1897 – Saragarhi Day. Regarded as ‘one of the greatest last-stands in history’ the Battle of Saragarhi was fought between 21 Sikhs of the 36th Sikh Regiment of the British Army and 10,000 Afghan and Orakzai tribesmen at Tirah in the North-West Frontier Province of British India (now in Pakistan).
This battle took place during the uprising of the Afghans against the British. The Pashtuns, Afghans and Afridi tribes had made every effort to conquer Fort Gullistan. However, the signalling post at Saragarhi thwarted their ambitions each time by communicating with Fort Lockhart that provided reinforcements.
Hence the Pashtuns attacked the signalling post on this day in 1897 in a bid to cut off any communication between the forts. At 0900 hours about 10,000 Afghans attacked Saragarhi. Sardar Gurmukh Singh at the post reported to Fort Lockhart however it was conveyed that the Fort couldn’t send immediate help.
The Soldiers at post, therefore, decided to fight till death and under Havildar Ishar Singh’s command they battled with the enemy. Though all of the brave 21 soldiers went down fighting they killed about 180 of the enemy. The Pashtuns’ engagement with the 36th Sikhs delayed them as reinforcements had arrived by then.
The 21 Officers were awarded the ‘Indian Order of Merit’ for display of unmatchable bravery and valour by the British Crown. All units of the Sikh Regiment celebrate this battle as Regimental Battle Honours Day. In 2000, the Government of Punjab decided to include the story of this battle in school curriculum.
The Battle story is also one of the eight stories on bravery published for children by UNESCO, according to the Indian Express.
1948 – The Indian Army launched ‘Operation Polo’ also known as ‘Police Action’ which led to the merger of State of Hyderabad and Berar with the Union of India.
1965 – The Indian Army won the Battle of Phillora against the Pakistani forces. At least 31 Pakistani tanks were demolished in this battle, it was confirmed.
1982 – Vice-Captain of the Women’s Cricket team Amita Sharma was born. She made her debut for India against Ireland in 2002 and earned her Test cap in 2003 against New Zealand. She was impressive in her first World Cup in South Africa in which she got 14 wickets helping India enter the finals that India , eventually, lost to Australia .
She represents Northern Railway in the domestic circuit.
1990 – The Prasar Bharati Act received the assent of President of India R Venkataraman though it was implemented in September 1997. The Act defines the composition, functions and powers of the Prasar Bharati. It also grants autonomy to Doordarshan and the All India Radio which were under the control of the Government of India.
2009 – Maharaj Raj Singh of Dungarpur better known as Raj Singh Dungarpur, former first-class cricketer and a respected figure in the cricket circuit, passed away. He was born in the royal family of the princely state of Dungarpur in Rajasthan. He represented Rajasthan in 86 first-class matches and claimed 206 wickets as a medium pace bowler.
He accompanied the national team on four occasions on the its tours overseas as a manager. He served as the President of the Cricket Club of India, Mumbai for 13 years before he went on to become the Chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, twice.
It was during his stint as the Chairman of Selectors that Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was first selected to play for India. He also played a key role in establishing the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, Karnataka.