Politicians forget Saragarhi martyrsFerozepur, September 11
Saragarhi Day is celebrated every year on September 12 to mark the sacrifice of the 22 soldiers belonging to the 36 Sikh Regiment who died while defending the post of Saragarhi at Lockhart Fort from a group of around 10,000 tribesmen. However, over the years, the function, which used to be organised with lot of fervor, has itself become a martyr of government's apathy.
What used to be a state-level commemoration day function is now restricted to merely a formal ceremony where the civil, police and Army officials, besides some ex-servicemen, come and pay obeisance at the memorial.
Earlier, the function used to held on a larger scale with the Chief Minister along with a battery of Cabinet ministers, MLAs, senior Army functionaries (both serving and retired) remaining present. The valiant soldiers were posthumously awarded the "Indian Order of Merit" by the British rulers.
"It is unfortunate to see that political leaders have no time for the martyrs who sacrificed their lives on the path of gallantry," said Ashok Handa, a retired DPRO. Handa said during the previous SAD-BJP regime in 2002-07, the CM himself used to participate in Sargarhi Day function and thereafter Capt Amarinder Singh also attended the same once during previous Congress government.
However, now the leaders seem to be too occupied to devote time for martyrs, he said. Last year also, no MLA or Minister represented the state government to pay homage to the martyrs here.
Col Harinder Singh Attari (Retd), who is the great grandson of General Sham Singh Attariwala, the outstanding warrior who fell during first Anglo-Sikh War at Sabraon on February 10, 1846, said that it was really unfortunate to see the dwindling interest of the government towards such solemn occasions.
Col Attari, who has come from Noida to make a documentary on the battle of Saragarhi, said he wants to spread awareness about the heroic deeds of Sikh soldiers the world over in form of Saragarhi Day campaign to motivate and inspire the younger generations.