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Posted at: Oct 7, 2015, 1:18 AM; last updated: Oct 7, 2015, 12:49 AM (IST)

170 yrs on, Aliwal village finally gets a war memorial

170 yrs on, Aliwal village finally gets a war memorial
SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar and MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali inaugurates the 1846 Anglo-Sikh war memorial at Aliwal village. Tribune Photo: Himanshu mahajan

Gurvinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6

A picture in the library of a 55-feet memorial inaugurated today by SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar shows the fierceness of the Battle of Aliwal — the first Anglo-Sikh war —and how Sikh soldiers fought bravely with the East India Company, in the backdrop of whining horses, gunpowder smoke, artillery fire, swords and spears.

Almost 170 years on, a memorial, having a ‘Khanda’ atop a tower, in memory of Sikh martyrs, has finally come up at Aliwal village.

The library here has exclusive books and pictures about the battle. A shining Khanda has been erected at Aliwal village that saw over 10,000 Sikhs fighting to defend the Sikh empire during the first Anglo Sikh War. It is said despite being less in numbers, no one in the Sikh army surrendered and all were martyred.

“It is said that the Sikh Army had almost won the battle, as the army of East India Company led by Hugh Gough had almost lost in the face of brave Sikh warriors. Had they not been betrayed by Lal Singh and Tej Singh, the Sikh Army would have won,” a resident of Aliwal village said. “Both withdrew several times when British army contingents had almost exhausted. They even kept on passing the information to the British army and received instructions from them,” he said.

“Sikh men were betrayed by both of them. They told the British that instead of bringing ammunition for the Sikh army, they have replaced it with mustard sacks and hence the British shouldn’t fear anything,” Makkar said.

After the battle of Mudki and Sabrawan, General Ranjodh Singh and the Sikh army fought the British at Badhowal and later at Aliwal, and here 10,000 Sikhs got martyred, he said.

Village sarpanch Pargat Singh said there was a tower erected by the British as well marking their victory.

“That tower is no longer here. This tower has been erected with the grant by MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali,” he said.

“Though the memorial has come late, it will prove an inspiration for the youth to take pride in our heritage and culture,” Gurjit Singh, another villager said.

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