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The government of the United Kingdom decided to erect a statue of the military commander Havildar Ishar Singh as a way of paying tribute to the brave Sikh troops who gave their lives in the heroic "Battle of Saragarhi." As they were ambushed by approximately 10,000 Afghans, the braveheart Sikh warrior had heroically led a 21-member regiment of Sikh troops who were defending their homeland.

It was decided that the statue would be erected in Wednesfield, Wolverhampton, close to where the Guru Nanak Gurdwara is located. According to the sources, the unveiling of the statue was to take place in September 2021. This would be the first monument in England to honour Sikh warriors who served in British India, and it would be located in London.

On September 12, 1897, a significant battle known as the Battle of Saragarhi took place. One of the most heroic battles in all of history, according to historians' accounts of the conflict. Singh, along with 20 other Jat Sikh troops serving in the 36th (Sikh) Regiment of Bengal Infantry, came under attack by between 10,000 and 12,000 Afghans.

Before they gave their lives in the line of duty, the troops were able to put an end to between 180 and 200 of the attacking tribesmen. The conflict raged on for maybe about six hours. Their bravery was most recently dramatised in the popular culture by Akshay Kumar in the Bollywood film Kesari, released not long ago.

In 2020, the councillors at the Wolverhampton City Council gave their approval to the plan to erect the statue next to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Wednesfield, which is located in Wolverhampton. The Indian community that lives in the area is likely to view the change favourably and find it to be beneficial.

Bronzing the legacy 

A statue honouring Sikh troops from the 19th century has had its final design revealed just as the final stage of construction began in 2020. In September, the artist Luke Perry's sculpture, which stands at a height of 3 metres (10 feet), was planned to be installed at Wednesfield. After painting the clay model, it was decided that the statue will be coated in wax and then cast in bronze.

Sikhs make up about 10% of the population of Wolverhampton, which is almost 23,000 individuals, and it has been a dream of councillor Bhupinder Gakhal for decades to share the tale. He described himself as "thrilled" by the "beautiful memorial" and expressed his hope that people will be inspired to study more about Saragarhi as a result of seeing it. On September 12, 2021, which is the anniversary of the fight, it is scheduled to be unveiled in Well Lane, which is located next to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara.

In the past, Mr Perry has sculpted a memorial statue in their honour to pay tribute to the South Asian service personnel who served in the British military during World War One.

Since 2018, this sculpture has been on exhibit in the adjacent neighbourhood of Smethwick. Mr Perry is quoted as saying, "With artworks like Saragarhi I want to create sculptures that are a visible marker of the underrepresented but vital, real people in our communities. Because when you represent people you empower them."

 

*Based on an article published in BBC on 11th December 2020, and an article published in Yahoo News on 9th November 2020

 

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