Saturday, September 20, 2003
R H Y M E  T I M E

The Battle of Saragarhi

Of courage and bravery

A tale be told

Long forgotten, brought forth

From the memories of the old.


Of 21 men who

Died at duty's call

Who laid down their lives

And let not the fort fall.


'Twas the year 1897

The Battle of Saragarhi was waged,

10,000 Afghans, 21 Sikhs

Yet for hours the battle raged.



Outnumbered and surrounded

And still the men fought on

With a stubbornness and pride for which,

The Sikhs have long been known.


Charge after charge was repulsed

And nary a bullet was wasted

And though the battle was lost,

It was victory that the men tasted.


Now, the defenders ranks were dwindling

And the ammunition would soon be over.

The wall was breached; the gate was rushed,

It was the final hour.


Hand-to-hand fighting followed

As the men fell one by one

And each took sawa lakh with him

Before he was done.


A handful of men, a fort of stones,

Mud walls and a wooden door

But when the last man had fallen,

180 of the enemy were dead,

The wounded many more.


Under Havildar Ishar Singh,

They fought to the last man, last breath

They'd promised their all to the motherland

And fulfilled the promise with their death.


And the world stood up to honour

The heroic deeds of 21 men

That challenged the annals of history

To tell of more glorious action, if it can.


Today we forget our history

As we sway to foreign music and dance

While they teach the Battle of Saragarhi

To the students in far off France.


And we know not the men of Saragarhi

While the UNESCO includes their tale

In the 5 most significant events of its kind

Collective bravery on the highest of scale.


And we remember not the men of Saragarhi-

The men who took a stand.

And we care not for the men of Saragarhi

Who laid their lives for our land.

Ganeev Kaur Dhillon, Class 12,
Carmel Convent School, Chandigarh