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They call the Battle of Saragarhi one of the greatest last stands in military history: 21 Sikh soldiers held fort against more than 10,000 rampaging tribesmen for over six hours. Nearly 120 years after it happened, the story of the battle of Saragarhi is finally going out to the world. After the Netflix series 21 Sarfarosh: Saragarhi 1897, the story will be retold through Kesari, the film in which Akshay Kumar plays Havildar Ishar Singh. Till you get to the series or the film, here's a recap of what really went down on that day in 1897.
Where is Saragarhi?
Back in the 19th Century, Saragarhi was a tiny, nondescript village in what was then the North-West Frontier Province. Today, it stands a few hours outside Peshawar near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
Who fought the Battle of Saragarhi?
The epic Battle of Saragarhi was fought between 21 soldiers from the 36th Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army and over 10,000 Pashtun tribesmen. The battle took place nearly two decades after the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The British Army, trying to gain control of the hilly Central Asian provinces, was in a long-standing conflict with local tribes and clans. Many battles were fought, with hundreds of Indian foot-soldiers martyred towards the British cause.
What happened in the Battle of Saragarhi?
Fort Gulistan and Fort Lockhart in Afghanistan were two fortresses under British control at the time. The forts would communicate with each other by using mirrors to flash Morse Coded messages. But the distance between them was quite a bit, and so, Saragarhi was set up as a signalling station--to relay messages from one end to the other. 21 soldiers from the 36th Sikh Regiment were deputed to guard this post.
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