Archive: Oct 2013

  1. Saragarhi At Sandhurst

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    It gives me great pleasure to announce that we will be launching our new book about Saragarhi and screening our latest film “Sikhs At Sandhurst” at a special event at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

    The British Army have invited us to hold an event in the Indian War Memorial Room – and discuss the historic contribution made by Indians who fought for Great Britain on the frontier and during the Great Wars.
    Taking place beneath the inspirational remembrance stained glass images of Indians of the time – the event will highlight the key contribution made by the community during the Great War and on the North West Frontier beforehand.

    It is a key theory of mine, as covered in my new book, that the exploits at Saragarhi cemented the reputation of the Sikhs as brave, loyal and trusty soldiers of the British.  And that without these heroics the Sikhs would not have been so heavily deployed in every arena of battle during the Great War.

    Indeed, the event will take place beneath the stained glass remembrance image (above) which was created to celebrate the contributions of the Sikhs on the frontier.

    So it is a tremendous honour that we will be discussing this history at Sandhurst – a place that inspires so many to serve Britain.

    More details will be released soon – but as spaces are limited please email for more details or to RSVP.

    Event: Sikhs At Sandhurst
    A rare opportunity to discover the hidden history of Indians who fought for Great Britain during the World Wars.  With a screening of the new film “Sikhs At Sandhurst”, launch of the book “Saragarhi: The Forgotten Battle” and opportunity to speak to serving soldiers and officers.

    Where: Indian War Memorial Room, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, GU15 4NP

    When: Wednesday 20th November – 12pm arrivals

  2. Jay Singh-Sohal, Writer & Filmmaker

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    With the centenary anniversary of the Great War next year, we’ve been contacted for various programmes being made.

    Writer and filmmaker Jay Singh-Sohal is available for all media contributions and discussions regarding the significance of Indian soldiers who served during the Great War – from Flanders to Mesopotamia to the NW frontier.

    Jay can also be contacted directly for events, public speaking and consultancy via the following methods:

    Text: 07908226667
    Email: jay
    Twitter: @DotHyphen
    FB: Jay Singh-Sohal

    Contact us directly for media or commercial bids via email.

  3. Publishing a book is like having a baby

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    Publishing a book is like having a baby.  I should know – in 2013 I have both written and released my fourth book AND been blessed with a wonderful child who brings a smile to my face.

    My book “Saragarhi: The Forgotten Battle” is a factual account of events on the Samana in 1897 in which 21 Sikh soldiers defended a small outpost against the onslaught of 10,000 Pathans.

    My child is now seven months, and a wonderfully inquisitive child.  I didn’t know I would be writing a book in the same year we had her, but in doing so I am hopeful she will take a deep interest in all things Sikh and history.

    Both are my babies, bringing tears as well as much pride over the past year; but I’d honestly say writing a book was just that bit slightly more difficult.  It’s because Saragarhi is a well-regarded battle with an almost mythical status.  Often compared to Thermopylae, the battle cemented the reputation of the Sikhs fighting for Britain during the Empire and before the need ever arose for Indian soldiers to fight in the Great War.

    But the battle is still largely an unknown one, so I’m hopeful my research will bring it to mainstream audiences.  In researching the military history I relied upon the few primary sources that are left in the sub-continent and in London to tell the tale of the brave Sikhs who fought against overwhelming odds.  Finding never-before-seen images of the site was a real discovery, as has been using my military knowledge to find the site and location of the battle site.

    Not to say having a child is easy, the broken sleep and sudden responsibility is overwhelming (as are the nappies) but somehow the mind adjusts to fatherhood very quickly – the body eventually follows.  It has no choice.  A child needs constant attention, and being disciplined and prepared for feeds, changes, and nap time requires a military mindset.

    Both publishing and fatherhood are certainly complimentary in what they bring, late nights and bad memory.  The random moments of zoning out in quiet contemplation provided a distraction from each task, whether it be contemplating historic matters or recovering from lack of sleep.

    With a book, the hard work is in finding the knowledge and bringing it together in a meaningful way to impart wisdom.

    With a baby, every day is full of development as a child develops all the practical skills and experiences needed.

    Both would not have been possible without teamwork. While my wife endured the hard work of bringing the latter into this world, the book is also a product of input from friends (and the other half again) who have helped in research and editing the final version.

    I do not know whether my child will have any enduring memories of the process of me writing the book, but in dedicating it to her I am sure it will one day mean something.

    Whether other children grow up reading about the glorious past of Sikhs who fought for Britain is something I can only hope will also happen.

  4. My fascination with Saragarhi

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    I’m a journalist by profession – I produce live breaking international news in a rolling news environment. So why did I write an authoritative military history of the Battle of Saragarhi?

    I’m trained to tell a story, and for me the opportunity to narrate the heroics of Sikhs who fought for Britain has become a passion.  Anyone who hears about the bravery shown at Saragarhi will understand why.

    The battle took place in 1897 and saw 21 Sikh soldiers from the 36th Sikh Regiment defend a small outpost against 10,000 tribesmen.  They fought for more than six hours until their outpost fell.  They died fighting to the last.

    I first heard about the battle several years ago, when I was approached (as a broadcaster) to present a documentary about it.  The project never happened, but that did not stop my interest in finding out more.

    So I read about the battle online, but I felt unsatisfied about the story as there seemed to be so little research and authority on Saragarhi.

    Nor could anyone tell me why it was significant today – historic events can inspire us but where was the analysis?

    It was said to be one which was on a parallel as a last stand to the story of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae – but if this was the case then why had it not received wider attention?  Why had it been forgotten?

    My journalistic nature led me not to accept what I was being told by heritage groups and those Indians who professed knowledge of Saragarhi.  My curiosity led me to do my own research and discover the battle’s significance for myself.

    After years of quiet research and much of 2013 spent collating and writing my manuscipt, I’m pleased to be releasing “Saragarhi: The Forgotten Battle”.

    The book is one I’m proud of, it’s not my first book but it is the first military history I have written.

    I hope you will enjoy it and share the true story of Saragarhi with others – and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.