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Khyber to get gurdwara in Saragarhi martyrs’ memory

February 13, 2019 06:28 AM

COURTESY TOI FEB 13

Khyber to get gurdwara in Saragarhi martyrs’ memory
Yudhvir.Rana@timesgroup.com

Amritsar:

To honour valour and sacrifice of 21 Sikh soldiers in the Battle of Saragarhi, New York-based Saragarhi Foundation has announced it will construct a gurdwara at Hangu, close to the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


The Battle of Saragarhi was fought on September 12, 1897, by a small platoon of 36th Sikh Regiment of British Indian Army’s Bengal Infantry, led by Havildar Ishar Singh, against some 10,000 Pashtun tribals near Samana Ridge, which is now in Hangu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. The soldiers fought for 6 hours and 45 minutes before all 21 fell rather than surrender. There is a Saragarhi gurdwara in Ferozepur too.

Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in 2017 wrote a book on the battle, called “The 36th Sikhs in the Tirah Campaign 1897-98 — Saragarhi and the Defence of the Samana Forts.”


Memorial at Saragarhi hill with names of 21 Sikh soldiers on it

SARAGARHI MARTYRS

Foundation stone to be laid in Feb-end

Gurinderpal Singh Josan, president of the foundation, told TOI on telephone from New York on Tuesday that he will lead a fivemember delegation of Sanjha Punjab, an organization of Indian Sikhs and Pakistani Muslims, to Hangu in February-end to lay foundation stone of the gurdwara to be named ‘Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Saragarhi Shaheedan Di Yaad Vich.’ The Saragarhi hill, where the battle was fought, is about 41 km from Hangu.

Hangu-based chairman of Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Sunny Singh Khalsa said locals as well as Sikhs and Hindus from Peshawar and Nankana Sahib had contributed money for purchase of around 3,200 square feet of land at Prem Nagar in Hangu for the commemorative gurdwara. Hangu is about 120 km from Peshawar and around 150 km from the Afghanistan border, according to Sunny Singh Khalsa.

Some Sikhs and other tourists have started visiting Saragarhi recently, he said. “After completing a treacherous journey to the Saragarhi hill, they pay homage to the Sikh fighters and I believe that once a gurdwara will come up in memory of the martyrs of Saragarhi, a large number of Pakistani as well as international tourists will start visiting this remote spot of Pakistan.”

There is a small memorial at the Saragarhi hill, built by the British soldiers, which has names of all the 21 Sikh soldiers engraved on it.

TOI also talked to two residents of Prem Nagar, a Hindu and a Muslim, who were excited about the gurdwara being built in memory of the martyrs of Saragarhi. Ayub Khan,

a local taxi driver said he could foresee an influx of devotees to his little-known village. ”We are excited to hear the news of a gurdwara being erected in memory of the martyrs of Saragarhi.”

Pandit Haridyal Sandhu, a local Hindu priest, said Prem Nagar is home to a Hindu temple, two churches and a mosque. The proposed gurdwara, he said, would present a perfect example of communal harmony. “Even many Pakistanis don’t know much about the Battle of Saragarhi and now this place will also become popular,” he added.

 

 
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