Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday paid tributes to the heroes of the historic Saragarhi Battle with a call to the youth to imbibe the values of courage and valour in their lives.
The Chief Minister, who had authored and launched a book – ‘The 36th Sikhs in the Tirah Campaign 1897-98 – Saragarhi and the defence of the Samana forts’ – to mark the battle’s 120th anniversary last year, said the sacrifice of the soldiers of 36th Sikhs will always remain etched as an iconic moment in the history of this infantry regiment of the Indian Army.
His government, recalled the Chief Minister, had already announced a series of initiatives as a mark of homage to the valiant soldiers, and incorporation of the battle in school history books. It was important to encourage the youngsters to know about the historic event, which was an ode to the courage and grit of the 22 men who chose death over surrender, he added.
Work to implement the government’s decision to set up a 10-bed Mini PHC in village Jhorda in Raikot as a tribute to Havildar Ishar Singh of 36th Sikhs of Battle of Saragarhi was in progress, said Captain Amarinder Singh. The government was also working on bigger memorials for Havildar Ishar Singh, who led the 36 Sikhs in the battle, and the other soldiers, in their villages around Punjab, he added.
The Chief Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to initiating more and more measures for the welfare of the army personnel and their families in the state.
For the Sikh community, in particular, the courage shown by the soldiers in one of history’s most famous Last Stands was something that would live in memory forever, said the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister exhorted the youth to take inspiration from the sacrifice of these men to join the Indian Army, which, unfortunately, had witnessed a decline in Sikh representation in recent years. Sikhs are known the world over for their valour and Sikh soldiers have always done the community proud, he noted, adding that he looked forward to the new generation also being imbued with this sense of pride and Sikhs continuing to hold a place of pride in the Army.