After 1849 when the Sikh’s lost their Empire they have served as mercenary soldiers to this day.
Simranjit Singh Mann.
The Tribune 9th April 2017
Comments by Simranjit Singh Mann:
Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) states that after the fall of the Sikh Empire in 1849, we Sikh’s, a martial race became mercenaries as soldiering was and is one of our main professions and we to this day clamour for this way of life which is one of the mainstays of our livelihood. Soon after 1849 the remnants of the Lahore Darbar (Sikh Empire) armed forces joined the British forces and played along with the Punjabi Muslim factions of the erstwhile Darbar’s forces in quelling the 1857 Mutiny. One of the reasons was that the Sikh’s did not want to revive the Moghal state, had the Mutiny succeeded as the Sikh’s had a very cruel and bitter experience with the Moghal rule. The second reason was that the British offered a career that was a profession, soldiering, to the Sikh’s. In this the Sikh’s went along with the British Empire and fought their battles wherever British foreign policy took them to. Afghanistan and Tibet were next door but the battles of World War I and World War II took them wherever the British campaigns were being fought.
The Saragarhi, the famous defence battle that Captain Amarinder Singh has written about with expertise, though I have not read it, should be a very good remembrance of the glorious defensive battles the Sikh’s have fought in their history. It must also be remembered that the present Durand Line that divides Afghanistan and Pakistan is a part of the Lahore Darbar’s conquests. Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh that are split between three countries- Islamic Pakistan, Communist China and THIS (Theocratic Hindu Indian State) are also the Darbar’s contribution to history and the present cartography. The Sikh’s have in their history conquered, ruled and reined over the Afghan’s which the British, Soviets and now presently the Americans have failed in their respective attempts to do.
After 1947 with the change of regime from British India to Hindu India the Sikh’s became the mercenaries of the new state and as Captain Amarinder Singh rightly states the Sikh troops of 1 Sikh were air dashed to Srinagar, saving Kashmir from Pakistani marauders.
Saragarhi was a great battle but one of the bravest defence battles the Sikh’s ever faught for their independence and a sovereign state was the defence the Sikh’s put up under Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala which was and will remain one of the greatest battles ever faught by the Sikh’s for their own sovereignty and honour. The highly motivated Sikh defenders with archaic World War II weapons kept the Hindu states armed forces aided by British and Soviet forces at bay for 72 hours and did not allow the invading force with tanks, mortars, artillery, helicopter gunships and special forces of THIS, British and the Soviets to breach the defences of the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) at Amritsar for a long period of time. Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala, General Subeg Singh, Bhai Amrik Singh and this band of intrepid warriors along with a hundred fearless Sikh’s fought to the last breath. This is the story of Sikh braves who did not accept the conquest of the holy Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) at Amritsar and the Akal Takhat.
However, true heroics of the stateless people are never written or brought to light though the heroics of this Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) at Amritsar siege would make a text book lesson for any world class war academy. It is good to bring out the Saragarhi defence put up by 36 Sikh now 4 Sikh regiment, the former of the British Indian army and its new nomenclature of the latter present Indian states army are some of the deeds of Sikh mercenaries.
One has to have guts to tell of the Sikh defence of Saragarhi as the present Hindu regime would not be very pleased by this account or publicity. I am aghast that the right wing editor of The Tribune Mr.Harish Khare has allowed this print, because I believe the new radicalised Hindu now believes that all these stories of the colonial days are seditious. They now believe in uddan kotalas, brain surgeries, transplanting heads of animals on human beings etc.
I say this with authority as when I resigned from the IPS in 1984 for the beastly and barbaric military action code named Operation Bluestar against the Sikh’s, Indira Gandhi had me criminally charged with sedition and waging a war against what the majority calls India. But one ludicrous criminal charge against me was that my wife and I attended Western Classical Music classes in the Max Maullar Bhavan in Bombay. Our teacher was a very handsome Parsi gentleman who had recently undergone a sex change operation and had become a lady. Being a lady she had to push the heavy piano some times and I would jump to help her in bringing it in place, presumably because my mother had taught some Western manners. I still don’t know whether Indira Gandhi did not like me and my wife attending these classes or whether it was my so called good manners in helping out a Parsi lady. I don’t think she should have had any reservations on the latter bit as she herself had married a Parsi.
Sadly a few months ago we lost a very informative army officer Colonel Harsharan Singh. He knew the ins and outs about Operation Bluestar. Sitting in his restaurant, sipping black coffee he told me some very gory stories how the army under Major General Brar and Lt. Gen. Dayal had treated the dead bodies of the Sikh heroic leaders, especially of General Subeg Singh who was also spitted upon. General Subeg Singh was the hero of the Bangladesh war who had trained the Bengalis in guerrilla warfare.
Col. Harsharan Singh had some rare and priceless records and pictures of this inhuman beastly military action which he told me he had given to Captain Amarinder Singh who had not passed them back to him. Now the Colonel is dead. In my conversation I told him if Captain Amarinder Singh was a true officer and that is one of the chief qualities of a gentleman he would return these treasures to him. It is hoped that the Captain would reveal these important papers and pictures he has in his possession and be brave enough to write about Operation Bluestar as he has done to put the true story of the Saragarhi heroics of the mercenary Sikh soldiers.
Simranjit Singh Mann