless Panjabis in Southall, and possibly more. There are many reasons why these people are on the streets. One of the reasons is linked to foreign students from India facing deparate times in the UK (read more). These people are living in dustbins, cemeteries, disused garages and under bridges. To cope many have turned to class A Drugs, such as Heroin and Crack Cocaine, as well as other substances. The reason for this is to cope with the cold, to suppress their hunger and to help them sleep on the streets. any are suffering from serious health conditions such as Hyperthermia, Scabies, Gangrene and cannot get immediate medical attention.

The story of a young homeless person now hooked on drugs:

The story of an elderly Singh who has no one in the UK:

The story of Panjabis who are living rough in the streets of Hounslow:

S.W.A.T - Sikh Welfare and Awareness Team, is a local group based in Southall consisting of Sikh volunteers that are dedicated to doing sevaa to help the local community. This group is providing help and support in this crisis.

What are they doing to help:
  • Providing Drug care.
  • Providing Clean clothing.
  • Providing Sleeping bags.
  • Providing Hot food.
  • Providing moral support.
  • Assisting with those who want to return back to Punjab.
  • Putting them in contact with health centers.
  • In the process of commissioning a documentary to be made to highlight the plight of these men.

What are the local Gurudwaras doing?
  • Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall is making sure none of these boys get turned away for Langar and if they are unfit to enter the Gurdwara Sahib because they are intoxicated etc, food is provided outside for them.
  • Allowing S.W.A.T. to appeal to the sangat for any kind of support required and highlighting this issue.

What are the local churches doing?
  • Providing hot meals.
  • Providing church halls for drop in centers for the homeless.
  • Hot showers.
  • Clean clothes
  • Counseling service.

How can you help?
Contact S.W.A.T. if you have any Jackets gloves scarves shoes etc.
Let know if you have contacts that can help in any way i.e.:
  • Accommodation
  • Shower facilities
  • Immigration
  • Medication
  • Funds

If you can help S.W.A.T. with any ideas and if you have the same issue in your own area they are more than willing to help.

The S.W.A.T. helpline number is 07943118441

Monday, 28 December 2009

The Real Sher-e Panjab

taken from The Real Sher-e Panjab Blogs (listed below) to spread the message

The Sikh Youth movement started in the 1980's when Sikhs were under the oppression of the Skinheads. Also when a Sikh was killed on the streets of the UK, the police didn’t show much concern. In Southall a young Sikh boy Vijay Singh was stabbed to death in board day light. In east London a Sikh man and his pregnant wife was killed in a stabbing by the Skinheads. (I have just highlighted two cases but the number of racist attacks runs into it the hundreds). In the 1990's the attention was turned to Islamic extremist gangs who target venerable Sikh girls and terrorized Sikh boys on the streets of the UK.

Seeing the plight and fate of our community a few families from the West Midlands started educating the community of the injustices committed on the Punjabi-Sikh nation. Together they came up with the intuitive and formed the Shere Panjab. This movement woke up the community and made people alert. This prevented our youth; from becoming a victim of a devious crime (such as deceptive grooming or gang beatings). The youth took part in self defence classes which in turn helped them escape racist attacks alive.

A lot of time, money and effort went in to restoring the communities confidence and honour. This project also focused on getting people into their faith, Sikhi workshops and Sikhi camps were started. Over 15 branches nationwide made a difference in the religious development and social development of Sikh youth nationwide. In 1998 the SP project was put on standby in a formal meeting (for Numerous reasons) and people went on to focus on their individual projects. However looking at the plight of today’s youth, who do not have much of a clue about what is going on, it has been decided by all the original members to start up an awareness (educational) project under SP.

We salute all the original SP activists who woke up a sleeping community, because of all the hard work the SP legacy still lives on and instantly we remember the good old days were the community had a sense of community spirit. The list of legends is too big; you all know who you are! A lot of people have misused the SP name and brought a disgrace to it, they know who they are. But the real mans know the deal.

Unfortunately Sardar Nirmal Singh Dhesi who was a founding father of the SP is no longer with us. He passed away from cancer,

Sadar Nirmal Singh Dhesi (RIP Brother we miss you so much, but your legacy lives on)

Sardar Nirmal Singh Dhesi helped plan many camps for Sikh youth, putting the lives of others before his own needs. He spent most of his earnings serving the Panth.

Panjabi criminals, who sell drugs to others, who terrorise people and exploit our women are not SP. The whole movement was started to better our community. Please Satsangat Ji you are all educated, I am not going to write an essay discussing this issue, and we all have brains use them!

We are taking it back to the original principles, before this bad stigma was created. SP was a registered organisation and involved the whole community from elders to youngsters from men to women. It was a movement of mentality, education and creating awareness. Our main concern is about educating our families and youth about the dangers facing our community. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji gave us the roop and spirit of a lion (roams free with out fear). But these days a lot of Sikhs are scared when they walk around because they have been victimised, we need to provide mental rehab to these victims. If you look at history our women chose death and even got their kids killed in front of them by the Mughal Empire; but they never gave up their faith. But now days some of our girls are running away with people, whose ancestors were the Mughals. See how much the mentality of our people has changed. It is the duty of every Sikh to educate our people: who ever, where ever, what ever organisation, please spread Sikhi and the Khalsa Spirit of love and righteousness amongst the people.


A strategic movement of mentality designed to bring back honourable principals and high morals within our community. Our main concept is self preservation, to preserve the identity, honour and dignity of the Punjabi-Sikh community.


An educational movement which will help provide our community with the knowledge of our roots and our history. We will also educate people about prevention skills; which will help them avoid tactics that are used by our predators (groups/gangs that want to harm the Punjabi-Sikh community).

Principles of the S P movement

• Belief in One God (the immortal soul and creator of all – WAHEGURU)

• Reject any caste system what so ever! We are all equal children of Waheguru! (The caste system is a part of the Hindu religion not Sikhism).

• We treat every religion, race and creed with love and respect; however we will speak out and make a stand against anyone trying to attack our religion and community. Sikhs are never attackers, but only defend their rights.

• We are working for the welfare of the whole of society, but in particular we will be working with Punjabi-Sikh youth to get them out of the bad elements of life. Such as drugs, tobacco, alcohol and the many other pitfalls of modern day society. We want our community to be represented in a positive light towards humanity, so all of us have a responsibility to act as good role models for the upcoming generation.

Who are the members of the S P?

Our spiritual parents are Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji & Mata Sahib Kaur Ji. Our father is the Lion of all lions and our homeland is Panjab. That makes us all the lions and lionesses of Panjab, as it is in our bloodline to roam free with the honour and style of a lion. The Sahibzadas are our brothers they showed us to never give up our identity, no matter at what cost! The Punjabi-Sikh community is like one big family. We are all apart of the SP, the weight of our honour and pride is on the shoulders of all our community. This responsibility is not given out to a chosen few; we all have a role to play. You can either bring shame on our community by doing negative deeds or you can bring pride into our community by doing positive deeds.

Glimpse at the problems facing our youth:

• The lack of knowledge of our roots and history. A lot of our community do not even know the names of our Guru Sahibs (But we know the name of 11 football players and of Bhangra Stars). This in turn gives individuals a sense of No belonging; making it easier for our people to be targeted for conversions etc. Only if the youth have a vibe of pride about their faith and community will they refuse to turn their back on the Guru and the community. S P along with other organisations will provide resources that will educate our youth about their faith and history.

• A lot of young women complain at the way our own men treat our women, with no respect etc. Adultery and divorce rates amongst our married couples are at an all time high. How can we complain about our women running off to men from different backgrounds when we abuse our own women (that makes us hypocrites). Guru Ji gave Sikh women the name kaur (warrior – Princess); however women you need to think do you have self respect? If not how can you ask for respect of others if you don’t respect yourselves! Your dignity is in your own hands, ask your self this, would you let your daughter dress and do the things you do? If not why?

Disunity – Sikh on Sikh beef is at an all time high. We are too busy arguing over differences instead of working together on common goals. We need to end all this beef and come together, let’s wake up!

The Importance of Unity!

Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, the true King was staying in Anandpur Sahib. One day Guru Ji, told the Sevadaars to cook a lot of rice. When the rice was cooked they were piled in a heap, then Guru Ji asked the Singhs to bring some deer. The deer were brought and allowed to eat the rice from the pile. All the deer ate some rice each and went away. The Singhs asked Maharaj “what does this mean?" Maharaj told them he will explain it tomorrow. The next day Maharaj asked that a few dogs be brought to the same pile of rice. When the dogs were brought to the pile the first one took a mouthful and the dogs started fighting, the pile of rice was ruined (they were all over the place drowned in blood) and the dogs left injured and hungry. Maharaj was laughing at this scene.

Daya Singh asked: “Maharaj, what is this? Yesterday you fed rice to the deer and today to the dogs, what does this mean?

Maharaj said: “Singhs I have given you instructions for the times to come. If you act like the deer in a united manner
, you will find satisfaction and success, but if you fight like the dogs did, you will get bloodied and beat up and will not get anything"

The Real Sher-e-Panjab Mission

Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji ki Fateh

Dear Sadhsangat Ji,

The sevadars from the real (original) Shere Panjab movement have decided that the need to educate our community has arisen again.

Our youth are straying away from our roots, culture and heritage. The general morale of our community is very low, and not many youngsters are proud of our faith and ancestry. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge and the lacking of “down to earth” parchaar (preaching) which deals with reality and current issues.

We are determined to bring back the principals of, self respect, dignity, high morals, courage, honour and respect for our kaum (community) within the Panjabi-Sikh community.

Do Nothing Then Nothing Changes

Beware: Over the last decade, all over the UK there have been miscreants operating under the guise of Shere Panjab. These groups have been tarnishing the name of Shere Panjab with their corrupt activities.

Our plea: The movement was aimed to better our community, if any group or person is tarnishing our image under the SP name, they can not be a true Shere Panjab member.

Educating the community - Prevention is better then cure

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Early 1990's Sher-e Panjab Community Work

The Organisation aimed to make Punjabi Sikhs proud about their roots and heritage, Sub units were set up in most towns, which were aimed at developing a community welfare programme. The youth were given support & aid which helped them achieve a higher self esteem and a more confident personality.

Bhai Nirmal Singh Dhesi

SP Sevadars in High Spirit

Historic Sher-e Panjab Documentation

Click Pictures to enlarge

The Shere Panjab is still a registerd Charity, it is copyrighted. All our logos and designs can only be used with our approval, anyone voilating our rights will be prosecuted!
The SP Mission Form

Old SP Magazines were in both Panjabi and English

Old SP Montly Newsletters. The new newsletters are issued online at

Reciept For First SP Newsletter - The Newsletters hit the UK by storm and educated every Panjabi-Sikh about issues effecting them at the time!

Old Shere Panjab Membership Form

SP Symbols

These are registered Trademarks of the Sher-e Panjab and copyright laws apply

In todays criminal environment where alot of our youth are getting mugged and bullied... It is very vital for a Panjabi-Sikh youth to be able to defend themselves!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Email Your MPs to Put Pressure on Indian Govt

Guru Pyaario,

Benti to everyone please write to your local Member of Parliament about what has happened in Ludhiana. The British, Canadian and American governments can put diplomatic pressure on India to ensure peace is brought to Panjab, that the human rights of the Sikhs is restored and justice is delivered for the bloodshed of the Sikhs.

You can contact your local MP through this website:

This is the least we can do sitting abroad! You can use the below template to send. Just copy and paste but remember to put the name of your MP at the top and your name at the bottom.


I am emailing you in regards to the concerning events that took place in Ludhiana in Punjab (India). On Saturday 5th December 2009 when police and paramilitary forces opened fire without warning and used heavy-handed barbaric tactics to stop Sikh protesters who were protesting, belonging to Sikh religious organisations, marching towards a controversial anti-Sikh two-day event organised in Ludhiana by Dera Divya Jyoti of Ashutosh; and that at one Sikh has been killed and about 15 seriously injured. Sadly, the death toll is expected to increase. Further to this a number of Sikhs have gone missing and it is feared the Punjab Police have kidnapped them and will torture them.

Members of the UK Sikh community, including myself, have family members living in the area and are horrified at the police brutality used against the Sikh protesters shown in the News reports.
Please see video below:

News link and Press release from Voices of Freedom charity:

I would like you to take up this issue with the Indian High Commissioner in the UK immediately and ensure that justice is brought for the victims of the Police brutality and that the Human Rights (which includes the right to protest) of the Sikhs will be protected. Please press upon them that we would like to see peace in Punjab, and that this cannot be achieved with over zealous policing.

I await a response from you.

Kind regards,

More photos of Police Brutality:

Lawless policemen

Police beating an unarmed Sikh.

Shaheed Bhai Darshan Singh after being shot in the chest by the Police.

Bullets being collected.

Police didn't fire in the air but were aiming at the Sikh protestors. Some bullets hit many public buses as seen above.

Courtesy of Manvir Singh Khalsa (

Sikhs Attacked in Ludhiana, Panjab

On Saturday 5th December, the Panjab Police shot and killed Sikhs protesting in Ludhiana against a rally organized by supporters of Ashutosh Noormehlia of the Divya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan.

Who is Ashutosh Noormehlia?

Ashutosh Noormehlia is a man from Bihar who was brought to Panjab by agencies to create a cult (Diviya Jyoti Jagran Sansthan) to attack the Sikh religion. The cult-leader Ashutosh openly claims that Sikhs should not follow Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee and instead accept him as the Guru because he says that the 'Jyot' (light) of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee is within him and he claims that he is the reincarnation of Guru Gobind Singh jee as well. In his dera he keeps saroops of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee that they treat and keep like a book which they keep on the shelf. He quotes and misinterprets Gurbani on a daily basis at his programmes. Ashutosh preaches against and insults keeping Kesh, wearing the 5 Ks, reading Gurbani, following the Shabad Guru, and going to the Gurdwara etc. The cultists claim that they are the 'true Khalsa' and oppose Amritdharis.

Video of Ashutosh Cultist preaching against Sikhi

They hold regular diwans at the heart of Sikh cities like Taran Taaran, Amritsar and Gurdaspur. Many times, events of 1978 have been repeated where the police was used for protection and attacking and killing the peaceful Sikh protestors. On one occasion, a programme was held on 19th April 2002 at which a preacher of Ashutosh, Shardha Nand, grossly insulted Sikhi and Guru Granth Sahib jee (see video above). When Sikhs showed up to protest they were attacked and fired upon. Shardha Nana escaped in government vehicles and Sikhs were arrested for causing violence. Similar events have taken place in other cities but with the help of the government Noormehls always managed to escape and Sikhs became the target of violence and police brutality.

Read more about Ashutosh here.

The events leading up to Saturday
After the events of 2002, the then government led by Capt. Amrinder Singh (Congress) banned Ashutosh from doing any form of preaching outside of his dera as it was a risk to law and order and it would hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. However, the Badal government (the Akalis) lifted the ban and allowed Ashutosh to do programmes throughout Panjab. It should be noted that whenever anti-Sikh cults have risen in Panjab to attack the Sikhs it has always been during the Akali-BJP governments (e.g. 1978 massacre, 1984 Operation Bluestar, Bhaniaare wala, and Jhoota Saudaa).

Ashutosh had planned a Shobha Yatra (mockery and copy of Sikh's Nagar Kirtan) in Ludhiana on 5th December, in which he was to sit in a Palki and roam around Ludhiana. But Panthic Jathebandis had protested against it, and due to pressure from all sides, the Badal's government refused permission for the parade. Despite the cancellation of the Shobha Yatra, Ashutosh was adamant to hold a programme to show his power, as he knows that 40% residents of Ludhiana today are from UP and Bihar. He wanted to directly challenge the Sikh panth.

One day before on 4th December, 12,000 Bihari workers rioted across Ludhiana and burnt down Sikh buses, trucks, cars and motorcycles in protest against another issue which was related to them being treated poorly by the police when they reported that they were being their money was being looted by robbers on paydays. Although the issues are different, it is hard to ignore that both events have links. When 12,000 Biharis targetted Sikh buses (Sachkhand and Akal Takht Express buses) and Sikh property no one was fired at! However, oney day later when 500 to 600 Singhs peacefully protest they are fired with bullets by the Police.

On Friday 4th December the Sikhs were reassured by the government officials that Ashutosh's programmes were cancelled however fearing that it could be a bluff they decided to carry out a peaceful protest to the intended programme venue on 5th December. The Sikh Sangat led by Baba Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale, leaders from Damdami Taksaal and Sant Samaaj gathered at Gurudwara Kalgidhar in Ludhiana where the Singhs did Ardaas in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib jee for blessings and then they began to walk.

The Singhs had only walked a hundred kilometers or so when the peaceful Sikh protestors were stopped by the Police and were blocked from going forward. The Police then tried to put Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma (Damdami Taksaal) into a Police van when the Sangat intervened and prevented it from happening. At this point tensions rose due to the heavy handed tactics of the Police.


The police set up a barricaded check post at Samrala Chowk, about 1 kilometer from the dera rally, and without warning fired upon the protesting Sikhs as they approached the check point. The police used tear gas and live ammunition on the protesting Sikhs. Varying reports are saying that 4 to 6 Gursikhs have been killed and 11 others were seriously injured by the indiscriminate police firing. The injured include Bhai Kanwalpreet Singh, Bhai Anup Singh, Bhai Manjinder Singh, Bhai Sukhwinder Singh, Bhai Parminder Singh, Bhai Gurpreet Singh, Bhai Gurjant Singh, Bhai Jaswinder Singh, Bhai Amarjeet Singh, Bibi Surinder Kaur and Bhai Mangal Singh.

58-year old Bhai Darshan Singh jee becomes the first Shaheed of this Saakaa (massacre). Bhai Sahib was a simple Gursikh who drove a Rikshaa for his livelihood. He was driving his Rikshaa when he saw the Gursikhs protesting. Finding out about the protest Bhai Sahib left his Rikshaa and joined the protest at the front. He has left 2 sons and 1 daughter.

Elderly Singh becomes Shaheed after Police open fire on Gursikhs.

Gursikh left bleeding and his turban removed.

Sikh youngster lying on the ground seriously injured.

Bhai Sahib jee shot in the stomach by the Police.

Bhai Sahib was repeatedly beaten on the head by the Police despite laying on the floor injured.

Panjab Police brutality

Blood on their Hands!

Panthic organizations state that Harish Bedi, the local BJP MLA leader, and his son Honey Bedi are directly responsible for organizing the cult rally with the blessings of the ruling Akali government. Both had been actively preparing for the event for several days. Witnesses attest that Honey Bedi was present at the protest site, and shot a firearm in the direction of the protesters. The organizations have requested that along with cult leader Aushutosh, Parkash Badal, Harish Bedi and his son should to be held responsible for the bloodshed in Ludhiana.

Protest ongoing

The Gursikh leaders decided that they would get the Sangat to hold back from fighting the Police as they felt it was a trip to get maximum number of Sikhs get killed. Instead the decision was made by the Mahapurkhs for the Sangat to sit down and peacefully protest and stay clear from the trap. All the Singhs and Mahapurkhs continued the protested throughout the night and on to the next day. In the cold night of December with no extra clothes or blankets, Gursikhs sat in the roads to peacefully protest. As there was a complete shutdown in Ludhiana, I assume that Langar was not allowed to be brought to the places where Gursikhs were protesting throughout the day and night. Baba Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale jee has taken the lead and are visiting hospitals to tend to the injured Singhs and preparing for the funerals of the Shaheeds tommorow in Ludhiana.

courtesy of Manvir Singh Khalsa (

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Battle of Saragarhi

Courtesy of Bhai Manvir Singh Khalsa

12th September marks the Battle of Saragarhi that took place in 1897. It is the incredible story of 21 Sikh soldiers against the ferocious Pathan (Afghan) tribesmen, numbering close to 10,000. The staggering ratio of 1: 416 stacked against the Sikhs was both unmatched and unprecedented, making their "last stand" at Saragarhi as the greatest odds faced by any troops in the history of modern warfare. The Battle at Saragarhi is one of eight stories of collective bravery published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It has been mentioned as one of the five most significant events of its kind in the world which includes the Saga of Thermoplyae associated with the heroic stand of a small Greek force against the mighty Persian Army of Xerxes in 480 B.C.

A Glimpse at the Story of the Battle of Saragarhi

Saragarhi was a communication relay post between Fort Lockhart and Fort Gulistan in the Sulaiman Range of the North Western Front Province. Since Lockhart and Gulitsan were not in a visual line of sight due to geographical attributes, a midway heliograph communication post (communication by capturing sunlight with a mirror and transmitting it via coded messages) was built at Saragarhi. The Saragarhi post was vital in ensuring the survival of these two Forts in specific and the defence of the region, in general.

Resistance from Local Tribes
The last decades of the 19th century the Russians were trying to make inroads into the Indian continent via Afghanistan and the British had to make several incursions into Afghanistan to prevent Afghan tribes allied with the Russian from taking over. In order to this the British used posts constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, during his Western campaign. Constant raids and skirmishes by violent and bloodthirsty tribesmen were a regular occurrence and the British Indian Army was in constant vigil. Castration, mutilation and skinning captured soldiers alive was one of the many ways tribal leaders instilled fear and control.

Sikhs Soldiers in the British Army
The relationship between the Sikh soldiers and the British Army started out of mutual admiration for each others' courage and tenacity in the battle during the First Anglo-Sikh War (1839-45) and the Second Anglo-Sikh War (1845-49). The inclusion of Sikh soldiers in the British Army was a testament to that admiration. The British recognised that the bravery, honesty, integrity, and fearlessness of the Sikh soldiers came from their faith, the Amrit they had taken and the Rehit (code of conduct) thay lived by, and therefore only Amritdhari Sikhs who prescribed to Rehit were enrolled in the army.

Plan for Attack
Before 12th September, numerous attempts were made by the Pathans to overrun the post but they failed due to calculated defensive actions by the Sikhs under the able leadership of Havildaar Ishar Singh, the detachment commander at Saragarhi. Unknown to the Sikhs, the Pathans were planning a major attack set for 12th September 1897 at 9am to destroy this vital post. The Pathan strategy was to block the reinforcement from Fort Lockhart and strike Saragarhi with no mercy. Havildaar Ishar Singh peered through his binoculars from the watch tower of his post. Through the magnified view, he could see columns upon columns and row upon rows of Pathans waving their swords and guns violently at the Sikhs. The dust kicked up by the thousands of horses temporarily blocked the sun rising over the horizon. The Pathan forces assembled before the Sikhs who were raring to go.

Call for Back-up
Sepoy Gurmukh Singh, the detachment signaller, began signalling to Fort Lockhart about their position: "ENEMY APPROACHING THE MAIN GATE ... NEED REINFORCEMENT". Lt Col Haughton, Commanding Officer of 36th Sikh Battalion, rushed his troops to help the outnumbered Sikhs but the Pathans had cut-off the supply route between Fort Lockhart and Saragarhi so that the Sikhs would be stangled into submission. Fort Lockhart transmitted back: "UNABLE TO BREAKTHROUGH ... HOLD POSITION". Saragarhi flashed back: "UNDERSTOOD". With that message, Lt Col Haughton had sealed the faith of the Sikhs at Saragarhi to certain death. As he watched from Fort Lockhart, Haugthon with his own eyes counted at least 10 enemy standards (each representing 1,000 tribesmen) facing the 21 Sikh soldiers.

The First Attack on the Fort
Like wild hordes on the loose, the Pathans howling at top of their voices rode with guns blazing onto the Sikhs in order to breach the main gate of the post. One of the sepoys sounded the army trumpet as per Havildaar Ishar Singh's command and in a flash they formed up two lines, one row in a squatting firing position and the other standing. With only having a few months of having been given a new type of rifle which was capable of firing ten rounds of 303 calibre bullets a minute, it proved to be more than a match to the muzzle loading rifles possessed by the tribesmen. Tribal leaders called for the Sikhs to surrender as their fight was the British and not with the Sikhs, however Havildaar Ishar Singh, a fearless Gursikh, just stared back at them with his piercing eyes.

The Sikh's Fire Bullets
The effective range of the Henry Martini rifle was around 600 yards (550m). Havildaar Ishar Singh held his order to fire until the enemy closed in within 250m from his post. Once the Pathans breached this marker, he yelled: "NAA DARRO AR SIO JAB JAAE LARRO" and in a loud chorus all the soldiers repeated: "NISCHAI KAR APNEE JEEET KARO" ... With the effective firing-range the Sikhs destroyed the first line of the Pathan advance. However reloading the guns were time consuming. From atop the post, Havildaar Ishar Singh saw again thousands of Pathans in rows upon rows, waiting to charge against them. Now the Pathans knew the actual strength of the Sikhs and planned for a massive assault on all flanks, a multi-pronged attack designed to divide the outnumbered Sikhs into much smaller groups thereby ensuring weaker defensive formations.

Second-Attack on the Fort
The attack this time was with such fury that the earth around the fort shook as the Pathan horsemen thundered across the barren land to slice the Sikhs into pieces. Havildaar Ishar Singh, unnerved by this onslaught, gave battle orders again: "SQUATTING SOLDIERS TO THE RIGHT ... STANDING SOLDIERS TO THE LEFT ... QUICKLY ... QUICKLY...", with clarity amid the chaos of battle. The highly disciplined Sikh soldiers followed the orders like clock-work. The tribesmen attacked in two formations, one towards the main gate and the other towards the gap at the fort. Havildaar Ishar Singh calculated that at least 150 tribesmen rode in this wave. He could see only the white of their eyes as the tribesmen approached closer, masking their faces. Undeterred, he and the other 20 soldiers roared like thunder, "BOLE SO NIHAL ... SAT SRI AKAAL!". The tribesmen's attack was repulsed once again by the Sikhs due to superior marksmanship and motivation but the soldiers' ranks and ammunitions also started to dwindle.

10 Soldiers Left
From 9am to 12pm the Sikhs had been charged at seven times and had been now left with 10 soldiers led by the wounded Havildaar Ishar Singh, who despite being injured by bullets and saber slashes continued his duties. The ammunition gradually finished and by 2pm, Sepoy Gurmukh Singh signalled Fort Lockhart Battalion HQ: "LOW ON AMMO ... NEED AMMO ... URGENTLY!". Lt Col Haughton sent some men to try and pass the ammunition to the trapped Sikhs, but again to no avail. As the Pathans attacked again, the 10 Sikhs repelled them back once again. The tribesmen now resorted to sitting fire to the bushes and scrubs around Fort. With the thick smoke the Sikhs could not see the enemy. The Battalion HQ in Fort Lockhart could clearly see the tribesmen approaching the breach in the fort due to their elevated position above Saragarhi. Lt Col Haugton frantically signalled Saragarhi: "ENEMY APPROCHING THE BREACH ...!" Havildaar Ishar Singh, due to injuries sustained, had to drag himself towards the breach, accompanied by two other soldiers, to stop the tribesmen from entering the fort. Out of ammunition, all three of them fixed their bayonets and charged the tribesmen. Overwhelmed by the sheer numbers facing them, all three fell were they stood bravely. At the same time, the tribesmen entered the main gate due to the thinning of the defensive lines. However, hand to hand fighting still took place inside the fort, in full view from Fort Lockhart.

Four Sikhs Left
Only 4 Sikhs were alive by the time the tribesmen breached the fort, with an additional soldier, Gurmukh Singh, in the nearby mound providing up to date situation report via heliograph. Out of ammunition, they did not lay down their weapons; instead, they formed an all round defensive position with their backs against each other, their bayonets pointing outwards. A force of nearly a hundred Pathans hacked the valiant Sikhs into pieces, but not before the Sikhs took a few heads with them. From Lockhart, soldiers were in utter disbelief of the raw courage displayed down below at Saragarhi and the stiff resistance put up by the remaining Sikhs. They simply gasped in awe of the action unfolding before their very eyes.

One Sikh Left
At 3.30pm Sepoy Gurmukh Singh transmitted: "MAIN GATE BREACHED ... DOWN TO ONE ... REQUEST PERMISSION TO DISMOUNT AND JOIN THE FIGHT ...!" Orders came back: "PERMISSION GRANTED!" 19-year old Gurmukh Singh disassembled his heliograph device, picked up his rifle and bravely went into the fort to join the fight. Soldiers at Fort Lockhart saw him disappear into the thick of the battle, right into the tribesmen line. They could only hear him roaring at the top of his voice: "JO BOLE SO NIHAAL ... SAT SRI AKAAL! ... JO BOLE SO NIHAAL, SAT SRI AKAAL...!" The third battle cry grew even more weaker, whilst Gurmukh Singh began choking on his blood as he stood there, bayoneting. Legend has it that he took down single-handedly 20 tribesmen before succumbing to the repeated slashes of the tribesmen's swords and the fire that was engulfing the post. Twitching, as his last breath left him, Sepoy Gurmukh Singh could hear in his mind the melodic Shabad of "DUKH BHANJAN" his mother had recited every evening in their home. He died, satisfied in the knowledge that he had done his duty and lived to his last breath with Kesh (hair) intact!

The Aftermath
Without the stiff resistance of the 21 Sikh soldiers at Saragarhi, both Fort Lockhart and Gulistan would have fallen to the enemy. By defending their position long enough for the relief column to arrive with artillery support, the 21 Sikh soldiers became the crucial factor in turning the tide of battle in their favour.The 21 Sikh soldiers fought on continuously for 7 punishing hours without food and water, completely surrounded, and pounded from all flanks. Unwearied by constant charges and mortal danger, they stood their ground against daunting odds, they repealed wave after wave of attack and fought till their last bullets. Even when out of ammunition, they did not abandon their post and instead chose to engage in a fatal hand to hand combat, till all made the ultimate sacrifice. When the relief column arrived a day later, they saw the burnt out bodies of all the 21 Sikh soldiers, together with at least 600 dead bodies of the tribesmen strewn only yards in front of their position.

News of Bravery Spreads
LT Col Haughton signaled his HQ in Punjab about the battle that had transpired. Within a few hours, tales of their bravery were making news across India. The Governor General of India, the Earl of Elgin, wrote a personal telegraph to Queen Victoria describing the bravery of the Sikhs soldiers defending the post till their death. The news reached the British House of Commons, and the tales of sacrifice of the 21 Sikh soldiers were narrated. At the end the of Chief Whip's speech, the entire parliament gave a rousing standing ovation to the Gallant 21 Sikhs, as their names were called out aloud in a symbolic roll call. The collective courage of the 21 Sikh soldiers moved Queen Victoria so much that she awarded the 21 Sikhs with the Indian Order Merit (IOM), which is the highest award for bravery given to colonial troops and it was equivalent to the British Victoria Cross. This was the only time in history of warfare where each soldier who took part in the same battle was given the highest award. Additionally, the Queen awared their next of kin with 500 rupees and 50 acres of land. Finally, a memorial cenotaph was to be erected near the place where all these 21 soldiers fell, as a perpetual record to the heroic action of these gallant soldiers.

Dhan Hai Guru, Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee